Roger Federer is proud to play in an era of tennis which he labelled as "special" after Novak Djokovic clinched his 20th grand slam title.

Djokovic beat Matteo Berrettini 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4 6-3 at Wimbledon on Sunday to seal his third major trophy of the season.

It is the world number one's sixth title at the All England Club, as he defended the crown he won in an epic final against Federer in 2019.

Djokovic is now level in the record books with Nadal and Federer, with all three of the greats on 20 grand slams each.

The Serbian will look to make that 21 at Flushing Meadows later this year, as he aims to become just the second player in the Open Era to complete a clean sweep of the men's slams in a single year, after Rod Laver in 1969.

In the post-match presentation, Djokovic hailed Nadal and Federer as inspirations, and the latter echoed that sentiment.

"Congrats Novak on your 20th major," Federer, now ranked eighth in the world, tweeted.

"I'm proud to have the opportunity to play in a special era of tennis champions. Wonderful performance, well done!"

Novak Djokovic lauded Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer as inspirations after he claimed his 20th grand slam title at Wimbledon.

Djokovic overcame Matteo Berrettini 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4 6-3 on Sunday to win for the sixth time at the All England Club, matching Nadal and Federer's haul of slam titles in the process.

The world number one dropped just two sets throughout the tournament and will now head to the US Open looking to complete a calendar Grand Slam.

Asked what it meant to draw level with his two great rivals, Djokovic said: "It means none of us three will stop, that's what it means.

"I have to pay a great tribute to Rafa and Roger, they are legends of our sport, they are the two most important players I ever faced in my career. They are the reason that I'm where I am today, they've helped me realise what I need to do to get stronger mentally, physically, tactically.

"When I broke into the top 10 for the first time I lost for two, three years all of the big matches I played against these guys. Something shifted in 2010, the beginning of 2011 and the last 10 years has been an incredible journey that is not stopping here."

Djokovic, 34, will go to New York looking to overtake his rivals and create history as he looks to become only the second man to win the four majors in the same year.

"I could definitely envisage that happening. I'm hoping, I'm going to definitely give it a shot," he said.

"I'm in great form. Playing my best tennis at grand slams is my highest priority at this stage of my career. Let's keep it going."

Djokovic beat Federer in an all-time classic Wimbledon showdown in 2019, though did not quite find his best form against slam final debutant Berrettini.

"It was more than a battle, I would like to extend congratulations to Matteo," he said.

"I know it's not the best feeling losing in a final. I'm sure there's a great career ahead, I truly believe that. He's got an incredible game, very powerful - true Italian hammer! 

"Winning Wimbledon was always the biggest dream of mine as a kid, I've told this story many times but I have to repeat it to remind myself how special this is and not take it for granted. On the contrary, to enjoy and be aware that this is a huge honour and privilege.

"A seven-year-old boy in Serbia, constructing a Wimbledon trophy from materials I could find and today finding with a sixth Wimbledon [title] it's incredible, amazing."

Berrettini took a front-foot approach and struck an impressive 57 winners, but ultimately his unforced error count of 48-27 to Djokovic's tally – proved costly. Indeed, the Italian lost the match when he sent a weak backhand into the net.

"Unbelievable feelings, maybe too many to handle," Berrettini said.

"For sure he was better than me, he is a great champion. Well done Novak, once again, he is writing the history of this sport so he deserves all the credit.

"I'm really happy for my final, hopefully it's not going to be my last one here, my last one in a grand slam."

Roger Federer and Serena Williams have probably played their last Wimbledon matches, according to American great Pam Shriver.

Both came to the All England Club this year with hopes of landing another grand slam title, which for Federer would have been a ninth at Wimbledon and Serena an eighth on the famous grass courts.

However, they were met with disappointment, Williams "heartbroken" at having to retire from her first-round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich due to an ankle injury.

Federer was thrashed 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 by Hubert Hurkacz in the men's quarter-finals and gave no assurances after the match that he would be back in 2022, or that he would play the Tokyo Olympics.

