When Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini battle for the Wimbledon crown on Sunday, July 11 (PH time), they will be chasing history on separate levels.
Not surprisingly, Djokovic, 34, is hungrier than Berrettini, who turned 25 on April 12.
A Wimbledon win for Djokovic would move him one major away from scoring another Grand Slam.
The year’s fourth and final major is the US Open from Aug. 30 to Sept. 12 at Flushing Meadows in New York.
Already, Djokovic is halfway through his Slam journey, having won the Australian Open in February and the French Open in June.
Djokovic’s hunt for history hinges on a Wimbledon victory. And it is a three-pronged approach.
First, a win ties the Serbian for the most number of Slams won with Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal at 20 each.
Second, Djokovic beating Berrettini would give him a shot—through the US Open—at capturing a second Grand Slam. And, achieving that would make him only the third man to do it twice after Australians Roy Emerson and Rod Laver.
Third, Djokovic pockets a massive bonus if he also wins the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics set from July 23 to Aug. 8.
The winner of all four majors in a calendar year and the Olympics gold is called the Golden Slam champion.
Steffi Graf of Germany is history’s only Golden Slam winner. She won all four majors in 1988, and the Seoul Olympics gold that year by beating Argentina’s Gabriela Sabatini 6-3, 6-3 in the final.
Djokovic is definitely closing in on the Golden Slam as he plays his 31st Finals major—one short of Federer’s record 32.
And the man out to frustrate him is an Italian seeing his first Wimbledon final—a first in Italy’s history.
Can Berrettini topple a five-time Wimbledon champion?
Only a fool would say the upset axe would fall on Djokovic, who won the last two Wimbledons—the last one against Federer in 2019 before the pandemic scrapped the 2020 edition.
Djokovic has always been the hardest to beat, especially when all the marbles are at stake.
He always seems to have the answer to almost every shot, including the most difficult ones.
In his last major win, he erased a two-set deficit to beat Greece’s Stefano Tsitsipas 6-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 and win the French Open, incredibly holding his serve in the entirety of the final three sets.
The Italian dreamer will be lucky to win one set.