Wimbledon final: Djokovic defeats Federer in dramatic final to lift fifth Wimbledon title - As it happened

Catch the live updates, statistics and scores of the Wimbledon men's singles final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will meet for the third time in the Wimbledon title match today.   -  Getty Images

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's LIVE coverage of the Wimbledon men's singles final between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. We'll bring you live commentary, scores, updates, statistics and more from the title clash on Center Court.

 

LIVE:

Novak: "If this was not the most exciting final then it was definitely the top two or three. I was up against one of the greatest players of all time, Roger, who I expect a lot. Unfortunately one player has to lose and we both had our chances. It’s unreal to be two match points down and come back. It’s a bit strange to play a tie-break at 12-all as well. I was hoping to get to the tie-breaks as well. And Roger says he hopes he can inspire others to believe they can do it at 32. I’m one of them. When I was a boy and dreaming to be a tennis player this always has been the tournament for me. I used to make trophies out of different materials in my room and it’s extra special sharing it with my son in the crowd and my parents and my whole team. My wife and daughter are here in London but they are at home. I’ll see them soon. Back to being dad too, I guess.”

Roger Federer: “I will try to forget. It was a great match. It was long, it had everything. We played great tennis. I had my chances, so did he. In a way I’m happy. But Novak was great. Congragulations, man. I still feel good. I can still stand. Back to being dad and husband.”

11:44pm: Novak Djokovic wins his FIFTH Wimbledon title! That's his 16th Grand Slam title. With this win, he has beaten Roger Federer thrice in the Wimbledon final. He had to fight off TWO championship points this time. Depsite looking out of it, he was always in it. Federer's search for Grand Slam number 24 continues.

11:39pm: Federer balloons the return AND NOVAK DJOKOVIC WINS 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 13-12 (3).

 

11:37pm: Drama! Djokovic's backhand goes wide. Federer hits the net but it's called out before that. Djoko challenges, it's in but no point.

11:36pm: An incredible forehand down the line from Djokovic, worthy of a winner. Djokovic on three championship points. 6-3.

11:35pm: A forehand winner from Djokovic. 5-3

11:34pm: A brilliant serve from Federer and he cuts the deficit to 4-3.

11:33pm: Federer plays a drop shot, Djokovic slips at the baseline and it's 4-2 to the Serb.

11:32pm: Djokovic leads 4-1! Federer hits a forehand wide.

11:31pm: Djokovic 2-1 as Federer hits a volley wide.

11:31pm: Federer forehand down the line and 1-1.

11:30pm: First point of the tiebreak goes to Djokovic as Federer sends a forehand long. 1-0

11:28pm: Federer holds and WE'RE INTO A FIRST EVER FIFTH-SET TIEBREAK IN WIMBLEDON MEN'S SINGLES.

11:19pm: Djokovic holds at the end of a dramatic game and leads 12-11. Now Federer serves to stay in the match. If he holds, we're going into a tiebreak according to new rules.

Djokovic cruises to a 40-0 lead but Federer fights back to Deuce. WHAT A RALLY! Federer hits an inside out forehand winner and it's not called out, but it looks like Federer has challenged it. Why? I don't quite know. And Djokovic has some words with the umpire! DRAMAAA!

Anyway, this point goes on. Another deuce and Federer gets on break point again! It's challenged and it's just in. Djokovic gets to advantage and wins the game as Federer's forehand goes long.

11:15pm: Federer holds again. It's 11-11 in the fifth set.

It's a repeat. Djokovic takes the first point off Federer's serve again. Federer comes back with a forehand winner. Then a winner at the net and an ace. Holds again.

It's hard not to notice how much attention is on Federer. Does that take pressure off Djokovic or put him under more? It's a fight to show he's number one and deserves as much respect as Federer or Nadal.

11:12pm: Djokovic leads 11-10 and Federer serves to stay in the set, for the fourth time.

It's 30-30 after Djokovic sends a forehand long. Federer's return goes long on the next one and the pressure's off Djokovic. He holds with a good serve. 

11:09pm: Federer holds again and keeps this going. 10-10 in the final set.

Ace, first up. Fine margins come into play again as a forehand down the line just misses the line - maybe by a millimeter. The bespactacled and rather young-looking line umpire is spot on with the call. Federer goes on to hold quickly from there.

