AAP Tennis

Vintage Federer eyes Wimbledon title No.9

By AAP Newswire

Roger Federer believes the "stars are aligned" as he strives to crown another magical season with an unparalleled ninth men's Wimbledon triumph on Sunday night.

Setting records seemingly every time he steps on court, Federer takes on Novak Djokovic in his 12th title decider at the All-England Club after winding back the clock with a vintage semi-final win over Rafael Nadal.

Already with the most men's titles and finals appearances on London's hallowed grass court, Federer, at 37 years and 340 days, is bidding to become the oldest Wimbledon champion in the open era.

At an age most players are long retired, the incomparable Swiss has already enjoyed a stellar season littered with milestones.

In Dubai in February, Federer became the second man to win 100 career titles and in the lead-up to the grass grand slam, he broke double figures at a single tournament for the first time with a 10th success in Halle.

Then he became the first man to notch a century of wins at SW19 before avenging his epic 2008 final loss to Nadal with his first Wimbledon clash against his great rival in 11 years.

"It's been a rock solid year, won in Halle. Stars are aligned right now. From that standpoint I can go into the final very confident," Federer said.

Despite his imperious form, unrivalled credentials and 11-match grasscourt winning streak this European summer, the 20-times grand slam champion faces a formidable - and familiar - foe in the final.

Looking to defend his crown for the second time, having beaten Federer in the 2014 and 2015 finals, Djokovic can match Bjorn Borg's five Wimbledon titles having also reigned in 2011 and last year.

It will be the duo's 48th match-up, with Djokovic leading their career series 25-22 and winning their past four grand slam battles since Federer trumped the Serb in the 2012 Wimbledon semi-finals.

Left "exhausted" after his three-hour, two-minute duel with Nadal, Federer said had no plans to hit the practice court before renewing his rivalry with Djokovic.

"Age kicks in. It's all about recovery," Federer said.

"We've played each other so, so much. I don't mind that.

"It's more of a clear game plan. The moment you've played somebody probably more than 15 times, there's not that much more left out there. How much can you still surprise somebody?

"At the end of the day it comes very much down to who's better on the day, who's in a better mental place, who's got more energy left, who's tougher when it really comes to the crunch."

Djokovic, by contrast, planned to leave nothing to chance and was already visualising another victory as a mental tactic to prepare for his sixth final at SW19.

"The most important and probably the first win that you have to make is the one within yourself," said Djokovic, eyeing grand slam trophy No.16.

"Then whatever happens externally is, I guess, a consequence or manifestation of that.

"The visualisation is part of the mental preparation. It's very, very important for me. I do it all the time. It is part of my pre-match routine. I also do it on the court."

Regardless who wins, Djokovic, Federer and Nadal will remain entrenched as the world's top three players in the rankings having now gobbled up 54 grand slam titles between them in the past 16 years.