Both turn 40 later this year, Federer on August 8 and Williams on September 26, and their time at the top of tennis may now be over.

Shriver, a five-time doubles champion at Wimbledon who won 22 grand slams in all, was asked on The Tennis Podcast whether she expected Federer to play Wimbledon again.

"I thought so, before the tournament. I didn't think he would end Wimbledon without his family here," Shriver said.

"But after seeing him in the quarters and listening to his press conference, I think it's less than 50-50. I think we may have seen the last of him."

Due to restricted bubbles put in place because of COVID-19 issues, Federer has been unable to have wife Mirka and their four children with him in London.

Federer has won 20 grand slam singles titles, a record for the men's game that he shares with Rafael Nadal and which Novak Djokovic had the chance to match at this year's Wimbledon.

 Williams has 23 majors, one short of Margaret Court's women's record, but has been stuck on that total since 2017 and Shriver would be surprised to see her in the 2022 Wimbledon draw.

"I think it's even less likely that she'll be back," Shriver said. "It's really hard to stay fit for another year.

"She can't keep coming back from more and more injuries. I think it's definitely a turning point, pivot time, is the summer of 2021."

Roger Federer is unsure if he will make a return to Wimbledon, after the 20-time grand slam champion lost to Hubert Hurkacz in Wednesday's quarter-final.

Federer slipped to a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 defeat on Centre Court, with the 39-year-old failing to take the chance to become the oldest male to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals in the Open Era.

Having taken the majority of 2020 out to recover from knee surgery, Federer had played in four tournaments prior to this year's grass-court grand slam, but failed to progress beyond the round of 16 in any of them.

He made it a step further at Wimbledon yet fell well short against world number 18 Hurkacz.

Following Federer's defeat, another legend of the Wimbledon courts – Boris Becker – suggested the end of the road may be approaching for the world number eight, who turns 40 in August.

And asked in a post-match news conference if he would be returning to Wimbledon, Federer conceded he is uncertain.

"I don't know. I really don't know. I've got to regroup. My goal was always for the last year and more to always try to play another Wimbledon," the eight-time champion said.

"The initial goal was to play last year, but that was never going to happen, plus the pandemic hit. I was able to make it this year, which I'm really happy about.

 

"With everything that comes after Wimbledon, we were always going to sit down and talk about it because clearly now Wimbledon is over. I've got to take a few days.

"Obviously we're going to speak a little bit tonight, depending on how I feel, then the next couple of days as well. Then we go from there. Just see, okay, what do I need to do to get in better shape so I can be more competitive?

"I'm actually very happy I made it as far as I did and was able to play Wimbledon at the level that I did after everything I went through. Of course, I would like to play it again, but at my age, you're just never sure what's around the corner."

Federer's exit leaves Novak Djokovic, who faces Denis Shapovalov in the semi-finals, as the clear favourite.

The 34-year-old world number one is aiming for his third grand-slam title of 2021, after triumphing in Melbourne and at Roland Garros.

Roger Federer may well have played his last match at Wimbledon after being dismantled at the quarter-final stage, according to Boris Becker.

Federer, seeking a ninth title at the grass-court grand slam, was comprehensively beaten in straight sets by the relatively unfancied 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz on Wednesday.

The 39-year-old was beaten 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 on Centre Court, missing out on becoming the oldest male to reach the semi-finals of the championship in the Open Era.

Three-time champion Becker thought the manner of Federer's defeat, in which he hit 31 unforced errors and suffered the ignominy of losing a set to love for the first time in his Wimbledon career, could leave him questioning whether this was his last visit.

"I don't know if we'll ever see the great man again here," he said to the BBC.

"It's normal for anybody to make mistakes, but if you're such a perfectionist as Roger Federer, some of these mistakes were way out of his league.

"It can happen in a game or a set even, but in his case it was pretty much the whole match.

"As they always say, time doesn't stand still for any man or woman."

 

Federer came into this year's tournament having played just eight matches in 2021 following a lengthy recovery from knee surgery.

The 20-time major winner battled through the first round when Adrian Mannarino retired in the fifth set but looked to have regained some sharpness in victories over Richard Gasquet, Cameron Norrie and Lorenzo Sonego.