11:05pm: Djokovic holds to 15. He leads 10-9 in the final set. Federer serves to stay in the match, again.

Djokovic looks commanding with his serves. It's 40-30 as he smacks a forehand down the line and he goes on to hold.

11:02pm: Federer holds. 9-9 in the fifth set.

This one also starts off like the recent Federer service games. Djokovic wins the first point. The Serb falls to unforced errors and Federer gets it to 40-15. He wins it as Djokovic return goes long.

10:58pm: Djokovic holds serve to go 9-8 up in the fifth set. Federer serves to stay in the match.

Djokovic is 40-0 but Federer fights back. Djokovic's backhand hits the top of the net and goes out. But he holds.

No matter how this game goes now, we're looking at a classic.

10:54pm: Novak Djokovic SAVES TWO CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS and breaks Federer. It's 8-8 now.

Djokovic wins the first point. Ace from Federer. Another ace and two championship points!! Forehand goes wide, One more championship point left. DJOKOVIC SAVES IT! Deuce. And BREAK POINT for Djokovic. What a game! (This is all so stream of consciousness. Pardon me.) AND HE'S BROKEN! Somebody give up.

10:49pm: Federer BREAKS to go 8-7 up in the fifth set! Roger Federer serves for the match.

Djokovic leads 30-0. 30-15 as Federer belts a forehand winner into an open court. He's soaking up all the pressure. Meanwhile, Djokovic is under serious pressure as plays two forehands wide. Federer BREAKS with a beautiful forehand pass, with Djokovic trapped at the net.

10:44pm: Federer races to a 40-0 lead. Djokovic gets time on the next point and buries a forehand in the corner. Federer holds with a forehand cross court shot to level the fifth set 7-7.

10:40pm: In that overhead smash, you could feel how much Djokovic wants this. He holds again and leads 7-6 in the final set.  This match has gone four hours and we can safely say it has surpassed their other two meetings in the Wimbledon finals for time and quality.

10:36pm: No end in sight. That classic backhand down the line gives Federer the first point of the game. Squanders the next with the same backhand. Djokovic finds himself 15-30 up and only two points away from the Championship. It's 30-30 and then 40-30 as he nets a forehand. Federer hits the simplest forehand long and it's on duece. It cannot end like this.

It doesn't. Federer on advantage but Djokovic pulls it back to deuce. A gladiatorial battle follows, both reaching unbelievable parts of the court to keep the point going. Djokovic eventually wins that. But Federer goes on to hold and it's 6-6 in the fifth set.

10:31pm: He double faults but it's yet another nervy hold from Djokovic. He leads 6-5 in the final set. Federer serves to keep this match going.

Djokovic serves a double fault, at yet another crucial moment and trails 15-30. But the next point is a thing of brilliance from Djokovic. Federer volleys at the net and Djokovic dives to his right to get his racket on it. He does and Federer gives up the chase. Djokovic holds as Federer plays a backhand long.

10:27pm: Federer holds and it's 5-5 in the final set.

Federer serves an ace to go 30-15 up but lets Djokovic get level by hitting the net. He has a lot of time on a forehand and plays it down the line, Djokovic gets there but Federer has an open court to put it back into. He holds from there. What a battle!

10:19pm: Djokovic overcomes some remarkable attacking from Federer to hold. The World Number one leads the final set 5-4.

What a shot! Federer hangs back and plays a backhand slice. It's got a lot of backspin on it and Djokovic shouldn't even try. He knows it. 15-15. Djokovic gets to 40-15 but Federer fight back. It's another backhand slice with so much backspin on it. Djokovic tries to get to this one but isn't successful. However, Djokovic holds as a forehand from Federer goes long.

 

10:18pm: Djokovic wins the first point with a precise forehand on the line. Federer gets level as Djokovic nets. Djokovic gets back on top but then, with some help from the net, Federer levels. 40-30 with an ace. And he serves his 17th ace of the match to level the set 4-4. This is 'can't take your eyes off it' stuff!

10:13pm: Federer breaks back! Centre Court is up on its feet and chanting his name. Djokovic leads 4-3 in fifth set.

