Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have gone head-to-head a total of 26 times. Of those 26 times, they’ve played on grass a grand total of zero times.
All that’s about to change though as the two are set to renew their rivalry in the semifinals of Wimbledon 2012.
Somehow, it seems a little absurd that two of the three best tennis players in the world have never met on a specific kind of surface despite crossing paths as often as they do. So to say that this match is highly-anticipated affair of gentleman’s tennis is about as big of an understatement as saying that Kim Kardashian has an ‘ample-sized’ posterior.
Federer is a six-time Wimbledon champion and is gunning for a place in history alongside Pete Sampras as the only two tennis players to ever win Wimbledon seven times. Standing in his way, appropriately enough, is the defending champion, a man who despite owning an overall losing record against ol’ Rodg, is actually 6-1 in their last seven matches.
And, oh by the way, Novak the Impersonator is also 43-2 at Grand Slam matches in the past two years with one of the two losses happening at the 2012 French Open finals last month against Rafael Nadal.
Not exactly the kind of numbers Federer will be gushing over.
For the match, Djokovic has been tagged as the favorite at 4/9 odds with Federer being penciled in as the 11/5 underdog. Understandably, it’s a little easy to get sucked into backing the current world number 1, especially with the way he’s been playing over the past two years. But don’t sleep on the Fed Express either because if there’s one court that he’s had a history of dominating, it’s that soft grass at Wimbledon.
Either way, expect fireworks when these two meet in the grass for the first time ever. History’s got no precedent here except for the fact that something – or somebody – has to give.
As for the other semifinals match, hometown hero Andy Murray will be taking on French Hercules himself, Jo-Wilfrid Tsonga. If you thought Djokovic-Federer was pressure-packed, that’s nothing compared to the kind of heat Andy is on right now. As the hometown boy and the object of “Murray Mania”, oh-so-dandy Andy will try to be the first British men’s player to make the men’s finals of Wimbledon since a dude named Bunny Austin did it in 1938.
Quick tangent: we don’t know what’s more ridiculous: that it’s been 74 years since a local lad reached the Wimbledon men’s finals or somebody decided to name their son “Bunny”. We’ll take the latter.
In any case, Tsonga won’t make it easier for Andy to reach the finals, although the latter would probably prefer seeing Jo-Wilfrid on the other side than Rafael Nadal, who unceremoniously got booted in the second round by somebody named Lukas Rosol.
Without his tormentor in the fold, Murray’s got a good shot to get past Tsonga and oddsmakers seem to be riding the wave of “Murray Mania”, too, installing the Brit as a 4/9 favorite to get, presumably, eaten alive by the winner of the Djokovic-Federer match. As for Tsonga, he’s a 2/1 after-thought that’s back-stopped, it seems, by a less-than-stellar 1-5 head-to-head record against the hometown boy.
Make no mistake, Tsonga’s a dangerous opponent that can flex his guns on any given day. But we believe a date with destiny – either named Novak or Roger – beckons for Andy Murray. We’re not yet prepared to ride shotgun on “Murray Mania”, but rest assured, if he gets past Jo-Wilfrid, we’ll be looking for room in the bandwagon.