(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on July 10, 2021 shows
Italy's Matteo Berrettini returns against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz during their men's singles semi-final match on the eleventh day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 9, 2021, and Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns against Canada's Denis Shapovalov during their men's singles semi-final match on the eleventh day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 9, 2021. - Novak Djokovic admits "it will mean everything" to capture a sixth Wimbledon title and record-equalling 20th Grand Slam on July 11, 2021. However, if the world number one is to achieve that goal and go three-quarters of the way to the first calendar Slam in more than half a century, he has to find a way past Matteo Berrettini, the Italian with the build of a heavyweight boxer.
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Tennis | Wimbledon 2021 | History awaits for Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini in the Gentlemen’s Singles Final at Wimbledon
The Serb leads their head-to-head although their last meeting at Roland Garros was a tight four set encounter on a dramatic Parisian evening.
Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (2021 – Grass)
Novak Djokovic (WR 1)
Matteo Berrettini (WR 9)
Tournament Previous Best
Winner (2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019)
1st Serve %
Service Games Won %
Break Points Saved %
2nd Serve Return Points Won %
Break Points Converted %
As is seen in the statistics, Berrettini has been equal to Djokovic in every department at Wimbledon so far with the Italian leading in the first serve while the world number one has won more return points on the second serve.
Djokovic has once again been in superior form at Wimbledon backing up his status as overwhelming favourite for the title at the start of the tournament. However Friday’s semi-final was a reminder not to get too complacent as his straight sets win over Denis Shapovalov saw the Serb having to battle as the second best player for the majority of the match.
However Djokovic’s experience in the big moments once again proved how tough it will be to beat him:
“Today, again, three very tight sets. He was the better player I think for the first couple sets,” Djokovic admitted on Friday.
“In important moments I think I probably held my nerves better than he did and just make him play an extra shot, make him do an unforced error, which was the case. But it was not straightforward match, even though it was a straight-set victory. It was very close.”
The two-time defending champion will be chasing history on Sunday which he looks to equal Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal‘s tied record of 20 grand slam titles and it’s something that would mean a lot to the Serb.
“Well, it would mean everything. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m playing. I imagined myself being in a position to fight for another Grand Slam trophy prior to coming to London. I put myself in a very good position.
“Yeah, so I think that experience definitely favors me every single time, next time I get to work on the court, knowing that I’ve been through everything that I could possibly go through as a tennis player. I know my strengths. I know what I’m capable of. I rely on that.”
As he searches for history Djokovic will hope that he will have the crowd on his side on what is set to be a special day for the world number one.
“But hopefully people can also recognise also the importance of this match for me, the history that is on the line. Yeah, I’m prepared for anything really that is going to happen in terms of the crowd support on Sunday. I’ve had many different experiences throughout my career. I just need to focus on myself and what I need to do.”
Standing in Djokovic’s way is Berrettini who’s big serve and big forehand has seen him edge past Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz in the last two rounds. However his match on Friday saw the Italian use some slice and creativity as he became the first Italian male or female to reach a Wimbledon final.
For Berrettini the match on Sunday will mean everything to not only him but to his whole family.
“It means everything. Not just my parents, my brother, one of my best friends. I started playing tennis with them. Thanks to them, with them, with my brother, we still practicing together. He’s still playing.
“Just everything crazy. I couldn’t unfortunately, for bubble reason, meet them. I saw them from far away. My brother, I never saw him like that. He couldn’t believe it. That’s where we’re coming from. That’s my family. That’s our passion, I guess. Tennis is in my family. Also my grandparents are still playing. It’s something we have in DNA, and it makes me feel so good to have them here.”
The Italian will need to serve at his best, hit his forehand just as hard as he has and produce an equally complete performance as he did on Friday to stand any chance.
Djokovic has proven time and again that he can produce his best tennis when it really matters and he will hope that will be the case on Sunday because perform like he did on Friday and history will slip from his fingers.
Prediction: Djokovic in four sets.
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