Marco Cecchinato was a first-round casualty at the Croatia Open as he lost to Aljaz Bedene in straight sets.

Fifth seed Cecchinato reached the semi-finals of the French Open last year but lost in the first round at Roland Garros in 2019 and was undone on the clay in Umag on Monday.

Bedene came through 6-3 6-2 in an hour and 19 minutes, the brisk nature of the contest in stark contrast to Jiri Vesely's three-hour win over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.

Vesely stunned Alexander Zverev en route to the third round at Wimbledon but needed a third-set tie-break to avoid the tables being turned on him by another German opponent, eventually claiming a 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 7-6 (7-2) win over Stebe.

Wildcard Jannik Sinner, 17, beat Pedro Sousa in the day's other first-round match.

At the Swedish Open, Roberto Carballes Baena beat fellow Spaniard Jaume Munar and there was home success as Mikael Ymer overcame Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Roger Federer has the most grand slams, Rafael Nadal eventually might and Novak Djokovic has them both covered head-to-head.

So go part of the arguments amid endless debates about who the greatest men's player of all time is.

Those discussions will persist for decades to come, like there is somehow a right answer to separate Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, who have won 54 grand slam singles titles between them.

Djokovic edged Federer in a classic Wimbledon final on Sunday, winning 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) in a match lasting just shy of five hours.

That took the 32-year-old up to 16 major singles triumphs, closer to Federer (20) and Nadal (18).

But will that final tally even matter as much as some think? Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi are all titans of the Open Era. They won 49 between them, and only Agassi completed a career Grand Slam by claiming the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

Djokovic, Nadal and Federer are all-time greats. The sports world is blessed to have the trio still going head-to-head, producing matches like the latest one between the Swiss maestro and Serbian star at the All England Club.

The final major tally will never be enough to settle the conversation and for good reason: namely, how different the greats are.

The ever-popular Federer is loved by purists for the brilliant serve, effortless movement and glorious shot-making. Nadal? The forehand, intensity and previously unseen – and probably never to be seen again – dominance of a major at the French Open. Djokovic? The best returner, turning defence into offence so easily he has found a way to beat Federer and Nadal more often than not.

Why must one be the greatest when all three are the greatest at different, admirable aspects?

The debate about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will rage for decades to come, too, and they are also so different that both can, and should, be enjoyed, if some can for one moment put aside Ballons d'Or, trophies, goals, assists and whatever other numbers suit their views.

Even if just for a moment, forget tallies and appreciate greatness, because the Big Three in men's tennis deserve it.

Roger Federer is not worried about Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal potentially usurping him as the most successful player in the history of men's tennis following his Wimbledon defeat.

World number one Djokovic won a five-set, near five-hour marathon 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) on Centre Court on Sunday to claim his fifth Wimbledon crown and the 16th grand slam title of his career.

Federer has the most in men's singles, with 20, while Nadal sits between the pair with 18.

Ahead of his 38th birthday next month, Federer was asked for his thoughts on being overhauled by one or both of his younger rivals, but the Swiss insisted it was not something that drove him to continued success.

"I take motivation from different places," he told a media conference. "Not so much from trying to stay ahead because I broke the record, and if somebody else does, well, that's great for them.

"You can't protect everything anyway. I didn't become a tennis player for that. I really didn't.

"It's about trying to win Wimbledon, trying to have good runs here, playing in front of such an amazing crowd in this Centre Court against players like Novak and so forth. That's what I play for."

Federer's defeat – at the end of a final set which went to a tie-break after he and Djokovic were level at 12-12 – brought back memories of his epic 2008 decider against Nadal at the All England Club, when the Spaniard prevailed over five classic sets.

"Similar to '08 maybe, I will look back at it and think, 'well, it's not that bad after all,'" Federer reflected.

"For now it hurts, and it should, like every loss does here at Wimbledon. I think it's a mindset. I'm very strong at being able to move on because I don't want to be depressed about actually an amazing tennis match.

"This one is more straightforward maybe in some ways because we didn't have the rain delays, we didn't have the night coming in and all that stuff. But sure, epic ending, so close, so many moments.

"Sure, there's similarities. But you got to go dig, see what they are. I'm the loser both times, so that's the only similarity I see."

Novak Djokovic felt Sunday's epic Wimbledon final against Roger Federer was the most mentally challenging match of his career as he called on all his psychological strength to edge a five-set thriller.

World number one Djokovic prevailed 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) after almost five hours on Centre Court on Sunday.

Djokovic rescued two championship points at 8-7 down in the final set before going on to claim his 16th grand slam title with a fifth triumph at the All England Club.