After losing the opening set against Hurkacz, Federer let a 4-1 lead slip in the second before succumbing in the tie-break, after which he never regained a foothold in the contest.

"Maybe in the first round he was trying to find his feet, he was lucky to get through, but in the following matches, he played better and better. Did he have a perfect match? No, but he had moments of perfection," said Becker.

"On paper, he was the favourite today. For him to go out and lose potentially his last ever set six-love... oh, God.

"I hope [he comes back in 2022], I don't want to see Roger losing his last set here. But there are certain rules in professional tennis that even Roger Federer has to obey: it's matches. You don't get your match fitness in practice, you're not going to get it in rehab. You don't know how strong your knee, your thigh or your mind is unless you're put in a position [to win]. He wasn't good enough today."

Becker drew parallels between Federer's defeat and his own 1995 final loss to Pete Sampras – a match that convinced him his time on tour had come to an end.

However, the former world number one advised Federer to play the remainder of the year and see if he can start 2022 on a positive note.

"My moment came when I lost to Pete Sampras in the Wimbledon final of 1995. I thought I was playing good, and I lost in straight sets against the better player," he said.

"I always felt that, when I'm not able to win Wimbledon anymore, why bother coming? Roger won it eight times; he's not coming here to play a tough quarter-final. He's coming here to win.

"He has to take a bit of a rest, play the hard-court season, go to the US Open and play the rest of the year. Go to Australia – he won there a couple of times – and hopefully win another tournament or two. Only then [will] he realise if he's good enough still to compete at the highest level."

Roger Federer's quest for a ninth Wimbledon title is over after he suffered a stunning straight-sets defeat to Hubert Hurkacz in Wednesday's quarter-final.

Federer has not reached the heights of years gone by at the All England Club, as an injury spared his blushes in the fifth set in the first round against Adrian Mannarino and he lost a set to Cameron Norrie in the third round.

And the 39-year-old was undone in style by the big-serving Hurkacz, playing at this stage of a grand slam for the first time in his career after claiming a surprise five-set win over Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round.

That match stretched into a second day but Federer was the player bereft of energy, Hurkacz emerging victorious from the biggest match of his life by a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 scoreline.

Hurkacz settled quickly despite the challenge of facing his childhood idol and had three break points at 2-2 and 40-0 in the first set, only to let that advantageous situation slip.

He did not make the same mistake two games later, emphatically dispatching a backhand volley to claim the sole break he needed to take the opener.

That looked a rare blip for Federer when he surged into a 4-1 second-set lead, only for Hurkacz to reel off the next three games en route to forcing a tie-break.

Hurkacz's prowess at the net continued to cause Federer problems and it was the Pole who eventually forged ahead in the tie-break, moving two sets up with a booming serve down the middle.

Unsurprisingly errant on the forehand side, a frustrated and flat Federer surrendered a break in his first service game of the third.

And two more came with a tame shot into the net and a wide forehand as the 20-time grand slam champion's challenge came to an end with him losing a set 6-0 at Wimbledon for the first time.

 

 

 

The sporting calendar provides many memorable days throughout the year but rarely do elite events overlap as often as at the Olympics.

At this year's delayed Tokyo Games, there is the prospect of seeing several of the world's top athletes all competing for gold at the same time.

August 1 looks a good bet for the standout day in 2021.

The final round of the men's golf event could see Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm in the mix, with Andy Murray hopeful he will meanwhile be defending consecutive singles gold medals in the tennis.

This comes on the same day that Simone Biles could potentially become the most decorated Olympic gymnast of all time.

As if that were not enough, the men's 100m final is another must-watch event.

Expectations will be high heading into that second Sunday of the Games, with examples from the past three competitions living up to their billing...

AUGUST 16, BEIJING 2008

Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt would be firmly in contention to appear on the Games' own Mount Rushmore and each enjoyed one of the finest moments of their respective careers on the same day.

