Novak Djokovic is into the Wimbledon final, seeking a fourth consecutive title at the event and a 21st career Grand Slam singles title to move within one of Rafael Nadal‘s male record.
Djokovic dispatched Brit Cameron Norrie 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in Friday’s semifinals, his 27th consecutive Wimbledon match win, to set a Sunday final with Australian Nick Kyrgios. Kyrgios advanced via walkover after Nadal withdrew due to an abdominal muscle tear.
“One thing is for sure — there is going to be a lot of fireworks, emotionally, from both of us,” Djokovic said. “He doesn’t have much to lose, and he’s always playing like that. He’s playing so freely.”
Though Djokovic won’t face a top-10 player at this tournament, he was challenged en route to the final. He dropped at least one set in four of his six matches, including the first two against Italian Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals.
He had a tight start against the ninth-seeded Norrie, who before this event had never made it to the second week of a major.
But he was at his best much of the rest of the way and goes into the final as a heavy favorite. Djokovic has one loss in a completed match at Wimbledon in the last nine years and is riding a 38-match win streak on Centre Court, according to the Tennis Podcast.
At least one of Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer have reached 18 of the last 19 Wimbledon finals. Djokovic broke his tie with Federer for the most Grand Slam men’s finals, now 32.
“I appreciate that,” Djokovic said when told of his major finals tally, “but job is not finished.”
Kyrgios, who never made a major semifinal before this tournament, is the first unseeded Wimbledon men’s finalist since countryman Mark Philippoussis in 2003.
Kyrgios owns a 2-0 head-to-head with Djokovic. Both wins came on hard courts in 2017 in best-of-three matches, when Djokovic was in a career lull.
“I’ve never been here before, so that’s where Djokovic has the advantage from the get-go,” Kyrgios said Friday, noting he got one hour of sleep the previous night because of nerves and anxiety already knowing he had a pass into the final. “He can draw from experience. He’s done it so many more times. He knows the emotions he’s going to be feeling. I don’t know that.”
More recently, Kyrgios said that he and Djokovic developed a bromance — though Djokovic said he might not slap that label on it quite yet. They direct message each other on Instagram.
Kyrgios supported Djokovic in January, when the Serb was detained in Australia and ultimately deported before the Australian Open for not qualifying for an exemption to enter the country without a COVID-19 vaccination.
“When it was really tough for me in Australia, he was one of the very few players that came out publicly and supported me and stood by me,” said Djokovic, who may be excluded from the next two majors — the U.S. Open and Australian Open — for not getting vaccinated. “That’s something I truly appreciate. So I respect him for that a lot.”
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