Daring Djokovic is Wimbledon favourite, can Anderson deny him a fourth crown?
Few would have believed Novak Djokovic would be the overwhelming Wimbledon favourite come Sunday, July 15.
However, with just Kevin Anderson standing in his way, the Serb is expected to walk away with a fourth title at the All England Club.
Djokovic played down his Wimbledon chances pre-tournament, but a run to the Queen’s final said otherwise.
Swift victories over Tennys Sandgren and Horacio Zeballos followed at SW19, while a third-round win against Britain’s Kyle Edmund confirmed that this Serbian meant business.
A three-set dismissal of Karen Khachanov and four-set win against Kei Nishikori came before what many viewed as the de facto final, with Djokovic ousting Rafael Nadal.
Novak beats Rafa in five-set epic
His semi-final against the world number one, having started at 8pm on Friday, lasted more than five hours under the roof of Centre Court, with Djokovic taking the final set 10-8.
With Nadal and Roger Federer out, the way has been paved open for Djokovic, and in his press conference on Saturday sat a man brimming with belief that this is his time.
He said: “There were moments of doubt, frustration, disappointment, where you're questioning whether you want to keep it going in this way or that way, where is that taking you.
"Everybody goes through that process of thinking. I don't know anybody that is managing always to stay positive, to always 100% have self-belief, confidence. It's life.
"We humans, we go through that. Obviously the entire process, speaking from this position right now, it makes it even better for me, makes it even more special."
Djokovic continued: "I managed to overcome challenges and obstacles, get myself to the finals of a slam. Obviously if you told me that six months ago, I would take it right away.
“But did I truly believe that I can get back on the level? Yes, I mean, it's hard for me to play tennis and not believe that I can be the best in what I do.
"I mean, I've been fortunate to achieve so much in my career that every time I go to the tournament, I have the highest of ambitions.”
Can Anderson cause huge upset?
And what of Anderson? The South African is very much the challenger in Sunday’s final, the heavy underdog.
It’s no surprise given his inexperience at this level, but the number eight seed will be hoping to draw on his one-and-only Grand Slam final appearance at last year’s US Open.
On that occasion, he lost in straight sets to Nadal, and for the upcoming encounter with Djokovic, he comes off the back of playing 11 hours of tennis in the space of three days.
Wednesday’s quarter-final win over Federer came thanks to a 13-11 win in the decider, while that essentially doubled to a 26-24 final-set victory over John Isner on Friday.
In defeating eight-time champion Federer, there was a growing sense of belief that Anderson could claim a maiden Grand Slam, but that somewhat ebbed away after his win over Isner.
Sure, he booked a first ever Wimbledon final, but there are many who fear it will be a non-contest after he battled for more than six-and-a-half hours on Friday.
One aspect that will give Anderson a boost is that Djokovic’s semi-final win over Nadal did not conclude until Saturday afternoon, which in itself was a five-hour marathon across two days.
It gives Djokovic a day’s less rest going into the final, but the Serb will still remain firm favourite for glory, with Anderson out to go one better than he ever has done in a slam.
“At the US Open I was in the finals,” Anderson said, “and maybe I felt sort of my crowning achievement was actually getting to the finals. I’m definitely hungry to go one step further.”
Anderson will be desperate to upset the tennis world order once more, but this could be one summit too far.
Who do YOU think will win the 2018 Wimbledon Men's Final: Anderson or Djokovic? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!News Now - Sport News