Phelps had spent the opening week of the Beijing Olympics pursuing Mark Spitz's 1972 record of seven golds and had six as he entered the pool again for the 100m butterfly final, almost 12 hours before Bolt's big moment.

Seventh at the turn, the United States superstar needed a remarkable recovery to triumph over a devastated Milorad Cavic by 0.01 seconds.

Phelps would pass Spitz with his eighth gold of the Games the following day, by which point he was sharing the headlines with Jamaica's own ultimate athlete.

Bolt's blistering 9.69-second final triumph in the 100m stood as a world record until the same man beat it exactly a year later. The new benchmark remains unmatched.

And that Saturday in China also saw the small matter of Roger Federer's only gold medal, claimed alongside Stan Wawrinka in the doubles final after falling to James Blake as the top seed in the singles.

AUGUST 4-5, LONDON 2012

It is actually tough to choose just one day from the 2012 Olympics, where this weekend delivered from start to finish.

On the Saturday evening, at the Aquatics Centre, swimming prepared to say goodbye to its greatest name. Phelps and the United States won the 4x100m medley, clinching his 18th gold medal in what appeared set to be his final race.

Indeed, Phelps confirmed his retirement following the Games, only to return in predictably dominant fashion in 2016.

Across the city that same night, Team GB athletes were capping a stunning run of medals that would see the day dubbed "Super Saturday". There were six home golds in all, including big wins for Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah in quick succession.

The drama only continued the next day, too, as Murray finally sealed a Wimbledon win over Roger Federer in the tennis event, while Bolt lit up London Stadium in the 100m.

AUGUST 14, RIO 2016

Although there will be no Bolt brilliance in Tokyo, Brazil was treated to another show as he became the first three-time winner of the 100m – later doing likewise in the 200m.

The first triumph was almost overshadowed on the track, however, coming shortly after Wayde van Niekerk had broken Michael Johnson's 17-year 400m world record by 0.15 seconds.

Again, the excitement was not reserved for athletics, with Murray in action that evening to claim another gold after coming through a four-hour epic against Juan Martin del Potro.

Murray is the only player – men's or women's – to win consecutive singles golds, while Rafael Nadal's presence added a little more stardust even though he lost the bronze final to Kei Nishikori.

A stunning Sunday also saw Biles add to the reputation she takes with her to Tokyo, a third gold on the vault making her the most decorated American gymnast.

And there was history, too, for Justin Rose, as he edged past Henrik Stenson at the 18th hole of the fourth round to become the first Olympic golf champion in 112 years.

Daniil Medvedev once again came up short in five sets at Wimbledon as he was defeated by Hubert Hurkacz in their delayed fourth-round match.

World number two Medvedev had reached the quarter-finals in three of his previous four majors – after making the last eight in only one of the prior 13 – but the grass-court grand slam continues to provide him with some difficulties.

The Russian's run to round four was his best ever at the All England Club, having bowed out a stage earlier in each of his three previous main-draw appearances.

But Medvedev's campaign ended in the same fashion as each of those, again losing in five sets. He had appeared to overcome that hoodoo in round three this year when he rallied from two sets down against Marin Cilic.

This reverse was stretched over two days, with Medvedev leading 6-2 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 3-4 when rain intervened on Court Two on Monday.

Medvedev and Hurkacz headed to Centre Court to complete the job first thing on Tuesday, but the second seed could not complete the job.

The Polish challenger broke instantly and then served out the second set, teeing up a decider and bringing back bad memories for Medvedev.

A shabby display from the two-time major finalist then put paid to his hopes of a recovery, the fifth set featuring 12 unforced errors to Hurkacz's one.

Indeed, Medvedev failed to apply any sort of pressure, winning only four receiving points and failing to forge a break point opportunity. Hurkacz created and took two, triumphing 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 6-3.

As Hurkacz looks ahead to a first grand slam quarter-final against Federer, Medvedev will rue a missed opportunity.

He could have finished this championship as the world's number one had he claimed silverware or faced anyone other than the top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the final.

"I played really bad today. There's not much more to say," acknowledged Medvedev.

