With one more victory at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic can reduce Rafael Nadal’s lead to 22-21 in terms of career major titles.
The sole obstacle in his path is the unpredictable Nick Kyrgios, who has defeated Djokovic twice, both on hard courts, and both five years ago.
When he takes on Kyrgios in the Sunday championship match, Djokovic will be vying for his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title, which would put him in exclusive company with Bjorn Borg, and Pete Sampras, and Roger Federer. He will also be going for his seventh overall and his 21st major singles title.
Djokovic defeated British player Cam Norrie in four sets, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, to reach his 32nd Grand Slam final. Kyrgios received a walkover into the championship match after Nadal withdrew from their semifinal due to an abdominal injury. It was the first walkover in a semifinal at Wimbledon.
The possibility that this will be Djokovic’s final major match for some time, potentially until the 2023 French Open, complicates matters.
Due to his lack of a Covid-19 vaccination and inability to enter the country as a foreign visitor, the 35-year-old Serb anticipates missing the U.S. Open later this summer. He also faces a three-year ban from the Australian Open after being deported before the tournament in January, though that ban may be lifted early.
Because of this, the Wimbledon championship is even more significant in light of his legendary rivalry with Nadal and Federer.
Djokovic has been open about wanting to come in the first place all-time.
Before withdrawing from the 2022 majors, Nadal had won the first two legs of the Grand Slam and was 19-0 overall. He aimed to become the first man to win the calendar Slam since Rod Laver in 1969. Before falling to Daniil Medvedev in the U.S. Open final last year, Djokovic was just one victory away from achieving the illustrious feat.
Both of Djokovic’s encounters with Kyrgios ended in defeat, however, those games took place in 2017 and neither was a major. Even so, he will be the favorite to beat Kyrgios, who, despite his persistent unpredictable behavior, is playing the greatest tennis of his career at the age of 27.
Off the court, Kyrgios is being prosecuted for violence after an incident with his ex-girlfriend in December of last year. He has a court hearing in Australia on August 2.
Everyone will be watching Kyrgios to see if he modifies his behavior for the Wimbledon final. In his third-round upset victory over No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, Kyrgios regularly used foul language, disparaged the umpire, and even demanded at one point that Tsitsipas be stripped of his title when the Greek smacked a ball towards spectators in the stands.