On Thursday in London Roger Federer jumped and roared under the lights of the O2. It’s not a roar too often heard all from the suave Swiss who usually level-headed. It wasn’t a roar borne out of a extremely dramatic win. It was an exhale of relief at finally releasing the stranglehold of Novak Djokovic with Federer’s first-strike tennis on point and meticulous serving. It was a rather one-sided victory one you wouldn’t typically expect to greet what was essentially a quarter-final match.
After the match Federer raised eyebrows by claiming he didn’t know that he hadn’t beaten Djokovic for four years but don’t be fooled, in his side the Serb has been, he perfectly raise awareness of how much of a thorn. It’s no coincidence that the toughest year of Djokovic’s career coincided with Federer’s best season in 2017 in the past seven years.
Deep in the fifth set on two championship points on serve it came to fruition most brutally. Another significant mental blow to Federer Djokovic went on to win the longest Wimbledon final in history, in what was becoming an ever more one-sided rivalry a fifth straight defeat.
Djokovic has simply had Federer’s number, remarkably just a year after he had held all four Grand Slam titles at once. A loss of form coupled with an elbow injury as Federer and Nadal shared the four majors between them pushed the Serb towards relative insignificance.
Earlier this year in their record-breaking Wimbledon final, Federer was the better player. How amazing it is for Roger Federer to gain a victory after four years being lost. If he had won in straight sets it wouldn’t have been an unfair result, not necessarily in terms of performance. As it was, Djokovic waiting for his opponent’s mental insecurities and hung in to lay themselves bare.