Roger Federer booked his place in an 18th Wimbledon quarter-final as he secured a straight-sets victory over Lorenzo Sonego.

The Swiss great took firm control after winning a topsy-turvy opener to run out a 7-5 6-4 6-2 winner on Centre Court at the All England Club.

He will now face either Hubert Hurkacz or Daniil Medvedev for a place in the semi-finals as he pursues a 21st grand slam title in SW19.

Sonego's resolve was eventually broken in a thrilling first set that saw Federer go a break up before losing his advantage and then getting it straight back when his opponent double-faulted after a brief rain delay.

And although the Italian had two break points in the final game of that set, his failure to take either marked the end of his challenge in earnest.

A Federer break in the fifth game of the second set helped the eight-time Wimbledon champion extend his advantage to two with little fuss.

And he required just 30 minutes to wrap up the third and continue another deep run in a tournament that has seen some of his best tennis down the years.

Data slam: Federer errs despite victory

Although Federer ultimately cruised to victory in this one, things could have been very different had Sonego taken a nip-and-tuck first set.

And the Italian was given every chance to do so by his opponent, whose 17 unforced errors in the opener – to Sonego's nine – ensured the contest remained cagey.

If Federer is to keep his Wimbledon dream alive as the quality of his opponents increase, he will need to play with greater precision.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Federer – 32/26
Sonego – 23/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Federer – 4/1
Sonego – 4/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Federer – 5/15
Sonego – 1/3

Roger Federer is loving being in contention at Wimbledon, pointing out that doing it shortly before his 40th birthday makes the experience even more special.

The eight-time champion, who turns 40 next month, won an entertaining third-round encounter against home hope Cameron Norrie on Saturday.

Federer triumphed 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-4 in two hours and 35 minutes, needing some impressive play to see off a battling Norrie.

The Swiss star, seeded sixth, ended up with 48 winners as he reached the second week at All England Club for a remarkable 18th time.

Federer will play Italian Lorenzo Sonego in the fourth round and he sees every step as a bonus at this stage, having recovered from two knee surgeries.

"I'm very, very pleased and super relieved," Federer said after his victory.

"It is a nice stat to hear. I've loved every minute and I hope there's a little bit more tennis left in me. 

"It is an absolute pleasure still playing right now at this age. And this is special as it's my last slam before I hit the big 40, so it feels really good. 

"It’s all a bonus, and we will see how far I can go here."

 

Federer had seven aces and zero double faults, while converting four of his 11 break points.

Seven double faults proved costly for Norrie, who was only able to force four break opportunities but did convert two of them.

Federer had kind words for Norrie, who has made the third round at all three grand slams so far this year, only to be unfortunate with his draws.

Norrie had to play Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open and French Open and now another grand slam legend in Federer.

"That was a tough battle with Cam," added Federer. "He deserved that third set. He played excellent. 

"But I felt I was able to keep a high level of play and can be very happy with how I played. 

"He got the good break at the end of the third that cost me the set but overall I can be very happy."

 

Roger Federer fought off spirited home hope Cameron Norrie to set up a fourth-round meeting with Lorenzo Sonego at Wimbledon.

The 39-year-old, an eight-time champion at the All England Club, overcame a third-set wobble to secure a 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-4 triumph amid the familiar surroundings of Centre Court on Saturday.

British number two Norrie, enjoying a career-best run at the grass-court grand slam, tallied four double faults in a first set decided by one break of serve in favour of the Swiss maestro.

Federer's supremacy was first challenged when he faced two break points in his opening service game of the second set, but he clicked into gear to snuff out the threat with four points on the spin.

Finding the fluency that is such a hallmark of his game, Federer looked at ease on a court where success has come so readily to him, the crowd favourite executing his game plan to leave Norrie chasing shadows at the other end.

The third set was a more keenly contested affair as Norrie threw caution to the wind, unleashing some lethal forehand strikes to finally put Federer under some strain, with the seasoned champion broken at the vital moment.

An exchange of breaks early in the fourth suggested a degree of parity in the contest, but Federer accelerated to the finish line to end British interest in the men's draw at this year's tournament.