Djokovic double faults and now Federer is on break point. What a ding-dong this set is turning out to be. Djokovic saves the break point. Federer pulls a forehand long and it's deuce. Djokovic tries to set him up with a backhand slice but Federer comes up to it and finishes it off with forehand winner down the line. Break point again! Everyone's tensed. Centre Court is holding its breath. The whole office has shifted attention from an interesting Cricket World Cup final. Oh he has BROKEN! Game on, again.

That double fault, Djokovic.

10:04pm: Djokovic BREAKS! He leads 4-2 in the final set.

Federer finds himself under pressure on serve for the second time in a row. The Serb goes 0-30 up after Federer tries a one-two backhand down the line and it goes long. Djokovic then gets to two break points and Federer saves one. But the next one isn't saved! He draws Federer up to the net and makes a perfect backhand pass to break.  This is his chance!

10:01pm: Djokovic holds to lead 3-2.

Djokovic goes 40-0 up quickly but a beautiful backhand return down the line from Federer makes it 40-15. 40-30 as Djokovic finds the net. He finds it again and deuce! Djokovic averts the danger with a superb serve down the middle and goes on to win the game as Federer's backhand hits the net.  Djokovic's first serves are getting better now.

9:54pm: Federer saves two break points to hold. 2-2 in the final set.

Djokovic gets to two break points as Federer's attempted forehand pass takes a tumble over the net and goes out. He saves one. Saves the other too as a Djokovic backhand hits the net. The Serb gets back on break point but it's saved with a fizzing ace. Djokovic's return goes and long and Federer holds.  That's the hardest he has had to work to hold today.

9:51: Djokovic holds and he retakes the lead; it is 2-1 in set five.

Federer pushes Djokovic all the way to deuce but Djokovic gets to advantage with an ace. He comes up with another good serve which Feder gets to this time but the return goes long. The Serb's body serves pulls him out of that hole!

9:42: Novak Djokovic holds serve in the first game of the fifth set.

A string of errors from Federer sees Djkovic take the game while losing just one point. The top seed has an excellent record when it comes to five-setters, by the way. He has lost just one five setter match at Wimbledon, and that was in 2006!

Five-set Men's singles finals at #Wimbledon in 21st century:

2001: Ivanisevic defeats Rafter (9-7 in fifth set)

2007 Federer defeats Nadal (6-2 in fifth set)

2008 Nadal defeats Federer (9-7 in fifth set)

2009 Federer defeats Roddick (16-14 in fifth set)

2014 Djokovic defeats Federer  (6-4 in fifth set)

STAT: Djokovic and Federer have played five sets three times at Grand Slams and Djokovic has won all of them. One was the 2014 Wimbledon final.

9:36: Roger Federer wins the fourth set 6-4 and the match is level! 7-6 (5), 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-4

He hits a drive volley deep into the open court and almost puts it out. Into the final set we go!

9:33pm: Djokovic holds quickly. Federer with another chance to serve for the set at 5-4. He's getting a snack and looks deep in thought.

9:28pm: Djokovic BREAKS! Still a break down and Federer leads 5-3 in the fourth set.

A first break point of the match for Novak Djokovic. And he brings it up in style, with a bakchand down the line. But it's saved after a 35-SHOT RALLY, Federer looking being patient until smacking a forehand down the line. Mirka smiles. Federer nets and it's advantage Djokovic and he wins it as the Swiss nets a backhand slice

9:23pm: Federer breaks again! He leads the fourth set 5-2 and will serve for the set.

What a return from Federer - on the backhand and down the line! It's 15-30 and he makes it 30-30 with a delicious volley at the net. Djokovic hits a forehand long and another break point for Federer. Djokovic goes long and it IS another break.

9:19pm: No issues holding as Federer consolidates the break to go 4-2 up in the fourth set as Djokovic pulls a forehand wide.

9:17pm: FEDERER BREAKS to lead 3-2 in the fourth set!

Fine margins bring up two break points in the fourth set for Federer as he challenges a Djokovic forehand that wasn't called out. He wins and then he BREAKS as Djokovic pulls a forehand wide. This is out of nowhere.

9:14pm: Federer holds but I can't remember when he last had to work hard to hold in this match. 2-2 in the fourth set.

A splendid backhand down the line from Djokovic takes the game to duece. Federer comes up to the net and finishes it off to get to advantage and wins it. Still no break point for Djokovic.

