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Federer Set To Renew “Cool Rivalry”

Wimbledon, Great Britain

Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer practised in the shadow of Centre Court on Saturday, ahead of his ninth Wimbledon final.

When asked to summarise his storied rivalry with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer needed just one word: “Athletic.”

Federer will look to extend his 18-16 FedEx ATP Head2Head advantage when the former champions meet for the 2014 title at the All England Club. A series that has spanned eight years, 34 encounters and included countless unforgettable moments, there will be no secrets when the Serb and the Swiss take to Centre Court on Sunday.

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“I must say I've enjoyed the matches against him,” said Federer of his rivalry with Djokovic. “We didn't come through the rankings together, so I was established while he was coming up. I think it was totally different for both of us. We saw each other in a different light than we see each other today when we're both ranked high, we both achieved a lot. Things have clearly changed over time. But ever since he's won Grand Slams and became World No. 1, it's been a cool rivalry, in my opinion.”

Federer vs. Djokovic: Wimbledon Final Preview

Federer is seeking his third victory over Djokovic in four meetings this year, triumphing on the hard courts of Dubai and the clay of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Monte-Carlo. His lone defeat came in the final of the BNP Paribas Open, in Indian Wells.

The Basel native understands the challenges of topping Djokovic on any surface and acknowledges the Serb will be extra motivated with a Wimbledon crown hanging in the balance.

“Well, we both like to be close to the baseline,” assessed Federer. “We both like to take charge, especially on quicker courts. He has a wonderful way of either redirecting or taking the ball early, taking pace from the opponent and even generating some of his own.

“I think that's what makes him so hard to play. There's not really a safe place you can play into. Novak can hurt you down the line or cross-court on both sides. He's really improved now through the years. I've seen him come through the (Emirates ATP Rankings). His forehand, his serve, his movement clearly is what stands out the most at this moment now. He's really been able to improve that and make it rock solid."

Novak vs. Roger: The Rivalry

The oldest finalist on the lawns of Wimbledon since Ken Rosewall (39) in 1974, Federer is attempting to become the first man to win eight titles at SW19, having prevailed in 2003-’07, ’09 and most recently in 2012. Having been on this stage on so many occasions, the 17-time Grand Slam champion is aware of what it will take to hoist the trophy.

“I think for me it's really important to stay aggressive against him, and especially here at Wimbledon it's simpler how we need to play against each other,” added Federer. “It's not like on a slow court where you can maybe maneuver the other guy around so much. I think on grass it's a bit more straightforward and we're both aware of that.”

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