Data Slam: Double trouble for Norrie

Federer does not need any favours from his opponents but Norrie was all too forthcoming with them on his own serve, despite an otherwise excellent display. 

Norrie, ranked 34 in the world, racked up seven double faults and you can scarcely afford to be so charitable against such formidable opposition. 

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Federer – 48/33
Norrie – 34/32

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Federer –7/0
Norrie – 12/7

BREAK POINTS WON

Federer – 4/11
Norrie – 2/4

Roger Federer cruised into the third round of Wimbledon with a straight-sets win over Richard Gasquet on Thursday.

The sixth seed, seeking a record-extending ninth title at the All England Club, won 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 6-4 in one hour and 54 minutes to set up a tie with home hopeful Cameron Norrie.

Federer was slightly fortunate to overcome Adrian Mannarino in his opening match, and the world number eight was initially given a tough time by another Frenchman in Gasquet.

He saved three break points in the second game and held serve throughout the remainder of the opening set, as did his opponent to force a tie-break that proved one-sided.

Using the momentum, Federer broke Gasquet in the second and fourth games and sealed the second set with one of his 10 aces.

Gasquet had not defeated Federer since 2011 and any hopes of ending that run faded further when he was forced into an error in the seventh game of the third set for the only break.

Federer had little trouble in seeing out the win on Centre Court, confirmed when Gasquet failed to overturn a decision from Hawk-Eye after running out of challenges.

"I know Richard really well. We've played so many times against each other," Federer said in his on-court interview. "It's always a pleasure playing against him.

"It was a wonderful match. I'm happy with my performance. It was a tough first set. I was happy with the second set and I was better in the third, so I'm very, very happy."

 

Data Slam: Dominant Federer finding his feet

Federer may not be a clear favourite for this year's competition as he makes his latest return from injury, but the 20-time major winner will still take some stopping in SW19.

He won 84 per cent of the points behind his first serve and proved far too strong for Gasquet with 49 winners helping to stretch ​his own record for Wimbledon match wins to 103.

Next up is a challenge of a different type, with Federer taking on British number two Norrie in front of an expectant home crowd on Saturday.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Federer – 50/26
Gasquet – 20/23

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Federer – 10/0
Gasquet – 3/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Federer – 3/6
Gasquet – 0/5

Roger Federer came from two sets to one down to survive a Wimbledon scare from Adrian Mannarino, who was forced to retire after suffering a knee injury.

Federer was expected to come through his first match at the All England Club since losing the 2019 final to Novak Djokovic with little difficulty.

That anticipation was increased when he claimed the first set, only for Mannarino to fuel hope of a first win over Federer in their seventh meeting by taking the next two sets.

The 20-time grand slam champion had re-established a measure of control in the fourth set when Mannarino was left in agony after his knee buckled at 4-2.

Mannarino attempted to continue but conceded the injury was too much to overcome in the opening game of the fifth with the score 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 3-6 6-2.

Federer lost just five points on serve in taking the opener, though he took only one of his six break points, with Mannarino proving a significantly tougher nut to crack in the second set.

The Frenchman did not face a break point and was surprisingly dominant in the tie-break, and he carried that confidence into the third, making six unforced errors to Federer's 10.

At that point, the biggest shock of the tournament looked to be on the cards, but Federer was back to his best in the fourth.

Imperious at the net, Federer hit 18 winners in the fourth and a decider already looked an inevitability by the time Mannarino's misfortune meant the Swiss could save energy before a second-round clash with either Richard Gasquet or Yuichi Sugita.

After an enforced hiatus in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, tennis returns to SW19.

Novak Djokovic makes his way back to Wimbledon as the defending champion and with the men's grand slam record firmly in his sight.

Djokovic conquered Rafael Nadal en route to French Open glory and his 19th slam crown – one shy of the record shared by rivals Nadal and Roger Federer.

With Nadal and Dominic Thiem absent, Djokovic's path to a 20th major trophy has opened up in London.

The women's title is up for grabs after holder Simona Halep withdrew, and Serena Williams can still dream of making history.