"It was probably the mentally most demanding match I was ever part of," Serbian star Djokovic told a news conference.

"I had the most physically demanding match against [Rafael] Nadal in the [2012] finals of Australia that went almost six hours. But mentally this was different level, because of everything.

"I obviously try to play the match in my mind before I go on the court. I probably could not play this kind of scenario.

"I always try to imagine myself as a winner. I think there is a power to that. Also there has to be, next to the willpower, strength that comes not just from your physical self, but from your mental and emotional self. For me, at least, it's a constant battle within, more than what happens outside.

"You need to be constantly playing well throughout five hours if you want to win a match like this. I guess there is an endurance part. But I think there is always this self-belief.

"You have to keep reminding yourself that you're there for a reason and that you are better than the other guy.

"As hard as the moment is that you are in, the more you have to remind yourself, the more you have to talk to yourself. That's at least in my case."

Victory saw Djokovic move to within four of Federer's record number of men's singles grand slam wins, but the 32-year-old is not setting an explicit target to overhaul the Swiss maestro.

"Whether I'm going to be able to do it or not, I don't know," Djokovic said. "I mean, I'm not really looking at age as a restriction of any kind for me at least. What I said on the court, I really meant it: Roger really inspires me with his effort at his age.

"It just depends how long I'm going to play. It depends not only on myself, it depends on circumstances in life. I'm not just a tennis player, I'm a father and a husband. You have to balance things out."

The greatest tennis player of all time squandered two championship points. Match point had to be replayed after a line-call blunder.

And Wimbledon had its equivalent of a Super Over when the final between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic went down to a deciding set tie-break at 12-12 for the first time.

Was there some sort of competition between London's great sporting spectacles on Sunday? A bet on which could end in the highest drama? Sneaky attention seekers, both of them. Let's call it a draw, because just sometimes there doesn't need to be a winner.

England's Cricket World Cup triumph barely registered at Wimbledon, just as this match would have been an afterthought at Lord's. Keeping tabs on both would have blown the mind.

Djokovic certainly hit Federer for six with his triumph on Centre Court, coming back from the brink of defeat to beat the Swiss for a third time in the men's title match.

After 2014, 2015 and now 2019, no wonder Federer said he wanted to "forget" all about the latest loss. Fat chance of that. Classics like this live long in the memory.

The record books that Federer has rewritten over the last 20 years may soon be due a redraft, with Djokovic fast closing both on the man from Basel and Rafael Nadal in the grand slam stakes.

His 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) success was remarkable in many ways, not least because he trailed 8-7 and 40-15 in the deciding set, with Federer having the match on his racket as he served for a ninth title in SW19 and 21st slam overall.

Djokovic may one day consider the passing shot to save the second of those championship points as the most important of his career.

He becomes the first man over 30 in the Open era to successfully defend this title and has won four of the last five slams, missing out only at the French Open last month, where he fell in the semi-finals.

The 32-year-old Serbian's tally stands at 16 slams, with Nadal's 18 and Federer's 20 under threat. At Wimbledon he has matched Bjorn Borg's five. Federer's eight may still be reachable.

This astonishing match finished in bizarre circumstances, with the last point having to be played twice after a faulty line ruling.

At the second time of asking, Federer clattered the ball off his racket frame, high, ugly and way out of court.

Four hours and 57 minutes it lasted, the longest men's Wimbledon final ever. Federer, at 37, still has the hunger and plenty of game, but it is hard to imagine him having a better chance of a ninth crown.

He was first nagged about his age as he inched towards his late twenties, peppered with questions about how long he might have left at the top.

In January 2009, the 27-year-old Federer was asked at an Australian Open press conference if he needed to win a couple more grand slams before there would be "a whole lot of Gulbises and Cilices and Del Potros breathing down your neck".

Bless Ernests Gulbis, for he is an outlier in this story.

Federer's longevity is a modern wonder of the world. A poll from Swiss broadcaster SRF showed 86 per cent expected another Federer victory in London, with Wimbledon's own Twitter survey revealing 70 per cent fancied the same outcome.

Swiss newspaper Blick said Djokovic would need to "shift up a gear" to be competitive, as John McEnroe delivered the same verdict but about Federer.

This was their 48th match. Djokovic has now won 10 of their 16 grand slam meetings.

Conventional wisdom dictated that Federer would struggle if he dropped the opening set, but there has been little about his career that has adhered to convention. Pete Sampras' 14 grand slams were widely reckoned to be an insurmountable stack before Federer, Nadal and then Djokovic all overtook the American.

