Preview: Bar set high for men’s final

Whatever happens on Centre Court on Sunday, the Wimbledon men’s final will have some way to go to top the tennis we have seen at SW19 in the last few days.

Novak Djokovic will take on South Africa’s Kevin Anderson at the All England Tennis Club looking for a thirteenth grand slam title following a couple of years in the grand slam wilderness while Anderson searches for a first slam in his second ever final.

Whoever wins, it will represent a great story. Djokovic fighting his way back from an injury and form crisis, or journeyman Anderson bidding to become the second oldest first-time slam champion in history.

Problem is for both players is that Wimbledon 2018 has already seen so much great tennis that it will be hard for the final to compete.

First, there was Anderson’s stunning comeback win over Roger Federer in the quarter-final. Two sets down and in trouble, Anderson engineered a comeback for the ages to oust the defending champion and hand the eight-time winner only his second ever defeat at SW19 from such a position.

Then, as if to go one better. Anderson and John Isner then took part in the longest ever grand slam semi-final, a titanic battle of the big servers that lasted six hours and 36 minutes before Isner finally relented.

And while Djokovic’s semi-final win over Rafael Nadal didn’t last quite as long, the five hour, 16 minute epic spread over two days saw the arch-rivals serve up a veritable feast of top-class tennis that some would say outdid even their classic 2012 Australian Open final that has been labelled the greatest final ever.

In some ways, and in no way is this being disrespectful to Anderson, who fully deserves his place in the final, Saturday’s match was so good that it would have made a great final.

It is up to Djokovic and his South African opponent to make sure that Sunday’s match lives up to such high standards.

If they approach it with the same skill, shot-making prowess and will to win as they have shown so far, then there every chance that may happen.

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