Image: imago images / PanoramiC
“That would mean everything to me,” said the world number one, who only made the first set in his six matches in the final. Not only because of his experience, he is the big favorite against the first individual finalist from Italy in Wimbledon, the 25-year-old Matteo Berrettini.
As always when one of the “Big three” is in a Grand Slam final, history can be written. Because Djokovic could not only draw level with Nadal and Federer. He has bigger plans this year: If he wins on the “holy lawn”, it would be his sixth triumph at Wimbledon, then he could be the first player since Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) to achieve the “real” Grand Slam. Namely, to win all four majors in the same calendar year. He also wants to win individual gold at the Olympics: the “Golden Slam” (the Grand Slam with Olympic gold) – so far only the German Steffi Graf has achieved that in 1988. Graf ended her career with 22 major titles, Serena Williams still holds 23, and Margaret Court holds the all-time record at 24. In the current form and as the youngest of the “Big three” at 34 years of age, these numbers are by no means utopian for Djokovic.
From the point of view of the five-time Wimbledon winner, the sympathies on Sunday could belong to the outsider Berrettini. “But hopefully people can recognize the importance of this match for me. History is at stake,” said Djokovic. Djokovic has won the two previous battles with the world number nine: At the ATP Finals in London 2019, he only gave up three games and a few weeks ago in the quarter-finals of Roland Garros, the Serb had a 6: 3.6: 2.6: 7 (5), 7: 5 more trouble. “It will be a great battle. Anything can happen in the final. Berrettini has won many matches on grass, he serves well and plays well,” believes Djokovic.
“Buy a good TV set”
Even if the Serb is the big favorite, he will do the devil and underestimate Berrettini in his first major final. He is the first Italian finalist in a Grand Slam tournament since Adriana Panatta, who won the French Open in 1976. “He was probably the biggest name that believed in me when I was a child,” said Berrettini, describing how he sometimes came into contact with Panatta.
Tennis is in his genes, the whole family up to his grandparents plays it. “It means everything to me,” said Berrettini about the fact that his parents, brother and one of his best friends cheer him on on Center Court.
And now it comes to the historic sports Sunday for Italy in London: At 3:00 p.m. CEST Berrettini meets the “Djoker”, six hours later the “Squadra Azzurra” hosts England try the home party in the European Football Championship final at Wembley Stadium spoil. Wimbledon and Wembley – the sport-crazy Italians are over the moon. “Buy a good TV set if you don't have one yet, because it will be a very special Sunday for all of us,” said Berrettini, who had proven his lawn strength in advance with the title at the Queen's Club in London.
While Berrettini is in his first major final against Djokovic in his 30th (!) Clear outsider, the starting position for the soccer final is much closer. “We didn't qualify for the 2018 World Cup. But the job they have done since then, how hard they have worked – they really deserved this final,” said Berrettini of Roberto Mancini's squad.
But although Berrettini is also gripped by football fever, he will concentrate fully on his goal of becoming the first Italian to triumph at Wimbledon.