Five facts on Sunday’s Wimbledon men’s singles final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer:
‘Big Three’ dominate
— With Djokovic and Federer in the final, the winner of Sunday’s match will extend the streak of Grand Slam titles won by the ‘Big Three’ of the pair plus Rafael Nadal to 11 straight major titles. Since Federer won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003, just five Grand Slam finals have been contested by pairs of players outside the ‘Big Three’.
Golden oldie Federer
— At 37 years 340 days, Federer is bidding to become the oldest player in the Open era to win a Grand Slam men’s singles title.
Ken Rosewall is the only 37-year-old to have won a major singles title in that time – he won the 1972 Australian Open aged 37 years 62 days.
30-somethings still special
— The champion will extend the streak of Grand Slam titles won by players aged 30 or older. The last 12 Grand Slam titles – including at Wimbledon this year – will have been shared between players aged 30 or older.
Djokovic chases fifth Wimbledon title — Defending champion Djokovic is bidding to win his fifth Wimbledon title and equal Bjorn Borg and Laurie Doherty in fourth place on the all-time list. He is also chasing a 16th career major.
Federer to level Navratilova with nine?
— Federer is bidding to become the second player in history to win nine Wimbledon singles titles after Martina Navratilova who won nine women’s singles. Federer is also after 21st career Grand Slam title.
Novak Djokovic said his shock Roland Garros defeat to Dominic Thiem, which ended his dream of becoming just the second man in history to hold all Grand Slam titles at the same time twice, was played out in “hurricane conditions”.
Thiem downed the world number one 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 to set up a repeat of last year’s final against 11-time winner and defending champion Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic, who was second best to Thiem when it came to mastering the gloom, wind and damp of Paris, was bidding to join Rod Laver in the Grand Slam history books.
“When you’re playing in hurricane kind of conditions, it’s hard to perform your best,” said Djokovic.
An imperious Novak Djokovic won a record magnificent seventh Australian Open title by routing Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 Sunday with a display of flawless tennis.
The Serbian world number one dominated the Spanish second seed to win his 15th Grand Slam title in just 2hr 4min on Rod Laver Arena.
It put Djokovic, 31, out on his own ahead of Roger Federer and Roy Emerson, who both won six Australian Open men’s singles titles.
Djokovic dropped to his knees and kissed the ground after vanquishing his greatest rival.
“I’m just trying to contemplate on the journey in the last 12 months,” said an emotional Djokovic, pausing for breath to compose himself and not become tearful.
“I had the surgery exactly 12 months ago,” he added, referring to an elbow operation that saw him slump out of the world’s top 20 before bouncing back to win Wimbledon and the US Open.
“To be standing nowhere in front of you today and managing to win this title and three out of four Slams, this is amazing. I am speechless.”
The pair’s only previous final in Australia, in 2012, developed into a record-breaking 5hr 53min slugfest — the longest in Grand Slam history.
A repeat of that epic never materialised with Nadal uncharacteristically nervous at the start and Djokovic taking an immediate advantage that he would never relinquish.
– ‘Fighting spirit’ – “Even if tonight was not my best day, of course, I had someone that played a lot better than me tonight,” said Nadal.
“I have been going through tough moments in the last year. I was not able to play until the first round here. Even if tonight was not my night it’s so important for me to be where I am coming back from injury.”
Djokovic noted that the duo had both endured injury-ravaged 2018 campaigns.
“Obviously a tough match tonight, but … you came back from an injury that took you out from the tour since September last year,” Djokovic said of Nadal.
“You’re showing to me and to all your other colleagues and many young tennis players around the world what is definition of the fighting spirit and resilience.”
The Spaniard had not had his service broken since the third set of his first round match but that streak ended in a flash as the Serb came sprinting out of the blocks.
– Total control – Djokovic was in total control on his own delivery and won his first four service games without conceding a single point, even inducing Nadal to miss a forehand completely on the way to grabbing the set in 36 minutes.
The second set followed a similar pattern, with Djokovic racing through games on his own serve, while Nadal struggled to hold.
The pressure told in the fifth game and Djokovic broke again when Nadal hit a lob volley long after an exchange at the net.
The on-song Serb was so fired up he broke Nadal again to go to 5-2 before serving out for a two-set lead with three aces in a row with just 1hr 16min on the clock.
The statistics were as telling as the scoreline: Djokovic had served eight aces to Nadal’s one and made just four unforced errors while the Spaniard had coughed up 20.
When Djokovic broke again in the third game of the third set it was just a matter of how quickly he would finish off Nadal.
