Thanks for visiting the Australian Open Website. We can see you’re using Internet Explorer, and wanted to let you know that we will no longer be supporting this browser in future. We’d recommend you download a new browser if you'd like to continue keeping up with all of the latest tennis news!

Djokovic: 20th major title “would mean everything”

  • Matt Trollope

For Novak Djokovic, two weeks of commanding tennis have come down to this.

He will appear in Sunday's Wimbledon final, one win away from a chance to equal Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 major titles. 

Djokovic has been transparent about the fact that he is chasing down his illustrious rivals with the aim of bettering some of their incredible records.

This quest provides potent motivation as he continues to thrive at age 34.

“It would mean everything,” Djokovic said of the Grand Slam milestone, after beating Denis Shapovalov in a tightly-contested semifinal on Friday. 

REPORT: Red-hot Djokovic & Berrettini to clash in Wimbledon final

“That's why I'm here. That's why I'm playing. I imagined myself being in a position to fight for another Grand Slam trophy prior to coming to London. 

“I put myself in a very good position.”

Standing in his way will be Matteo Berrettini, the powerful Italian who emerged triumphant from the first of the men’s semifinals on Friday.

Berrettini, the Queen’s champion a week prior to Wimbledon, carries an impressive 11-match winning streak into his first major final. 

But that streak is significantly overshadowed by several Djokovic has compiled.

The Serb extended his unbeaten run to 17 matches by beating Shapovalov, a result sending him through to a third straight major final after his Australian Open and Roland Garros triumphs earlier in 2021.

That means Djokovic has now won 20 consecutive Grand Slam matches, and also 20 straight on grass, given he is the two-time defending champion at the All England Club.

He is also unbeaten against Berrettini, winning the pair’s two previous meetings – including in four sets in the Roland Garros quarterfinals exactly one month ago.

Perhaps the one thing Berrettini will have in his favour will be the Centre Court crowd which, Djokovic acknowledged, often likes to get behind an underdog.

“But hopefully people can also recognise also the importance of this match for me, the history that is on the line,” Djokovic added.

Regardless of who the crowd supports, Djokovic finds himself in an incredible zone, brimming with confidence and routinely able to summon his best at the most important junctures of matches. 

He may well have won 18 consecutive sets at Wimbledon this year – another impressive streak – but there were times throughout his semifinal that Shapovalov came close to ending that run.

However, the young Canadian could not, and it bodes well for Djokovic in the final against an opponent similarly yinexperienced at this stage of a Grand Slam event.

“The more matches you play and the more times you're in these similar situations, the more confident or more comfortable you feel … where you're break-point down or playing in Grand Slam final stages against top rivals,” Djokovic explained.

“I think that experience definitely favours me every single time, knowing that I've been through everything that I could possibly go through as a tennis player. 

“I know my strengths. I know what I'm capable of. I rely on that.”

Berrettini: “I think I fully deserve to be here”

Berrettini’s inexperience could well be countered by the momentum he has created.

His 11-match winning streak is part of a rich vein of form dating back to his triumph at April’s ATP clay-court tournament in Belgrade; he has now won 25 of his last 28 matches.

The 25-year-old has also built an excellent 27-6 career record on grass in his short time on tour, winning 24 of his past 26 matches on the surface since the beginning of 2019.

Such form has infused the Italian with confidence as he approaches the biggest match of his burgeoning career.

“Obviously the job is not done yet. I want to get the trophy now that I'm here. But just it's really unbelievable feeling,” he said following his four-set win over Hubert Hurkacz on Friday.

“I'm just so, so happy for everything. My year started in a good way, with the finals in ATP Cup. Then I got injured again. I kind of saw those ghosts again of my body kind of struggling. Again, I came back stronger. I think I fully deserve to be here.

“I step in the court (against Hurkacz), I was feeling confident. I knew that I could win the match. I think I played my best match so far. So I'm really happy for my performance.

“I want to enjoy like I did today. It's going to be a great atmosphere. My first final in Wimbledon, it's just crazy to think about it.”