Nadal, Djokovic to meet in Wimbledon final
WIMBLEDON – Novak Djokovic secured the No. 1 ranking by reaching the Wimbledon final on Friday, and he will get a chance to beat the man he is replacing – defending champion Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic reached the championship match at the All England Club for the first time by defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-7 (9), 6-3 in a match filled with diving shots by both players on Centre Court.
A few hours later, ten-time major winner Nadal knocked out Andy Murray 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 to keep the British fans waiting for a homegrown champion at the grass-court Grand Slam.
“Always is tough, really difficult to play against Novak,” said Nadal, who has won 20 straight matches at Wimbledon. “He’s playing fantastic this year already. He only lost one match during all the season and I lost already four times this year against him.
“So will be really difficult for me, but I think I am playing well and I will try my best as always.”
Djokovic, who improved his record to 47-1 this year and is a two-time Australian Open champion, will replace Nadal as the top-ranked player on Monday. Reaching the final at the All England Club was a relief after losing twice at the same stage.
After Tsonga’s return on match point sailed out, Djokovic dropped to the ground and lay on his back. A few seconds later, he knelt down and kissed the grass.
“When I finished the match I didn’t know how to show my emotions,” said Djokovic, who also beat Tsonga in the 2008 Australian Open final. “This is one of those moments where you can’t describe it with the words. You remember all your career, all your childhood, everything you worked for that comes true now.”
Djokovic started the season by winning 41 straight matches, but he lost to Roger Federer in the French Open semifinals. Since then, he is 6-0, with all those victories coming at the All England Club.
“I’ve been working all my life for this,” Djokovic said. “I’ve been dreaming about playing the finals of Wimbledon since I started playing tennis when I was 4. To be able to be there on Sunday will probably be the best feeling.” (AP)