The end was swift, as Djokovic withstood one break point at 3-2 before administering the last rites in a flurry of winners off both wings.
Victory extended his win-loss record against Nadal to 28-25 and squared the Grand Slam final count between the pair at 4-4.
Djokovic has now completed a hat-trick of Slams following his wins at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Djokovic will face second seed Nadal in a 53rd career meeting and eighth in the final of a Slam.
In 2012 the pair contested the longest Grand Slam final in terms of time at the Australian Open when Djokovic edged an epic battle 7-5 in the fifth set after 5hr 53min.
Djokovic, in his 34th Grand Slam semi-final, took just 83 minutes to outclass his regular practice partner Pouille, who was appearing in his first.
The 14-time Grand Slam title winner was fresh because quarter-final opponent Kei Nishikori had quit after 51 minutes and he jumped all over the world number 31 right from the start.
Djokovic was in total control against the Frenchman who had needed more than three hours to see off Milos Raonic in the last eight.
The Serb ran Pouille ragged so effectively that he dished out a dreaded 6-0 “bagel” in a first set that lasted just 21 minutes.
Pouille held his first service game of the second set to a huge ovation from the centre court fans, but it was a brief respite as Djokovic, a picture of precision on serve and return, would not allow him any chance to get back into the match.
Pouille’s coach Amelie Mauresmo, who won the Australian Open women’s singles in 2006, could only look on helplessly as Djokovic broke at the next opportunity and raced to the second set.
On Thursday Nadal had allowed his young Greek opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas to win just six games on the way to the final in an hour and 46 minutes.
Djokovic made that look pedestrian, allowing Pouille only four games and taking 23 minutes less to reach his first Melbourne final since 2016, when he won his sixth title.
Nadal holds a 4-3 win-loss record against Djokovic in Grand Slam finals, including all three meetings since their Melbourne Park marathon seven years ago, and both players are chasing milestones on Sunday.
A win for Nadal will see him become the first player in the Open era to win all four Grand Slam titles twice, while victory for Djokovic will take him clear of six-time Melbourne winners Roger Federer and Roy Emerson.
Roger Federer admitted Sunday he was shocked that tennis was to lose “legend” Andy Murray this year while long-time friend Novak Djokovic said the bombshell news had “hurt” him.
Both paid tribute to the former world number one on the eve of the year’s first Grand Slam with Federer adding that the Scot should be “incredibly proud” of what he had achieved.
Murray on Friday admitted that his chronic hip injury had not been eased by surgery a year ago.
He then choked back tears and broke down as he revealed that he hoped to end his storied career at Wimbledon, but the Australian Open beginning Monday could be his last event because the constant pain was so bad.
“I was disappointed and sad, a little bit shocked, to know now that we’re going to lose him at some point,” Federer told reporters.
“But we’re going to lose everybody at some point. It’s just now that it’s definite,” he added, acknowledging that the era of the “Big Four” — himself, Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Murray was drawing inexorably to a close.
“Of course, it hits us top guys hard because we know Andy very well,” the world number three said of the three-time Grand Slam champion and double Olympic gold medal winner.
“He’s a good guy, Hall of Famer, legend. He won everything he wanted to win. Anybody would substitute their career with his. He’s a great guy.”
World number one Djokovic played Murray in a practice match three days ago and said it was obvious that there were serious problems.
“You didn’t need to be on the court to notice that he’s struggling, that he’s not moving as well as he normally does,” said Djokovic, 31, who is just a week younger than Murray.
“We’ve seen so many years of Andy Murray being one of the fittest guys on the tour, running around the court, getting always an extra ball back.
“I think to that extent, we are kind of similar. Our trajectory to the professional tennis world was pretty much similar,” added the Serb, who faces American Mitchell Krueger in the first round on Tuesday.
“His birthday is one week before mine. We’ve grown together playing junior events. We played lots of epic matches.
“Obviously to see him struggle so much and go through so much pain, it’s very sad and it hurts me as his longtime friend, colleague, rival.
“I will carry beautiful memories from the court and off the court. It’s just sad.”
Murray has won Wimbledon twice and Federer hoped the Scot could keep playing long enough to be able to say goodbye on his favourite famous grass courts.
“Of course, I hope that he can play a good Australian Open and he can keep playing beyond that, really finish the way he wants to at Wimbledon,” said 20-time Grand Slam champion, who begins his Australian Open title defence Monday against Denis Istomin.
“It’s a tough one, but one down the road he can look back on and be incredibly proud of everything he has achieved.”
Murray was the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years and will be remembered for battling his way to world number one in 2016 during a golden era for men’s tennis alongside Federer, Djokovic and Nadal.
