Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are well matched for Wimbledon final

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are well matched for Wimbledon final
Roger Federer, left, and Novak Djokovic will meet in the Wimbledon men's singles final on Sunday. (Adam Davy / Tribune News Service; Shaun Botterill / Getty Images)

For the men's Wimbledon final here Sunday, we have arrived at the obvious: Novak Djokovic versus Roger Federer.

The process of getting there, represented by startlingly dominant numbers, confirms that this final matchup, on hallowed Centre Court at hallowed Wimbledon, is certainly no fluke.


Djokovic, the 28-year-old Serb with the flexibility of a garden hose and shotmaking of a champion, is No. 1 — ranked that way, seeded that way here.

Federer, the father of four who is soon to be 34 years old, and who plays tennis like Pavarotti sings opera, is No. 2 — ranked that way, seeded that way here.

Some might say they could have just skipped to the final.

They represent 25 major titles. Federer has won 17, seven of them here. Djokovic has won eight, two here.

They even have coaches with Wimbledon pedigrees and rivalry history. Boris Becker coaches Djokovic. Becker won three times at Wimbledon. Stefan Edberg coaches Federer. He won twice at Wimbledon. In the 1988 final, Edberg beat Becker. In the 1989 final, Becker beat Edberg. In the 1990 final, Edberg beat Becker.

With Djokovic's victory last year, that makes the Djokovic-Becker duo tied with the Federer-Edberg duo at two Wimbledon titles each. Consider Sunday a tiebreaker.

Last year's final left a Centre Court crowd more limp than satisfied. Djokovic's victory was 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4. Like the score of that match, little separates the two in the statistical world. This will be their 40th match. Federer leads the series, 20-19.

Djokovic has already won five tour titles this year, Federer four. They have played each other twice in Grand Slam finals. Federer won the 2007 U.S. Open final, Djokovic last year's Wimbledon.

Djokovic's match record this year is 47-3, Federer's 40-6.

In the gambling world, they would call this a pick 'em.

Both are also experts at saying the right thing going into a match of this magnitude.

Said Djokovic after finishing off Richard Gasquet of France on Friday in straight sets in the first semifinal, "Roger and I have played many times. He is one of my greatest rivals. He's one who actually made me a better player … he's the greatest ever. There's not enough praise for what he does."

Not to be outdone in psychological niceness, Federer said, after serving Britain's Andy Murray off the court in their semifinal, "It's great to play Novak anywhere these days, because he's a great player. He's had great success, unbelievable success, actually."

Speaking of unbelievable success, Federer has enhanced Swiss banks over the years with career tour earnings of about $91 million. Djokovic, with six years to get to age 34 and catch him, has managed to keep the landlord away from the door with career earnings of nearly $80 million.


In case either is behind on credit card payments, Sunday's winner will get roughly $3 million, depending on the conversion rate from the British pound. The poor loser will have to make do with about $1.5 million.

If Sunday's match is anything like the previous 39 between the pair, or anywhere near last year's final, it could be worth, to tennis fans, every quid or pence, or whatever they call them here.

Serena Williams, Saturday's women's champion, gets the last word here. Asked to comment on Djokovic versus Federer after her victory, she said what just about every other tennis player here, male or female, would say.

"It's going to be an unbelievable match," she said… "I'm glad I don't have to play either one of them."

Twitter: @DwyreLATimes