Djokovic: Grass courts suit Federer’s style
Originally published on: 04/07/12 00:00
The 25-year-old Serb and the 16-time Grand Slam champion have met 26 times in all, but only ever on hard or clay courts and, expecting a real battle, Djokovic says the six-time Wimbledon champion is at his most effective on the surface.
“I think the grass courts are suiting his style of game the most, so it’s going to be an interesting match,” said the world No.1 after reaching his third semi-final at the All England Club with victory over Florian Mayer.
“But I’ve improved playing on grass in the last couple of years. I mean, I won the title here last year, got to another semi-final this year, so I'm feeling good about this surface, about myself on the court.”
Federer, who coasted past Mikhail Youzhny in the last four for the loss of just five games, played down any suggestion he might hold an advantage in their upcoming bout as a result of his pedigree on the grass. “Things are not that drastic of a change anymore from clay, hard court, indoor, to grass,” conceded the Swiss. “But it is interesting that this is our first grass court match. I'm looking forward to it.
“Obviously I'm aware that Novak is the defending champion and the world No. 1. That's not going to make it easy to come through. I know I'm playing really well [but] I am aware things are going to get complicated in the next match.”
Should Federer find a solution to those complications, beat the Serb, and go onto win his 17th Grand Slam title, he would reclaim the world No.1 ranking and subsequently match seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras’ record of 286 weeks at the top of the ladder.
But the world No.3 has lost his last three matches against Djokovic – at Roland Garros, Rome and in the semi-finals of the US Open last September, when he let slip two match points.
“Most of our matches that we play against each other are very close,” added Djokovic. “Very few points decide the winner. I won two years in a row against him with match points down, so I can't really say I've been winning comfortably those matches. That's what I expect in the next one, as well.”
Djokovic last fell to Federer at the 2011 French Open, when the Swiss brought an end to his phenomenal 43-match winning streak in the semi-finals.