Roger Federer - Novak Djokovic: mental strength or slowdown of Wimbledon lawns?



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Roger Federer - Novak Djokovic: mental strength or slowdown of Wimbledon lawns?

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic demonstrate two styles and two completely different approaches on the grass-courts, but equally effective. This rivalry is writing the history of Wimbledon: in the last six editions of the Championships, from 2014 to today, Federer and Djokovic faced each other on three occasions.

The winner was always Nole: in 2014, 2015 and 2019. Nole also won in 2018 against Kevins Anderson, Federer in 2017 against Marin Cilic. Andy Murray was the only one who could fit into this duopoly, winning in 2016 against Milos Raonic.

Analyzing the three challenges between the Swiss and the Serb, many topics emerge on which to reflect. One, perhaps the most important is: what did Federer's defeats depend on? Many highlighted Djokovic's amazing mental strength.

In 2014 and 2015 Nole demonstrated her mental solidity in the most delicate moments of the matches, raising the level impressively, without giving Roger any chance, despite two great matches. This year the problem was perhaps the opposite: Federer, with two match-points on his service, was unable to have the mental strength necessary to beat his rival.

Is the Serb too strong mentally? There is a third thing to say, which in my opinion remains fundamental: the continuous (and boring) slowdown of the grass-courts of the All England Club. For years we have seen how the Wimbledon lawns are ruining too quickly.

The surface appears slower than in the early 2000s. This slowdown has inevitably favored the triumphs of Djokovic (and also of Rafael Nadal) on this surface. If the Championships lawns were still those of the early 2000s, I honestly don't think Djokovic had a chance of winning against Federer.

The slowdown of the surface favored the Serb's tennis, who won the tournament five times in his career. Then Djokovic's mental strength is undeniable: it became for Federer like a chronic virus, for which there is no cure.

The Serb would have won some Wimbledon editions anyway, but without this type of surface, perhaps less times than he won.