Many have tried, but all have, ultimately, failed, as the dominance of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal continues at Wimbledon – with this years tournament being no exception.
They have all been in imperious form, dropping no more than a handful of sets between them in reaching the Semi Finals – and now, only Roberto Bautista Agut (above), the Spanish 23rd seed, stands between them and another Grand Slam title landing firmly in the lap of one of them.
The Quarter Finals, all played yesterday, showcased the extraordinary talents, abilities and energy of these seemingly ageless players.
Federer (above), against Japanese player Kei Nishikori, the highest (8) remaining seed left in the tournament outside the top three, suffered the minor indignity of dropping the opening set against a player almost ten years his junior, but then proceeded to run Nishikori ragged across the next three sets – Nishikori struggling to match the intensity, energy and court coverage of the Swiss legend. Meanwhile, there was a line of thought that Sam Querrey, the hard hitting American, could cause Rafael Nadal some problems in their own Q/F matchup. Nadal ran out a 7-5,6-2,6-2 winner, dispelling any doubts there.
Novak Djokovic (above) had already treated David Goffin with contempt – winning twelve out fourteen games across the second and third sets to waltz into the Semi Finals 6-4, 6-0, 6-2. Agut had beaten Argentinian Guido Pella to have the dubious honour of also making the last four with the big three.
But, we will lose at least one of these great players in the Semi Finals, with the draw panning out as follows :
Novak Djokovic (1) v Roberto Bautista Agut (23)
Roger Federer (2) v Rafael Nadal (3)
Whilst Djokovic will start heavy favourite and should conclude Agut’s tournament at this stage, the Federer v Nadal duel promises to be an epic.
Their Wimbledon final of 2008, where Nadal (above) outlasted Federer 4-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 7-9, is considered one of the, if not the, greatest matches of all time to be played on the Centre Court. Eleven years later and these two tennis titans are still at the peak of their powers and displaying a voracious appetite to add to the Grand Slam titles they have – Federer (20) and Nadal (18). Both are supreme all round players, having fantastic court coverage and a range of shots in their arsenal. Nadal is slightly more counter attacking, using his amazing speed to defend shots, before unleashing drives on the run and cunning drop shots to win points that seemed lost. Federer can produce angled shots that defy belief, and is about the best volleyer in the game. Both have few weaknesses – but both know each other so well and have the utmost respect for their games that invariably brings out the best in both.
Of their Head to Head, Nadal leads the series 24-15 overall – but Federer leads the grass series 2-1. In this tournament, you would argue that Nadal has looked a little sharper and clinical than Federer – but Federer will relish the challenge.
It will be a game of the highest quality, with two legends in their own right going hammer and fist at each other, but with nothing but genuine respect and admiration for one another central to it. Whomever prevails though, will then have to do it all again against Djokovic – giving all due respect to Agut. You have to imagine that will only play into the hands of the World number one and reigning Wimbledon champion.
Both Wimbledon 2019 Men’s Semi Finals will be played on Friday July 12.
Its not a prediction made easily, but we see Sunday’s final being contested by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.