9:08pm: Djokovic holds to love and looks much better than he did at the start of the third set. It's 2-1 to Djokovic in the third set.

9:05pm: Federer goes 15-30 down as he wildly mishits a forehand but levels it a driving forehand volley. 'Attack, attack, attack' as he rushes to the net again and kills off a point with a backhand drop. Federer holds from there. 1-1 in the fourth set.

9:03pm: Djokovic holds the first game to 15. He's back to his normal and looks dominant again. Could be early to call. He wins it with an unforced error from Federer.

8:57pm: Novak Djokovic wins the third set to lead 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4).

Quite a comeback from the World number one, having looked to be chasing Federer for most of the set. He even saved a set point. That game that took the set into a tiebreak, where he came back from a point down, seems to have filled him with the confidence and focus that had oozed out after the second set.

8:56pm: Set point to Djokovic as Federer's backhand drop goes wide.

8:54pm: Federer gets three back, the third one with an ace. Djokovic still leads 5-4.

8:52pm: A first show of emotion from Djokovic. He breaks into a fist pump after a big crosscourt forehand to go 5-1 up.   

8:51pm: Federer starts with a good serve. He fails to get his first serve in next and nets a backhand. 4-1 to Djokovic. 

8:50pm: Federer's backhand goes wide and that's seven points in a row in tiebreaks for Djokovic. 3-0 to Djokovic.

8:50pm: Djokovic wins first point and the second, too, as Federer's return goes long. He's the one frustrated now. 2-0 to Djokovic.

8:48pm: Tiebreak in the third set!

A 26-shot rally and Federer wins it with a delightful backhand pass, wrongfooting Djokovic at the net. A crosscourt backhand winner, a serve on the line and a forehand winner takes him to 40-15. And Federer nets a backhand and another TIEBREAK!

8:43pm: Federer holds and leaves Djokovic serving to stay in the third set again. 6-5.

Djokovic looks frustrated by the Federer serves. I'm supposed to be returning those, he must the thinking.

8:41pm: Djokovic survives a close call, but holds. 5-5 in the third set.

Federer wins the first point but Djokovic gets back on level terms and then plays a forehand long to go 15-30 down. He brings it back as Federer hits the net on return. But Federer gets on SET POINT with a delicious half volley at the net. Djokovic saves that and has advantage with a good serve and then another. Federer nets a forehand and Djokovic has held. Not much celebration from the Serb.

8:34pm: Federer leads 5-4 in the third set.

Finally there's a glimpse of the 'greatest returner' as he wins the first point but Federer neutralises it with an ace. And suddenly it's 30-30 with another ace. Djokovic plays a bakchand long and Federer's serves still reign.

8:31pm: Djokovic's serves are getting better. He is close to holding to love but botches a forehand and it's 40-15, but a Federer forehand hits the net and he levels the set 4-4.

8:29pm: Federer takes that one, too. With his 10th ace in the match, he leads 4-3 in the third set.

Haven't seen the Novak 'greatest returner' Djokovic so far. The Serb is yet to get to break point.

8:27pm: Djokovic seems to be coming back into the contest. He holds to 15 as Federer mishits a forehand and it's 3-3 in the third set.

8:22pm: Federer holds to 15. 3-2 in the third set.

The Swiss wins a point with a classic serve and charge, finishing off the point with an overhead smash. He has dominated at the net.

8:18pm: Djokovic holds. 2-2 in the third set.

Federer hits a backhand into the net and then another one goes wide. Djokovic then double faults. It's 30-15. Djokovic wins the longest rally of the match so far as Federer's outstretched backhand goes long. Djokovic rushes to the net and seals it with a forehand winner.

8:16pm: Federer holds to love with some great serving. Trying to go up to the net most of the time, Federer is clearly the aggressor here. The winning point in this game comes from an overhead smash at the net.

8:13pm: Djokovic has begun well (considering the second set) . He holds and it's 1-1. Federer rushes to the net with Djokovic 40-15 up. Djokovic hits the net as he tries to play a passing shot and there's danger of another break point. But he does enough to hold.

8:10pm: An ace down the line and Federer starts the third set with a hold. 1-0.

He begins with a forehand past a wrongfooted Djokovic and then surges ahead with two great serves. That shirt change hasn't started helping Djokovic yet.

8:04pm: Roger Federer breaks Novak Djokovic and wins the second set 6-1.

