Saturday, July 11, 2015

Previewing the Wimbledon Men's Final

In a rematch of their classic 2014 men's final, Novak Djokovic will look to beat Roger Federer in the finals of Wimbledon for the second straight year.  Djokovic eased past Richard Gasquet in the first semifinals, and Roger Federer surprisingly did the same against Andy Murray in the second.  Federer looked to be the sharper of the two, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's the favorite heading into the finals. 

Federer dictated play against Murray, and he'll look to take control of points early against Djokovic as well.  Djokovic may think he can beat Federer by playing great defense and relying on deep, steady groundstrokes, and maybe he can if Federer isn't at his best.  But as sharp as Federer has looked, Djokovic may need to be a little more aggressive than normal off the ground.  Djokovic often leaves a little something in reserve, as he doesn't like to go for riskier shots than he has to in order to win.  Against most players this isn't a problem, but an in-form Federer may require Djokovic to come out firing. 

Djokovic seems to have the most pressure heading in.  He's the world number one, is still in his prime, and just let a massive opportunity slip away by falling to Wawrinka in last month's French Open final.  If he loses another grand slam final he's supposed to win, the critics will get a little louder.  Fair or not, some will wonder why he gives away so many major titles when he's clearly the best player in the world.  Even though Federer is at the point of his career where anything else he accomplishes is just a bonus, he does have some pressure knowing this may be his last realistic shot to win a major.  However, no one's going to knock Federer for falling to the world number one in the Wimbledon finals when he's nearly 34 years old. 

It's hard to see either player running away with this match, and fans will be hoping for another five set battle.  Djokovic managed to avoid a letdown after his failure to capture the career grand slam in Paris, and he'll be extremely motivated to get a nice "consolation" prize by winning the most prestigious tournament in the world.  He knows losing to a 33 year old Federer won't look good, nor will losing in the finals of back to back grand slams on the European swing.  Djokovic knows the crowd will be pro-Federer, but he won't be happy about it.  All this should give Djokovic enough motivation where he's simply going to refuse to lose.  The tennis world may have been buzzing after Federer's phenomenal performance against Murray, but Djokovic will remind everyone on Sunday that he's pretty good at this tennis thing too. 

Prediction: Djokovic d. Federer: 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6.    

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