As all eyes shift to the All England Club, Stats Perform looks at the numbers behind this year's slam, using Opta data.

 

Dominant Djokovic

World number one and top seed Djokovic begins his title defence against promising Briton Jack Draper in the first round.

French Open champion Djokovic has won four of the last six Wimbledon tournaments, including each of the past two – the last player to win more at Wimbledon in a row was Federer between 2003 and 2007 (five).

A five-time Wimbledon winner, Djokovic is the only man to have won the first two grand slam tournaments of a calendar year over the last 25 years, doing it in 2016 and 2021. The last man to win the first three grand slams of a calendar year was Rod Laver during his Grand Slam in 1969.

The 2019 Wimbledon final was the first slam decider to be decided by a final set tie-break, with Djokovic beating Federer 7-3 in that tiebreak, while it was also the longest final in Wimbledon history (four hours, 57 minutes).

No man has won Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year since Nadal in 2010.

 

Federer farewell?

The curtain appears to be closing on all-time great Federer, who withdrew from the French Open after a draining four-set win over Dominik Koepfer to preserve his body for the grass season.

This year's Wimbledon could be the 39-year-old's final realistic shot at a grand slam as Djokovic bids to become the greatest of all.

Seeded sixth, Federer – who meets Adrian Mannarino first up – has won the most Wimbledon titles among all male players in the slam's history.

Federer will aim to win his 21st grand slam, which would break a tie with Nadal for the outright men's record.

 

The 'Big Four' and their stranglehold

Injuries have forced two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray to fall out of the equation but there has been no getting past the original 'Big Four'.

Among the men, the last 17 years of Wimbledon has been dominated by the same four players – Federer (eight titles), Djokovic (five), Nadal (two), Murray (two). The last winner at Wimbledon before them was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.

Since Wimbledon in 2004, only one of the 68 slams has not seen at least one of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal in the semi-finals – it was at the US Open last year.

The new generation is headlined by grand slam runners-up Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Medvedev has never passed the third round at Wimbledon, though his two defeats at that stage have both been in five sets. The Russian second seed has reached at least the quarter-finals in three of his last four major tournaments, after reaching that stage in only one of his previous 13.

Beaten by Djokovic in the Roland Garros final, Tsitsipas has reached the semi-finals in his last three slams, having done so only once in his previous 12. The third seed has never reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, however.

Wimbledon is the only slam where fourth seed Alexander Zverev is yet to reach the quarter-final, his best result being a fourth-round performance in 2017. Since the beginning of 2020, he has advanced to the semi-finals in three slam tournaments, after never doing it in his previous 18 such major main-draw appearances.

 

Serena's ongoing quest

The queen of WTA tennis for so long, Serena Williams is one slam success away from matching Margaret Court's record of 24 major singles championships. But the 39-year-old has been stuck on 23 since reigning supreme at the Australian Open in 2017.

Williams, who lost in the French Open fourth round, has won seven Wimbledon titles (level with Steffi Graf) – only Martina Navratilova has more in the Open Era (nine).

American superstar Williams has been a Wimbledon runner-up in 2018 and 2019. Chris Evert is the only player in the Open Era to have lost three consecutive Wimbledon finals (between 1978 and 1980).

Williams, the sixth seed who will clash with Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the opening round, is looking to become only the second woman to win 100 Wimbledon singles matches (currently 98), alongside Navratilova (120). She could also become the first woman to reach 100-plus wins in two different majors (106 wins at the US Open).

From the first Wimbledon final reached by one Williams sister in 2000 (won by Venus against Lindsay Davenport), only in four of 20 editions has neither of the two sisters reached the decider – in 2006 (Amelie Mauresmo-Justine Henin), 2011 (Petra Kvitova-Maria Sharapova), 2013 (Marion Bartoli-Sabine Lisicki) and 2014 (Kvitova-Eugenie Bouchard).

 

Barty party?

Former French Open champion Ash Barty heads to Wimbledon as the top seed and will kick off her title bid against veteran Carla Suarez Navarro.