A beautiful backhand drop shot takes Federer 0-30 up and then Djokovic double faults. Yep, he's conserving energy and getting his mind and body ready for a comeback. He's gone in for a change of shirt as well. Long break after the set.

8:01pm: Federer holds and leads the second set 5-1. Now Djokovic serves to stay in the set.

Djokovic gets a 15-30 lead with a thundering forehand down the line but Federer closes out the game with an ace.

STAT: Novak Djokovic has lost five times after winning the first set at Grand Slams. Federer's compatriot Stan Wawrinka has been responsible for it three of those times. Some good omens for the eight-time champion here.

7:57pm: At least he won't be bageled now. Federer sends a forehand wide and Djokovic holds for the first time in the second set. Federer leads 4-1.

 

7:53pm: Federer holds but with some delay after two unforced errors. First a forehand goes long and then a double fault. But he leads 4-0 in the second set.

Won't take much away from the conspiracy theory. Djokovic's intensity has dropped and it doesn't look like he's trying hard enough.

7:48pm: Federer breaks again! 3-0. Three huge break points for Federer as Djokovic volleys into the net. It's not going great for the world number one. He saves one but a forehand winner seals it for Federer. 

There are suggestions in the office that Djokovic might just give up this set to conserve energy for the comeback, now that he made a mistake in the first game. Kind of like what Federer supposedly did against Nadal in the semifinal. But that's rubbish. That's very unlike Djokovic and he's the younger of the two. This guy loves pressure. But you never know with these conspiracy theories.

7:47pm: Game Federer and he's 2-0 up in the second set.

7:42pm: No wasting time here. Federer breaks in the first game of the second set. 1-0.

A big forehand and it's two break points as Djokovic slips at the baseline. Djokovic plays a forehand wide and break!

STAT: This is their third straight Wimbledon meeting where the opening set has been won in a tiebreak. Federer won the first one 7-6 (7), Djokovic the second 7-6 (1). Both of these meetings were finals - 2014 and 2015, respectively. Djokovic went on to win both.  Federer has never beaten Djokovic from a set down at Grand Slams

7:39pm: Djokovic wins the first set 7-6 (5). We don't need to emphasise how important it is to win the first set in such games, unless we have a classic lined up.

7:38pm: Hot and cold from Federer. He sends two backhands long and it's level at 5-5. Then nets a forehand. 6-5 to Djokovic. Federer serves to stay in it.

7:36pm: Lovely from Federer. Djokovic plays a forehand and starts charging to the net, but Federer finishes it off with a forehand winner down the line, kissing the line! 5-3 to Federer.

Yesterday's women's singles final was done by now. We're still in the first set here.

7:34pm: Clubs the backhand down the line and it's 3-3 in the tiebreak.

7:33pm: A Federer backhand goes long. He serves an ace next. Djokovic still leads, 3-2.

7:32pm: It was all set up for a simple passing shot 9/10 times. And this is Federer we're taking about. But he botches it. 2-1 to Djokovic.

7:31pm: Incredible defense from Djokovic, eventually leading Federer to mishit a forehand. 1-1

7:30pm: Federer starts off with an ace. 1-0 to the Swiss.

7:29pm: Djokovic quickly holds to love and we're into a TIEBREAK!

7:27pm: Federer tries to set up another winner with a forehand slice. Djokovic is alert to it this time, takes his time and goes 15-30 with a forehand pass. Federer's back on top with an inch perfect backhand deep into the left corner and a classic one two punch. A double fault brings up deuce. Another forehand down the line - he's perfectly finding the lines - and he holds from there. This is quality stuff! 6-5.

7:23pm: Djokovic can't get to a delicious forehand slice from Federer. You can't expect anyone to get where it landed. The Serb is suddenly 0-30 down. But with two brilliant serves, he brings it back and goes 40-30 up. And then a double fault for deuce. He's serving to stay in the set. That's the kind of pressure Djokovic thrives under. He does exactly that and holds. 5-5.

7:15pm: It's serves again for the eight-time Wimbledon champion. But when Djokovic is dangerous when he gets going with his returning. He gives us a glimpse, taking it to 40-30 but Federer holds with an ace.

7:12pm: Nothing to separate the two still. It's 4-4 in the first set. Federer chips a return and charges to the net to finish off the volley. 15-15. But the Serb holds from there.

