MIn two, three quick, sideways steps, Roger Federer danced to the backhand side of his field, but he did not hit the ball with his backhand, but pulled out, took a short, and pulled his forehand full, heading straight ahead. That's a blow with not insignificant danger potential. On the other hand, if the ball does not land close to the sideline, it gives the opponent a good chance to cross him into the far-flung forehand side of the other. It's a stroke for which you need one thing in addition to fine technology: self-confidence, confidence.
With such a ball forced Roger Federer in the semi-finals on Friday the last mistake of his opponent Rafael Nadal, and it was again one of those moments in which time almost stopped. One that leads directly to the question of whether there has ever been a better mix of lightness, elegance and dynamism in tennis. In addition, the impact with felt two dozen variants, the backhand, variable and punchier than in his time of great dominance more than ten years ago, the sure smash, the feeling of volley – the whole fresh and fine sorted like a box Luxemburgerli, the Swiss archetype the macarons.
Novak Djokovic, against whom Roger Federer will play for his eighth title at Wimbledon this Sunday (3pm / in the FAZ live ticker at Wimbledon and Sky), beats a little harder than the rival, but not so covert and variable His buttercup sometimes reminds a little of Russian roulette. But in addition to many other components, he has above all a stroke in the repertoire, which dominates no one as he – a backhand rescue from the lowest position, almost in the balancing act, the feet twisted in a way and overstretched, that one believes, the groaning and groaning to be able to hear the joints and ligaments.
The light-footed attacker against the incredibly flexible defender, a familiar game, but it's been a long time since the attacker won a Grand Slam tournament. It was at Wimbledon seven years ago, when Federer defeated Djokovic in the semifinals, and his only victory against the Serb in the finals of a Grand Slam tournament was significantly further down, at the US Open in New York in 2007. It is surprising that the pair have played 47 games against each other since the first encounter in April 2006 at the Monte Carlo tournament – more often than Federer and Nadal – but only met four times in a meeting for one of the big four titles. Incidentally, after his first success in Monte Carlo at the time, Federer said that he was just 21 years old, playing well at the baseline, but still has many areas where he can improve. “Absolutely, there is a certain potential.”
Djokovic is the defending champion. But is not Federer too big for the challenger's role, with all his history at Wimbledon, and most of all, the intriguing form he showed in the semi-final win over Nadal? The big question is whether the Serb will allow the Swiss to appear as dominant again as in the semi-final against his favorite rivals. In the game against the Spaniard Federer was on return and, surprisingly, in longer rallies the better man.
It will be the third final between the two in the All England Club; The first was won by Djokovic in 2014 in five eventful sets, the second the following year he only needed four, but Roger Federer is an even better player than he was back then, strange as that may sound to a man of almost 38 years.
Federer is full of praise for the opponent who has won three of the last four Grand Slam tournaments, a year ago at Wimbledon against Kevin Anderson and in New York and Melbourne against Rafael Nadal. “He has played an incredible year again. Madness, how he came back after the injury. So, I know that if there's a harder lump than Rafa, then obviously it's still the Novak. “But this tough hunk also responds as the owner of 15 Grand Slam titles – three less than Nadal, five less than Federer – sometimes still as if the rock was covered by a thin tissue of skin. This was seen when Djokovic lost in the semi-final against Roberto Bautista Agut the second set and he reacted insulted, because the audience was happy about the set win of the Spaniard and supported him as an outsider. Boris Becker, who coached Djokovic for three years, answered the question whether the Serb was still under the impression that he was far from as enthusiastic and wholeheartedly supported by the public as Federer or Nadal in the BBC: ” It used to be like that. He now knows who he is. “Djokovic assures that from his point of view there was no problem in the game against Bautista Agut. “I focused on what to do. Sometimes people simply wanted him to get back into the game or to take the lead because he was the outsider. I understand that. I've had enough support here over the years, so I'm not complaining. “
Wimbledon's audience on the final day of the tournament will, as always, be struggling to show their due respect to both finalists. How it feels and how it sounds when these emotions fill the arena is another matter. But worse than the final of the It can hardly be US Open four years ago. At the time, Djokovic not only played against Federer, but also against the roaring majority of the 23,000 spectators at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. And that went beyond the limit of fairness in many moments. It did not help. The man they wanted to wear to the title lost.
(TagToTranslate) Roger Federer (t) Novak Djokovic (t) Rafael Nadal (t) FAZ (t) Backhand side (t) Grand Slam tournament (t) US Open