However, world number one Barty has never reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals. Reaching the 2019 fourth round was her best result. The last Australian woman to reach the quarters at Wimbledon was Jelena Dokic in 2000.

The top seed in the Wimbledon women's singles main draw has been eliminated in the first round just three times in the Open Era – Graf in 1994, Martina Hingis in 1999 and Hingis again in 2001.

Wimbledon is the only major won by Kvitova in her career (2011 and 2014). She is one among the three current players with multiple titles at the All England Club, alongside Serena and Venus Williams.

Karolina Pliskova was the woman with the most aces per match made on average at Wimbledon 2019 (9.0, 36 in total) among players who reached the third round.

Novak Djokovic spent the week before Wimbledon enjoying a challenge for a most unlikely title in Mallorca.

The Serbian reached his first men's doubles final for 11 years when he and Carlos Gomez-Herrera knocked out the third seeds on Thursday. Were it not for an injury to the Spaniard forcing them to withdraw, you would not have put it past Djokovic, a man with 83 singles titles, to have lifted what would have been just a second doubles trophy in his career.

"I don't think we expected to reach the finals," Djokovic admitted after an unexpected, liberating week. "Everything clicked quite amazingly."

That Djokovic could prepare to defend his Wimbledon title by experimenting in the doubles in the Spanish sun should serve as a warning to the rest of the draw. He has not played a Tour-level singles match since that exhausting, extraordinary win at the French Open where he inflicted on Rafael Nadal just the third Roland Garros defeat of his career before recovering from two sets down to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final. That treacherous transition from clay to grass is no problem at all, such is Djokovic's belief in his own powers.

And why not? He has been close to untouchable in 2021: 27 wins and as many titles as defeats, his three trophy wins including the first two grand slams of the year. He has 19 now, just one behind all-time record holders Nadal – who withdrew from Wimbledon and the Olympics after a gruelling clay season – and Roger Federer, who has played only eight matches since the 2020 Australian Open following two knee operations. Djokovic has won four of the past six championships at SW19 and is bidding to become the first man to win three in a row since Federer managed four from 2004 to 2007.

For Federer, 2021 has been about building for these next two months, for another fortnight in London and a final shot at Olympic singles gold. He pulled out of Roland Garros after a draining four-set win over Dominik Koepfer to preserve his body for the grass season, but his bid for an 11th title in Halle ended in a dispiriting second-round loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime.

 

Federer would not admit it publicly, nor perhaps even to himself, but Wimbledon 2021 represents his best remaining chance at winning a major, not least with Nadal and fourth seed Dominic Thiem having pulled out. He should have taken the title the last time the event was played two years ago, when Djokovic survived two match points to win the longest final in history in four hours and 57 minutes. Now 39, having to pick and choose his matches to prolong his career, that unpalatable moment when Federer puts down his racquet for good is starting to loom large on the horizon.

It leaves things beautifully poised at the top of the men's game. Djokovic has always been hindered in conversations around the 'big three'. The 34-year-old has never won the hearts of the wider tennis public in quite the same way as Roger and Rafa, in spite of his best – and occasionally misguided – efforts.

Yet the fact remains we are entering a critical point in this particular GOAT debate. Djokovic leads the head-to-head record against Federer (27-23) and Nadal (30-28). He is the only man in the Open Era to win all four grand slams twice. Nobody has won more Masters 1000 titles (36, level with Nadal), and nobody else has won all nine of those events. He has been world number one for 326 weeks – also a record. And all of his major titles bar one have come in the past 10 years, a time in which Nadal has won 11 and Federer four. This has truly been his decade – at least, if you ignore the doubles.

Should Djokovic win a sixth Wimbledon title, and should he follow that with major number 21 at the US Open, there will be little objective reason not to crown him the greatest men's player ever to play the sport. He knows that.

Perhaps Federer does, too. The lingering regret of losing three finals here to Djokovic, the lure of lifting this trophy for a ninth time, the prospect of halting the Serbian's conquest of the game –perhaps that will inspire the Swiss to what would surely be the greatest triumph of his career. Perhaps, just once more, everything will click.

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