7:08pm: Quality from Federer and they're up on their feet. He holds to make it 4-3 in the first set. He plays a backhand slice and makes his way to the net, and shuts up Djokovic's attempted pass with a beautiful volley. Serves did the 30-0 part.

7:05pm: Djokovic has no trouble holding this one. The first point is cruel for Federer. He does well to bring the Serb to the net but goes long on the backhand pass. The rest is simple.

7:01pm: It's getting tougher for both. Federer has to fight back from 0-30 down to hold. Djokovic seems to have woken up after saving break point last game. The serves save the Swiss, again.  3-2

6:56pm: Djokovic fights a break point to hold. 2-2 in the first set. A wonderful forehand down the line sends Djokovic the wrong way and Federer fights back to deuce. After two more deuces, Federer brings up the first break point of the match as Djokovic plays a backhand wide. That's saved. Federers sends a forehand long.

6:48pm: Federer holds serve to go 2-1 up in the first set. He isn't exactly dominating though. Djokovic won the first point. Federer speeds through the next three points and Djokovic's drop shot hits the net.

6:44pm: Djokovic holds to love. 1-1.

Federer's struggling a bit with getting his shots over the net. A bunch of unassailable serves should help.

6:42pm: Game Federer! The 20-time Grand Slam champion is up and running with a clinical service game.

N. Sudarshan in his match preview had said, "As much as Federer is the master of tennis’ first-act, the serve, Djokovic is of the second, the return. No one has neutralised the 20-time Major winner’s precisely directed weaponry as well as the Serb, even on grass." So we're in for quite a contest.

6:41pm: And we're underway! Roger Federer serves and he starts with an ace!

6:39pm: Here's a staggering stat: At least one of Djokovic and Federer has reached the final in all but two editions of Wimbledon Championships since 2003. The two years were 2010 and 2016.

6:36pm: Omar from The Prince's Trust, a charity in the United Kingdom that helps vulnerable young people get their lives on track, tossed the coin. What a moment for the boy! He poses for a picture with both Federer and Djokovic keeping a hand on either of his shoudlers, but Omar keeps his hands behind his back. Quite a gentleman, already.

6:34pm: They're out on the court! And it's time for toss. That coin used for the toss has been on quite a journey.

Why though?

 

6:27pm: It's almost time. Federer and Djokovic, who have combined to win 12 Wimbledon titles over the past 16 years, meet in the final at the All England Club for the fourth time.

Federer has a score to settle.

 

Federer vs Djokovic Head to head

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have met 47 times. Djokovic has the upper hand with 25 wins to Federer's 22. They've met only thrice in the last four years and the Serb won all of them. Their most recent meeting was the Paris Masters last year where Djokovic won 7-6 (6), 5-7, 7-6 (3).

Out of the 15 times they've met at Grand Slams, Djokovic has won 9. They've played each other three times at the Wimbledon. Federer beat Djokovic in the semifinals in 2012. But Djokovic won the 2014 and 2015 finals.

* Djokovic and Federer's past major showpieces

The rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer continues on Sunday as the defending Wimbledon champion takes on the eight-time All England Club winner in the 2019 final.

A 48th career meeting will represent the 16th grand-slam clash between the modern-day greats, with this the fifth to decide a major title.

Of the four previous grand slam finals between the pair, two have come at Wimbledon and Djokovic has won them both.

As Federer seeks revenge in SW19, potentially setting up another classic, we take a look at those four past mammoth matches.

— 2007 US Open: Dominant Federer downs new rival

Djokovic's first major final appearance was incredibly Federer's 10th in a row - and that experience ultimately told for the Swiss star. Djokovic, then just 20, led by a break in all three sets but could not get the job done, squandering set points in the first two before tiring. A fourth consecutive Flushing Meadows success was Federer's reward for a 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 victory.

"I think straight sets was a bit brutal for Novak, to be honest," Federer said. "He deserved better than that. He's had a fantastic run, not only this tournament but the entire year. I told him at the net 'keep it up'. We're going to have many more battles I think." He was not wrong.