It was "conventional wisdom" that was cited at the 2008 US Open when a reporter, after Federer beat Andy Murray in straight sets to take the title, pointed out how some had portayed the Swiss as a declining force.

Back on Centre Court, over a decade on, Federer the revisionist duly banished tie-break frustration and sauntered through the second set against Djokovic.

Where would this match pivot? They had split the first two sets of each of their three previous Wimbledon matches, when Federer won in the 2012 semi-finals and Djokovic the 2014 and 2015 finals.

The man who captured the third set in each of those matches wound up prevailing. When the third went to a tie-break this time, Djokovic punched the air at 5-1, an action of hostility he had the chops to back up.

Centre Court has become a Church of Federer to which his disciples - celebrity, royalty, and civilian - flock with unflinching faith. Prince William was watching on. Movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston were at courtside too, along with Federer favourites Stefan Edberg and Rod Laver.

Into the fifth set they went after Federer hit back again, his wife Mirka on her feet, whispering a wish to the gods.

John Bercow, the speaker of the United Kingdom's House of Commons, was toadying up his role of chief Federer fan boy.

Before the match began, Nick Kyrgios tweeted: "Federer please win", a snippy reminder of the Australian's disdain of Djokovic.

Djokovic would never court the affection of Kyrgios, nor give a Castlemaine XXXX for his opinion, and the man from Belgrade feels worthy of greater admiration from the Wimbledon crowds.

They rose to acclaim his success, which perversely might not help him in the popularity stakes.

At Wimbledon, they hold a unique place for Federer, this greatest of men's champions.

It is high time they showed a similar deference to Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic described a "quite unreal" victory as he sympathised with opponent Roger Federer following Wimbledon's longest ever final.

An epic clash that last four hours and 57 minutes concluded with Djokovic edging a historic fifth-set tie-break to defend his All England Club title, denying Federer the honour of becoming the oldest grand slam champion in history.

Unsurprisingly, after an exhausting effort, the triumphant world number one, who saved two match points, was keen to commiserate with Federer.

"I think that was if not the most exciting, thrilling final I've ever been in, then [in the] top two or three in my career," he said. "And against one of the greatest players of all time, Roger, who I respect a lot.

"Unfortunately, in these kind of matches, one of these players has to lose. We both had our chances and it's quite unreal to be two match points down and to come back.

"It's a bit strange to play a tie-break from 12-12, as well. I was hoping I could get to the tie-break [after winning two earlier]."

Federer may have fallen short of making history, but Djokovic, who now has 16 grand slams to his rival's 20, says he can still only hope to match his rival's achievements.

"Roger hopes that he can give other people belief they can do it at 37 - I'm one of them," said the Serbian. "He inspires me, for sure."

Roger Federer said he would "try to forget" his Wimbledon final defeat to Novak Djokovic after failing to take two match points.

The eight-time champion fell agonisingly short of a ninth title, losing 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) on Centre Court on Sunday in the longest final in history at the All England Club.

At 8-7 in the deciding set, Federer led 40-15 on his own serve but could not see out victory.

The match became the first Wimbledon final to go to a tie-break at 12-12 in the decider before Djokovic claimed his fifth championship after four hours and 57 minutes.

Federer said: "I will try to forget, but it was a great match.

"It was long, it had everything. I had my chances; so did he. I thought we played some great tennis.

"I'm very happy with my performance. But Novak, that was great, congratulations man, that was crazy."

Federer, 37, will regret that 16th game of the final set for a long time, but his longevity continues to amaze.

He suggested this will not be his final challenge for a 21st grand slam triumph, even though he turns 38 next month.

"I hope I give some other people a chance to believe that at 37 it's not over yet," said the Swiss.

"I feel great. It's going to take some time to recover, physically too. But I gave it my all, I'm still standing, and I wish the same for all the other 37-year-olds."

His family came out to see the presentations, and Federer said: "They won't be excited with the plate [the prize for finishing runner-up]. They'd rather take that golden thing. I love them. It's back to being Dad and husband, it's all good."

Novak Djokovic came through an epic back-and-forth Wimbledon final, the longest in history, to outlast fellow great Roger Federer and defend his All England Club title on Sunday.

Facing the supremely popular eight-time champion on Centre Court, Djokovic never truly showed his best form but still had enough energy and skill to triumph 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) in a marathon contest.

The world number one was fortunate to win the opener and then collapsed completely in the second, but he was typically resilient in edging another tie-break in the third set to lead 2-1 without creating a single break point.