Murray faces a first-round clash Monday against in-form Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, seeded 22, who beat Djokovic on his way to winning the Qatar Open earlier this month.
Russia’s Karen Khachanov clinched the biggest win of his career on Sunday with a 7-5, 6-4 upset of Novak Djokovic to claim the Paris Masters title.
Khachanov became the third different first-time winner of a Masters tournament this year — joining John Isner and Juan Martin del Potro– and denied Djokovic the fourth title in a row ahead of his return to world number one on Monday.
“To finish the season like this is really a dream come true,” said Khachanov, who will rise to a career-high of 12th when the latest rankings are published on Monday.
Going into the event, Khachanov had won just three of 19 encounters against players in the top 10 but claimed a fourth such scalp in a week after snapping Djokovic‘s 22-match winning run.
Djokovic, who will reclaim the top ranking from Rafael Nadal for the first time in two years, made a strong start in his pursuit of a record-equalling 33rd Masters title as he broke for a 3-1 lead in the opening set.
But world number 18 Khachanov, a winner at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last month, hit back in the very next game as Djokovic dragged a forehand into the tramlines, down break point.
The unseeded Russian then broke Djokovic for a 6-5 lead, momentarily faltering as he tried to serve out for the set before calmly regrouping to surge ahead.
Djokovic overcame Roger Federer in an energy-sapping thriller that lasted over three hours in Saturday’s semi-finals, and the Serb began to look weary as he dropped serve to a fall behind early in the second set.
Khachanov refused to give his opponent the slightest opening and sealed a memorable victory after an hour and 37 minutes when a Djokovic forehand went long.
Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in a thrilling semi-final at the Paris Masters on Saturday to extend his winning run to 22 matches ahead of his return to world number one next week.
The Serb outlasted Federer in just over three hours to prevail 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 7-6 (7/3).
He will meet Russia’s Karen Khachanov in Sunday’s final as he looks to pull level with Rafael Nadal on 33 career Masters titles.
Djokovic, who will replace an injury-plagued Nadal at the top of the rankings on Monday, now leads Federer 25-22 overall and has not lost to the Swiss since 2015.
“Novak is obviously on a roll. You can feel it. At the end it came down to a few things here and there,” said Federer, who returned to play in Paris this week for the first time in three years.
“But overall I’m happy with my game. It’s better than last week in Basel. There I won the tournament and here I played in the semis and it needed somebody of Novak’s calibre to beat me.
“So that’s all right. And I’m looking forward to a rest now and a good preparation for London (ATP Finals).”
Djokovic will go in search of a fifth Paris trophy after denying Federer a shot at a historic 100th title, although the Wimbledon and US Open champion was pushed all the way by his 37-year-old rival.
Djokovic watched four break points, one of which Federer saved with a magnificent reflex volley, go by as he led 4-3 in the opening set, before saving a set point on his serve in the tie-break.
A Federer backhand drifted wide to hand Djokovic the lead, although two more break points passed the Serb by in the first game of the second set with the Swiss on the ropes.
The missed opportunity proved costly when Federer conjured up just a second break point of the contest at 6-5, converting in style as he gambled on Djokovic going cross-court before batting a winner down the line to force a decider.
Federer fended off two more break points to open the third set as Djokovic hit the deck when his ankle appeared to catch in the surface.
The Serb threw his racket down in frustration as Federer again escaped from 15-40 down to move 5-4 ahead, but the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s magic fizzled out as the final set headed to a tie-break.
Djokovic reeled off six successive points to bring up five match points, clinching victory at the third attempt when Federer picked out the net to end a tense concluding rally.
Khachanov breaks new ground
Earlier, the 22-year-old Khachanov advanced to his first Masters final after beating Austrian sixth seed Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1.
“I’m really happy to achieve this, to make it to the finals. But the tournament is not over. I mean, I’m looking forward to play finals tomorrow,” said the 18th-ranked Khachanov.
Going into the Paris Masters, Khachanov had won just three of his 19 matches against players in the Top 10 but it took him just 71 minutes to add the scalp of world number eight Thiem to those of John Isner (9) and Alexander Zverev (5) whom he beat earlier in the week.
The 1.98m Khachanov dominated from the baseline and attacked the Thiem service, breaking the Austrian in his final five service games of the match.
The Russian number two now has 15 match wins at this level this year, including a trip to the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Khachanov has also won two ATP World Tour titles in 2018 with triumphs in Marseille and at the Kremlin Cup.
“I am very happy with the way I have been playing,” said the Russian who is assured of climbing at least to 12th in the ATP rankings when they are published on Monday.