ZThe popularity of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is still missing to Novak Djokovic, and the currently outstanding tennis leader can catch up with the record of the two grandees this Sunday (3 p.m. on Sky). And for this, the 34-year-old is hoping for the support of the 15,000 fans on Center Court in London in the Wimbledon final against Italian Matteo Berrettini.
While the 25-year-old Berrettini is going into his first final at a Grand Slam tournament, Djokovic can win his 20th title in his 30th final at one of the four most important tournaments – and thus just as many as the former champion Federer and who were eliminated in the quarter-finals Nadal, who is missing in London.
“That would mean anything to me. That’s why I’m here, ”said the world number one on Friday evening after his hard-fought success in the semi-finals over Canadian Denis Shapovalov. Of course, people would also like to see an outsider win. “But hopefully people can also acknowledge the importance of this match for me. History is at stake, ”said Djokovic.
He defeated the world number nine Berrettini in two previous comparisons, including four weeks ago in the quarter-finals on clay at the French Open. With victories in grandiose games against Paris record winner Nadal and the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, Djokovic then made the second French Open title perfect and immediately thought of his next task on the grass at Wimbledon.
A lot of criticism for Djokovic
“Before I came to London, I imagined that I would be putting myself in a very good starting position to fight for another Grand Slam trophy. I’ve put myself in a very good position, ”said Djokovic. And if the classic hadn’t failed the previous year because of the corona pandemic, Djokovic, who was successful in 2018 and 2019, might have long since equaled the Grand Slam record or even for himself.
His disqualification at the previous US Open, when he knocked a ball away and accidentally hit a line judge, cost him another title chance and again sympathy. The unsuccessful Adria tour organized by him, during which he even infected himself with the corona virus, had previously brought Djokovic a lot of criticism – although, from his own point of view, he only wanted good things.
At Wimbledon, Boris Becker’s former protégé appears cautious and almost fends off the compliments for his fantastic statistics. Shapovalov emphasized that Djokovic was not being adequately appreciated. After the very unfortunate 6: 7 (3: 7), 5: 7, 5: 7, the 22-year-old reported how Djokovic had comforted him while congratulating him on the net and in the cabin. “That means a lot to me. He doesn’t have to do that. “He would be happy if Djokovic were his mentor, the world number 12 said jokingly:” That would mean that he would stop playing. “
Djokovic doesn’t even think about that. Rather because a sixth Wimbledon victory gives him the chance to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in one year for the first time since the Australian Rod Laver in 1969. He is also aiming for Olympic gold in Tokyo. Only Steffi Graf managed the Golden Slam in 1988. The now 52-year-old won 22 Grand Slam titles, the American Serena Williams is 23 and, at almost 40 years of age, is chasing the all-time record of the Australian Margaret Court, who has 24. Perhaps these numbers will also be interesting for Djokovic.
Old Italian successes
Berrettini wants to create big things for Italy before the European footballers’ final against England in Wembley. For the first time, the sports nation is represented in a single final at Wimbledon. Nicola Pietrangeli in Paris in 1959 and 1960 and Adriano Panatta also at the French Open were the only Italian men to ever win a Grand Slam title. Panatta’s success dates back 45 years. Not only Italians will support the likeable Berrettini on Sunday.