What a showdown we’ll have to conclude the 2019 edition of the Wimbledon Championships, with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to duke it out for tennis’ holy grail in tonight’s gentlemen’s singles final.
Leading up to the tournament, there was some conjecture over the decision to reverse the seedings of Federer (ranked world number three) with Rafael Nadal, with tournament organizers citing the former’s grass court record as the major decision.
The same happened in 2005 when Andy Roddick (then ranked third in the world) was seeded ahead of Lleyton Hewitt, which meant that the world’s top two players at the time (Federer and Hewitt) met each other in the semi-finals that year.
In the end, we have the top two seeds battling it out for the title, and the stakes couldn’t be any higher for either Djokovic or Federer, who will face off for the 48th time, and fourth in a Wimbledon final.
Both players arrived at the All England Club having lost in the semi-finals of the French Open, Djokovic going down in five sets to Dominic Thiem and Federer copping a beatdown from the king of clay, Rafael Nadal.
However, both have been quick to bounce back on the grass courts, where either a 15th Major title awaits for Djokovic, or for Federer the chance to further extend his lead at the top of the all-time men’s Grand Slam leaderboard.
Djokovic, the defending champion, was slow to start his title defence, being broken in the very first game of his match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber in the opening round, before bouncing back to record a straight-sets win.
He also dropped a set in his third round match against unknown Pole Hubert Hurkacz, but nonetheless reached the semi-finals once again where he defeated Roberto Bautista-Agut, who was appearing in a Major semi-final for the first time.
Federer, on the other hand, also had a slow start to his Wimbledon campaign, dropping the first set of his match against Lloyd Harris before claiming a four-set win.
In five of six subsequent matches, he either lost a set and/or was taken to a tiebreak, but his experience on the surface helped to get him to a 12th Wimbledon final, where he has the chance to extend his legacy at SW19 with an eighth title and third this decade.
After being heavily beaten by Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros last month, the Swiss Maestro got his revenge in the semi-final, winning in four sets in the 40th clash between the two tennis titans, but the first at Wimbledon since that epic 2008 finale, which was won by the Spaniard.
Now, he will get the chance to settle a bit of a score against Djokovic at Wimbledon, having lost two of his three finals at the All England Club against the Serb, who will be shooting for a fifth title here and 15th Major title overall.
The rivalry between Djokovic and Federer is mostly even, with Djokovic leading overall in head-to-head but with Federer having actually won three more sets. Thus, do not be surprised if we are treated to another epic to conclude the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.
Here is your all-important guide to the 2019 Wimbledon gentlemen singles final.
 Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs  Roger Federer (SUI)
Sunday, July 14
Not before 2:00pm (local time) (11:00pm AEST)
All matches: Djokovic 25-22.
All sets won: Federer 70-67.
At the Grand Slams: Djokovic 9-6.
At Wimbledon: Djokovic 2-1.
In Grand Slam finals: Djokovic 3-1.
In all finals: Djokovic 12-6.
Novak Djokovic’s road to the final
Round 1: defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.
Round 2: defeated Denis Kudla (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Round 3: defeated Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-4.
Round 4: defeated Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
Quarter-final: defeated  David Goffin (BEL) 6-4, 6-0, 6-2.
Semi-final: defeated  Roberto Bautista-Agut (ESP) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Roger Federer’s road to the final
Round 1: defeated Lloyd Harris (RSA) 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
Round 2: defeated Jay Clarke (GBR) 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2.
Round 3: defeated  Lucas Pouille (FRA) 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
Round 4: defeated  Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
Quarter-final: defeated  Kei Nishikori (JPN) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
Semi-final: defeated  Rafael Nadal (ESP) 7-6 (7-3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
(AAP Image/Tony McDonough)
The stats that matter
This is Novak Djokovic’s 25th Grand Slam final and sixth at Wimbledon. He is aiming for his 15th Grand Slam title and fifth at Wimbledon.
This is Roger Federer’s 31st Grand Slam final and 12th at Wimbledon. He is aiming for his 21st Grand Slam title and a record-extending ninth at Wimbledon.
This will be the 48th meeting overall between the two players since they first met in the first round of the 2006 Monte Carlo Masters. This will be their sixteenth meeting at a Major (meaning 33.33 per cent of their overall matches will have been played at this level). Djokovic leads both categories 25-22 and 9-6 respectively.
This will be their third meeting in a final at Wimbledon, matching the number of times Federer met Andy Roddick (2004, 2005 and 2009) and Rafael Nadal (2006-08) in the final at the All England Club. This will be their fourth meeting at Wimbledon overall, also matching the times Federer met Roddick (2003 semi-final) and Nadal (2019 semi-final) at the tournament.
Federer’s win over Nadal was the first time he’d beaten his Spanish nemesis in a Grand Slam match that was not a final (previously, Nadal led this category 4-0, with two wins at each of the Australian and French Opens).
Djokovic has won their last four meetings overall, the most recent at last year’s Paris Masters in a match that lasted just over three hours. Their last meeting in a Major was in the semi-finals of the 2016 Australian Open, also won by Djokovic.
Federer’s last win over Djokovic anywhere was in the round robin stage of the 2015 ATP Finals, and his last win against him at a Major was in the semi-final of Wimbledon 2012, their first meeting on grass.
This will be their first meeting in a Major final since the 2015 US Open, and first in any final since last year’s Cincinnati Masters. Djokovic won on both occasions.
Novak Djokovic in five sets.