Wimbledon is approaching a familiar ending on July 6. Once again, Roger Federer is in a Wimbledon final, and so is Novak Djokovic as well. Yet it looked for a while like Federer wouldn't get to this stage at any Grand Slam again, which may make this morning particularly historic whether he wins or lose -- but especially if he wins.
Djokokic can get back to the world's No. 1 ranking if he wins his second Wimbledon title today. However, he will not be the crowd favorite at Centre Court, especially with Federer fighting to earn his record-setting eighth title. Once upon a time, he would have been easily favored to do so, yet things have been tougher for the former No. 1 lately.
Age and the rise of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have kept Federer from winning the last several Grand Slams, and raised the possibility that he would be forever stuck at 17 overall. But in this Wimbledon draw, the old Federer has reemerged to lose only one set in six matches -- and has been fortunate that both Nadal and Murray were knocked out early.
Djokovic is the only other player left from men's tennis's "Big Four" and will obviously be the toughest opponent Federer has faced in this draw. Will the tougher competition prove too much for him, or will Federer still rise for what may be one last surge of glory?
Federer has been 7-1 in Wimbledon finals, with the only loss coming in his legendary marathon with Nadal in 2008 -- six years ago today. That defeat was the first sign there would be a changing of the guard in men's tennis, with Djokovic and Murray further establishing a new order in the years ahead.
Federer has clung to membership in the Big Four in the recent past, yet an eighth Wimbledon championship would be a major exclamation point to his career. On the other end, Djokovic also needs a boost after losing three straight Grand Slam finals. He was on the wrong side of history when Murray finally won Wimbledon for Grand Britain in the 2013 final, and now he may be a footnote to Federer's latest historical achievement if he isn't careful.
Djokovic and Federer will serve for Wimbledon history at 9 a.m. est on ESPN.