Novak Djokovic will seek his seventh Wimbledon title this Sunday (09:00), and the fourth consecutive since 2018, in a potentially explosive final where he will have to overcome the dangerous and unpredictable game of the controversial Nick Kyrgios.
“One thing is for sure, there are going to be emotional fireworks,” said the Serb as he reached his 32nd Grand Slam final and eighth Wimbledon final. Of the previous ones, he only lost in 2013, against the Scotsman Andy Murray, supported by the British public.
The grass-court Major was not held in 2020 due to the pandemic, and Djokovic has not lost at the All England Club in London since reaching the quarter-finals of the 2017 edition.
Adding four consecutive Wimbledon, the Serbian champion seeks to enter the exclusive club formed by Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. And obtain, incidentally, his 21st Grand Slam title, chasing Rafael Nadal who after winning the Australian Open this year and his 14th Roland Garros already has 22 major trophies.
This will also be the last major tournament of the year for Djokovic, since without being vaccinated against covid-19 he will not be able to travel to the United States to play the US Open.
But to win him over, he must put out the fire of the controversial Aussie, great with a racket and often irritating with his behaviour.
Djokovic and Kyrgios have only met twice, in the quarterfinals of the ATP 500 in Acapulco in 2017 and three weeks later in the round of 16 of the Indian Wells Masters. In both the Australian won in rocky matches.
“I have never won a set from him before. I hope this time is different. I am going to play another final at Wimbledon, I hope that the experience works in my favor”, the Serb wished on Friday.
– Kyrgios, controversies and great game –
Kyrgios, the 40th tennis player in the world, will play the first Grand Slam final of his career, which he reached directly when Nadal announced on Thursday that he was retiring due to an abdominal injury.
The 27-year-old Australian arrives thus more rested but with less practice.
In recent days, he admitted that the excitement was preventing him from sleeping well and that he planned to do a hard training before the final to make up for not having played in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, on Saturday he posted a message on social media recalling his journey, from an overweight boy playing on run-down municipal tennis courts in Canberra.
“I think it’s a strong message for any guy who doubts himself. They just have to keep going. Look at that photo, I literally look like Manny from ‘Modern Family,’” he wrote, referring to the American television series.
Kyrgios has been a subscriber to controversy for years.
In addition to refusing to have a coach and not participating in many of the tournaments, he has given much to talk about his behavior on the courts.
In the third round of Wimbledon, he starred in a very tense match against the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, who lost his temper due to his “circus” and ended up throwing a ball in the direction of the public and another off the wall.
Tsitsipas called him a “bully” with “an evil side”, but the Australian has since shown a more measured attitude.
But in the midst of all this, he has managed to show a very solid game.
Former champion John McEnroe, a controversial player in his youth and now a commentator, declared himself delighted with Kyrgios’s spectacle.
“He’s being professional, I love it. He is one of the smartest people I have ever seen, on and off the pitch,” the American told the BBC.
But if he wins on Sunday, Kyrgios will be one of Wimbledon’s most controversial champions.