The 2013 Men’s Singles champion will be crowned on Centre Court of the All England Club on Sunday and it could be a momentous day for Britain’s Andy Murray.
The Scot lines up against familiar foe Novak Djokovic for the 19th time on Sunday afternoon in his second Wimbledon final, bidding to become the first men’s singles champion from Great Britain since the legendary Fred Perry.
Murray moved through to the final after landing a winner for this column in the semi-finals, when his clash against Jerzy Janowicz went past the total games mark. I was unfortunate in my other wager, when Djokovic failed to convert two match points for the 3-1 win over Juan Martin Del Potro that I had predicted.
The Del Potro/Djokovic clash - easily the match of the fortnight on the men’s side - lit up what has been a so-so men’s tournament. But don’t expect the five-set epic to have blunted the energies of the world number one, who starts as favourite at around the 1.55 mark.
For me, that price is too short on this particular surface. Novak is saying all the right things as usual, but he clearly isn’t anywhere near as comfortable on grass as his opponent. He really struggles with his footing, which is a key part of his game, especially in defence. We’ll see him try and slide into those defensive shots again and he’ll end up on the deck a few times as a consequence.
Although no player in the history of the game could have returned some of the missiles that came his way from Delpo on Friday, I still think that Nole is less effective defending out wide on grass. There’s not much in it but it’s enough for Murray to get on top in more of the exchanges than he would on hard or clay.
Djokovic’s down-the-line backhand and Murray’s attacking forehand will be the key shots in this one, with both strokes having gone AWOL at different times in this tournament. Whoever finds their range with more regularity will probably win this match.
Novak has had the edge in their personal series over the years, but not by much. If more than one of their meetings had taken place on grass I do feel that the head-to-head would be closer than the 11-7 score currently in the Serb’s favour.
Their sole meeting on grass came here at Wimbledon over three sets in the Olympics last year. Murray prevailed in straight sets that day and I give him the edge again in these conditions.
I rate Murray as the outright value in this one at 2.45, but it surely won’t be settled quickly. At least four sets and quite possibly five seems likely, which leads me to side with the over 40.5 total games at 1.75.
Back Murray to beat Djokovic at 2.45
Back over 40.5 games at 1.75