For now, all is well in Federer land

"Clearly my matches have been pretty quick," Federer said. "Clearly a semi like this is a perfect result before a big match in the final."

This is their 12th meeting in a Grand Slam final and Federer holds a tenuous 6-5 lead. Interestingly, their most recent encounter came here, with Federer winning a four-set semifinal on the way to his last Grand Slam title.

"It's a good chance for me to try to win against him on his favorite surface, on his favorite court," Djokovic said after his four-set win over Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals. "This is where he has the most success in his career, winning many titles. He's been looking very good throughout the whole tournament, very dominant with his matches.

"I'm sure that he wants to win this title as much as I do."

Almost everyone else, on the other hand, is pulling for the sentimental favorite. It will be a love-fest on Centre Court for Federer, and Djokovic knows it. He has his own motivation, of course. This is his fourth final in the past five majors -- and he has failed to win one.

The grass plays more to Federer's subtle strengths, but Djokovic has a slight edge in movement. Federer serves as well as anyone here, but Djokovic is the game's best returner.

"The key against him in the game," Djokovic said, "is trying to not allow him to dictate too much because he likes to be very aggressive, he likes to come to the net. I'm going to have to be able to get as many returns back in the court and try to also stay closer to the line, protect the baseline."

Said Federer: "We both like to be close to the baseline. 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, 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."

Andy Murray's victory here a year ago ended a 77-year-old drought for a British male champion, but a victory Sunday would make history of a more ancient kind. This is the 128th edition of Wimbledon, and only three men have won it seven times -- Federer, Pete Sampras and, in the 1880s, William Renshaw.

Federer would be the oldest Wimbledon champion of the Open era. Unlike all the skeptics and the cynics watching from afar, he will be surprised if he doesn't win.

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