Wimbledon: Djokovic deserves more respect from Centre Court crowd when he faces Federer
Federer, 37, has rolled back the years during his run to this year’s final, beating Rafael Nadal with a spell-binding performance in the last four and now facing another rival from the ‘Big Three’ in Djokovic.
The Swiss number two seed is bidding for a record-extending 21st Grand Slam title in total and ninth crown on the grass courts of Wimbledon.
He is seeing a renaissance that has stunned many as he continues to keep time at bay just four weeks shy of his 38th birthday.
Federer has been playing some trademark sublime tennis ay SW19, mixing his typically suave style with steel, not least in battling past Nadal in the last round.Also on rt.com Wimbledon 2019: Roger Federer reaches 12th final after edging Centre Court classic with Rafael Nadal
When he takes to Centre Court on Sunday he will enjoy considerable support against a man who has been no less formidable at the All England Club these past two weeks, and who is gunning to move one step closer to Federer’s record Grand Slam haul.
Defending champion Djokovic, the number one seed, beat Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets in their semifinal, in a match in which he on several occasions offered the Wimbledon crowd gestures of defiance as they cheered his rival.
He will face a similarly partisan atmosphere amid the Centre Court love-in with Federer on Sunday, as the Swiss takes to the arena he has made his second home down the years.
But despite Federer’s fine form, Djokovic will be favorite to win what would be his fifth Wimbledon title overall and 16th Grand Slam overall.
While commanding respect, Djokovic has grown used to silencing crowds who have taken against his determined, full-blooded approach.
His chest-thumping antics and borderline approach have irked fans across the four Grand Slams – not only at Wimbledon.Also on rt.com Wimbledon 2019: Djokovic battles past Bautista Agut in 4 sets to secure finals berth
But this is part of the drive and determination that have made the Serb among the greatest of tennis players.
Competing in an era alongside Federer and Nadal, and earlier with pretender to the throne Andy Murray, he has racked up an incredible 15 Grand Slams and is still 32 – the youngest of the ‘Big Three’.
His ferocious, relentless style might come in stark contrast to Federer, who appears to glide across the court so effortlessly, but against Bautista Agut, Djokovic played some shots of such an exquisite nature the Swiss himself would have been proud had they come from his own gilded racket.
Drop shots, forehand winners, improbable backhands – you name it, they were all there.
After that match, Djokovic said that he was not bothered by the crowd’s backing of his rival, and that he expects the same on Sunday.
“They wanted him [Bautista Agut] to take a lead because he was an underdog in the match, I understand that,” the Serb said.
“But I had enough support here over the years, so I don’t complain.”
And that, in essence, is Djokovic – he might rile the crowd, but he gets on with the job, and with spectacular results.
He will be applauded politely should he win against Federer on Sunday, but beyond that he will not get much love from the Centre Court crowd – even if he deserves it.
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
Djokovic heads into the match against Federer with the added confidence of having beaten him in the Wimbledon final in 2014 and 2015.
The Serb also holds the advantage in head-to-head meetings between the pair, with 25 victories to Federer’s 22.
The last time they met at a Grand Slam was in the Australian Open semifinals in 2016, where Djokovic prevailed in four sets.
WHAT TIME DOES THE FINAL START?
The action gets underway on Centre Court at 14:00 local time.