— 2014 Wimbledon: Djokovic edges Wimbledon epic

If Sunday's clash is anything like this one, we are in for a treat. Djokovic got his first major final win over Federer in thrilling fashion at the All England Club, triumphing 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-4 despite letting championship point slip in the fourth and facing break points in the decider. It ended a run of three consecutive grand slam final reverses for Djokovic.

Boris Becker, Djokovic's coach, explained: "We were all dying out there, keeping it cool from the outside, but burning up inside. He had that match point, he served for the fourth set, but Roger wouldn't be Roger if he wouldn't always find another shot."

Novak Djokovic got his first major final win over Roger Federer in thrilling fashion at Wimbledon in 2014, triumphing 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-4.   -  Getty Images

 

— 2015 Wimbledon: Novak denies veteran Federer again

Federer had been bidding to claim a record eighth Wimbledon title and become the tournament's oldest champion in 2014. He had another chance 12 months later but again found Djokovic in his path. It had appeared as though the Swiss would at least push the defending champion all the way when he won the second set tie-break 12-10, yet Djokovic proved too strong in the third and fourth.

Federer would eventually get his historic success in 2017, reflecting after that win: "I had some tough ones, losing to Novak. I kept on believing and dreaming and here I am today with the eighth."

— 2015 US Open: More pain for Roger in New York

Although Federer did go on to get that precious eighth Wimbledon win, he had to endure another major loss to Djokovic first in the immediate aftermath of the 2015 All England Club defeat. The second part of an ultimate 'Novak Slam' came at Flushing Meadows, where the start was delayed by three hours due to rain but Djokovic kept his nerve in another epic, saving 19 of 23 break points.

Djokovic beat Federer again in the last four at the Australian Open en route to another title, but the two have not met at a grand slam since. Revenge might well be on the mind this weekend.

* MATCH PREVIEW: Djokovic out to establish hegemony against familiar rival Federer

Among tennis’ Big Three, no rivalry works as well as the one between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. In terms of numbers as well as styles, it has been the most competitive of match-ups. So much so that each has beaten the other at all the four slams. Sunday’s Wimbledon final will be their 48th meeting with Djokovic leading 25-22.

“It’s the same like going into a Rafa [Nadal] match,” Federer said. “I think the moment you've played somebody probably more than 15 times, especially in recent years, there's not that much more left out there. It very much comes down to who's better on the day, who's in a better mental place and who's got more energy.”

“I don't think there's much to do in terms of practice. This is like a school: the day of the test you're not going to read, how many [ever] books. It's quite clear the work was done way before. That’s why I was able to produce a good result [against Nadal]. It's been a rock-solid year for me. Stars are aligned right now. From that standpoint, I can go into the match very confident.”

Among tennis’ Big Three, no rivalry works as well as the one between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.   -  getty images

 

— Constant pressure —

The pace and the rhythm at which Federer plays has never been to Djokovic’s liking. On the above medium-pace surfaces, the Swiss can hustle opponents like no other, something Nadal found out on Friday. On current form, Federer looks closer to his 2012 version that produced the master-class against Djokovic in the semifinal than the one that lost two finals in 2014 and 2015.

“I’ve played Roger in some epic finals here, so I know what to expect,” Djokovic said. “This surface complements his game very much. He loves to play very fast. Takes away the time and rushes you into everything. For players like Nadal or myself who like to have a little more time, it's constant pressure.”

— Fighting back —

But as much as Federer is the master of tennis’ first-act, the serve, Djokovic is of the second, the return. No one has neutralised the 20-time Major winner’s precisely directed weaponry as well as the Serb, even on grass.

The 32-year-old may not be the invincible self he was in 2014-15, but such are his powers of recovery that he has won three of the last four slams and made the semifinal of the other.

From being outside the top-20 this time last year, he is now the undisputed king. A successful defense of his crown will firmly establish his hegemony.

 

* It’ll either be Wimbledon championship No. 9 for Roger Federer or No. 5 for Novak Djokovic when they meet in the final. Federer, who is 37, is going for his 21st Grand Slam trophy overall on Sunday, while the 32-year-old Djokovic is playing for his 16th.

This is also their 16th showdown at a major tournament — the most between any two men in the professional era — and Djokovic leads that count 9-6 so far.

 

* Sunday’s Wimbledon final will be Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic's 48th meeting with the latter leading 25-22. Both of them have met twice (2014 and 2015) in the same stage at Wimbledon, with the Serb winning both times.