After what will be remembered as a wild Wimbledon, it comes down to the No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic and the No. 2 seed Andy Murray fighting for the men’s title Sunday. SI.com’s writers give their predictions for the match.
S.L. Price: Like everyone, I’m tempted to gather up Djokovic’s nervousness against Juan Martin del Potro in Friday’s semifinal, his frayed-up psyche at the end of last month’s semifinal to Rafael Nadal at the French Open in Paris and Murray’s superior form at the moment to go against my original pick.
But Djokovic’s astonishing resiliency — physical, mental, the whole package — earns him the edge. The marathon match in the semifinal against del Potro was exhausting, but he has time enough to recover and will be relaxed. All the pressure will be on Murray, of course. Djokovic has the chance to win his seventh Grand Slam title and second Wimbledon, and I figure he’ll have his signature, down-the-line backhand back in tune.
Prediction: Djokovic in five.
Jon Wertheim: When two teenagers — born within a week of each other — played a three-set match in Madrid in 2006, who would have predicted it would be the first installment in one of tennis’ greatest rivalries? Djokovic and Murray are now set to meet for the 19th time. (Yes, this super wacky Wimblegeddon ends with … the top two seeds playing in the final.) While Djokovic leads the head-to-heads 11-7, it’s worth nothing that the last (and only) time they played on Centre Court, the 2012 Olympics, Murray won. When Murray won last year’s U.S. Open, his first Grand Slam victory, who did he beat in the final? Djokovic. Then again, when Djokovic won the Australia Open six months ago, who did he beat in the final? Andy Murray.
Three factors: First, how well will Djokovic recover physically from his win over Juan Martin del Potro in the longest semifinal in Wimbledon history? Second, how will Murray deal with the considerable home-court advantage/worship, which can be as much a burden as a boon? Finally, can Murray serve as well as he did in the semifinals against Jerzy Janowicz? (He belted 20 aces, to Janowicz’s nine, and had only one double fault.) My heart says Murray, but I picked Djokovic before this event and I’ll stick by him.
Prediction: Djokovic in four clinically efficient sets.
Courtney Nguyen: Djokovic’s resilience continues to amaze and his ability to defend during this fortnight has been outstanding. But there were signs of nerves in his great semifinal win over Juan Martin del Potro. He racked up a surprising number of easy errors off both his forehand and backhand side. His backhand, so reliable through his career, looked tight and he’ll need that shot against Murray.
Murray has had his wobbles as well, but his ability to come back from two sets down against Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals and rally from 1-4 down in the third set against Jerzy Janowicz in the semifinals showed just how much he’s matured mentally from a year ago. If Murray has a good serving day like he did against Janowicz, I’m going with him. He’s got the home crowd and the mentality to do it. Plus, he knows he can beat Djokovic in a Grand Slam final, which he did at the U.S. Open, and on grass, which he did at the Olympics last year.
Prediction: Murray in five.