Wimbledon 2012: Novak Djokovic braced for Roger Federer ‘challenge’

Novak Djokovic believes Roger Federer is out to prove he still has what it takes to win Wimbledon ahead of their semi-final clash

novak djokovic
Novak Djokovic is the defending champion at SW19 Photo: Marianne Bevis

novak djokovic

Novak Djokovic believes Roger Federer is on a mission to prove he still has what it takes to win Wimbledon as the pair gear up for their first grass-court meeting in the semi-final at SW19.

Defending champion Djokovic breezed through to the last four with a 6-4 6-1 6-4 victory over Germany’s Florian Mayer on Court No1, while Federer wasted little time in dismantling Mikhail Youzhny, also in straight sets.

Six-time winner Federer has the chance to reclaim the world No1 ranking should he lift the Wimbledon trophy for a seventh time on Sunday – and Djokovic is braced for a serious test of his title credentials.

“It is a challenge when you play Roger and Rafa [Nadal] or any of the top players,” he said. “Roger has been on the top of the men’s game for so long. This is where he won six titles. He definitely wants to prove himself and to everybody else that he can win it once again.”

Federer just edges the pair’s head-to-head record – it reads 14-12 in his favour but the Serb has won six of their last seven previous meetings.

“We never played on grass, so we’ll see how that is going to turn out,” he said. “He has a really smart game for this surface.

“But I improved playing on grass in last couple of years. I won the title here last year, get to another semi-final this year, so I’m feeling good about this surface, about myself on the court.”

And Djokovic insists he will not be thinking about Federer’s decorated history at the All England club when he steps out onto Centre Court on Friday.

“He has won the most Grand Slams in history,” he added. “He’s rated probably as the best player in history. He has won everything that a tennis player can win and he’s coming back for more.

“He has a lot of respect from me, from all the players. There is no question about it. But we are all rivals, we are all opponents. I don’t think about his history or his success too much when I’m on the court. I just want to win that match.”

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