The rivalry: Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer at Wimbledon

The rivalry: Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer at Wimbledon

This year’s Gentlemen’s Singles at Wimbledon had an added layer of intrigue as current World No.2 Novak Djokovic could have joined Swiss legend Roger Federer as the most successful player in the Open Era of The Championships with an impressive eighth victory at the All England Club.

The Serbian could have also emulated Bjorn Borg and Federer’s record of five-straight triumphs in SW19 if he was to beat Carlos Alcaraz and lift the sought-after gold trophy once again. However, the young Spaniard had other ideas and defied the betting market as he beat Djokovic 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in the final. 

Djokovic and Federer had some titanic tussles on the hallowed turf of the iconic Centre Court over the last decade or so; captivating tennis fans with their clash of styles and enthralling displays of brilliance personified. So, as ‘Nole’ had to wait at least another year to match Federer’s record, let’s look back at their four memorable clashes at Wimbledon. 

2012: The start of the rivalry

Federer and Djokovic met at Wimbledon for the first time in the 2012 semi-finals. The Serb was the defending champion and No.1 seed having won The Championships for the first time the year prior; but Federer was determined to come out on top as he hasn’t won the tournament since 2009.

The Swiss native won the first set 6-3, but Djokovic fired straight back to level the scores with the same score in the second set. It looked like the pendulum might have swung in the Serbian’s favour after that; but Federer took control of the match; and won the next two sets 6-4, 6-3 to book his place in the final — where he beat Brit Andy Murray.

2014: Their first final encounter

Two years later, Djokovic and Federer went head-to-head in the final for the first time. The current World No.2 was defeated in the showpiece match by Murray in 2013; and was gunning for a second championship, while Federer was on the hunt for that record eighth success. 

The gruelling four-hour finale is considered one of the best of all time; with both players showcasing their incredible skill and determination on Centre Court. But it was Djokovic who ultimately came out on top, winning 6–7(7–9), 6–4, 7–6(7–4), 5–7, 6–4 to secure his seventh career Grand Slam. 

2015: The rematch

In a replay of the previous year’s final, Federer and Djokovic locked horns again in 2015; and the former would have been keen to get the better of his counterpart having been shown up on Centre Court 12 months prior. 

It was Djokovic who got off to a better start again though, winning the first set 7-6(7-1). Federer fought back in the second, coming out on top 6-7(10-12) following a thrilling tie-break. However, the Serbian won the next sets 6-4, 6-3 to retain his title. 

2019: The longest final in history

Both players had added another Wimbledon success to their respective CVs by this point; with Federer finally getting his hands on the title for the eighth time thanks to a win over Marin Cilic in 2017 while Djokovic was once again the defending champion after beating Kevin Anderson in 2018.

This was another battle for the ages. In fact, it’s the longest Wimbledon final on record with almost five hours needed to separate the pair. They both fought tooth and nail and showed incredible resilience throughout the marathon contest; especially in the lengthy final set tie-breaker, but Djokovic eventually prevailed with a 7–6(7–5), 1–6, 7–6(7–4); 4–6, 13–12(7–3) victory to make it a hat-trick of successes over his rival. 

Leave a Reply