A third Wimbledon final victory over Federer was secured despite again crumbling in the fourth as Djokovic was forced to stave off two championship points in the decider.

With the set tied at 12-12, an historic first final-set tie-break was required, and Djokovic got the job done.

Federer, who claimed "the stars are aligned" after beating Rafael Nadal in the last four, had been bidding to become the oldest ever grand slam singles champion but never led a tireless opponent, his errors at crucial moments proving costly.

Djokovic has now won 33 of his past 34 grand slam matches and four of the past five such singles titles, taking his career tally to 16 major crowns.

In their first grand slam meeting in three and a half years, Djokovic struggled with his serve early on - fortunate to see Federer's ferocious forehand squander an opportunity - and could not get his return game going either.

But the top seed escaped from a tricky opener with the lead, reaching a tie-break where Federer's sloppiness gifted him four straight points.

Rather than seize the initiative by kicking on in the second, though, Djokovic swiftly fell two breaks behind, an awkward slip to concede the first break point setting the tone.

A sensational backhand slice set Federer en route to another break to take an improbably straightforward set, although Djokovic dug in at the start of the third.

Federer stayed patient but was taken to another tie-break and his backhand let him down. A messy effort led to an immediate mini-break, another following as he shot into the net.

Djokovic protected that advantage and quickly went after a killer blow in the fourth, but it was Federer, backed by a partisan crowd, who led when a pivotal point saw the Serbian narrowly miss the baseline, teeing up the break.

There was another break, too, before Djokovic belatedly brought his trademark return, losing a 35-stroke rally in his first opening on the Federer serve of the entire match - close to three hours in - but taking the next opportunity.

It was not enough to prevent a decider and the pendulum continued to swing back and forth.

Djokovic fizzed a backhand past Federer at the net for the crucial lead, yet he could not cling on in the following game, a double-fault letting the veteran back in.

Although a sublime stretching Djokovic volley kept Federer from another break point, the veteran finally led for the first time at 8-7 when he whipped a forehand through the defence.

Federer had two shots at championship point in a carnival atmosphere but was reeled back in and Djokovic was the man left standing at the end of a final tie-break, his power somehow persisting as the Swiss mishit a forehand to lose after four hours and 57 minutes.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Novak Djokovic [1] bt Roger Federer [2] 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3)

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 54/52
Federer - 94/61

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 10/9
Federer - 25/6

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 3/8
Federer - 7/13

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Djokovic – 62
Federer - 63

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Djokovic – 74/47
Federer - 79/52

TOTAL POINTS
Djokovic – 203
Federer - 218

Novak Djokovic was taken to five sets and a historic tie-break in the longest Wimbledon final in history by Roger Federer but dug in to defend his title at the All England Club.

Roger Federer believes the "stars are aligned" but he may have to produce another out-of-this-world performance to dethrone Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon.

Federer followed up his record 100th victory at the All England Club against Kei Nishikori by beating old rival Rafael Nadal in a classic semi-final on Friday.

The Swiss legend faces another mouthwatering duel with defending champion Djokovic in the final at SW19 on Sunday.

Federer produced a regal Centre Court masterclass to down fellow great Nadal 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4 and does not feel he needs to do any homework for the challenge of taking on the world number one.

The 20-time grand slam champion said: "This is like a school: the day of the test you're not going to read, I don't know, how many books that day. You don't have the time anyhow.

"It's quite clear the work was done way before. I think that's why I was able to produce a good result against Rafa. It's been a rock-solid year from me, [I] won in Halle. 

"Stars are aligned right now. From that standpoint I can go into that match [against Djokovic] very confident."

Federer added on the battle between the top two seeds: "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.

"In the tennis, there's always somebody who's going to be a little bit better because there's no draws in our sport. It's always quite brutal sometimes."

Top seed Djokovic has won his last three matches against Federer and beat him in both of their previous two deciders at the grass-court major.

The Serb says his use of the visualisation process has enabled him to see clearly as he strives to retain the title. 

"It is part of my pre-match routine. I also do it on the court. I think we all do it to some extent, whether it's conscious or unconscious." said the 32-year-old.

"I think it's normal that when you care about something, you want to prepare yourself the best possible. Especially on the changeovers, you visualise and imagine what the next point or next game will be like.

"It is a quite challenging battle within yourself. I think at this stage we play in one of the most important stadiums and tournaments in the world, playing semi-finals, finals, fighting for the trophy with one of the biggest rivals.

"I think the most important and probably the first win that you have to make is the one within yourself, 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."

Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal spoke of the intense bond that helped them through their epic men's doubles final at Wimbledon on Saturday.

The Colombian pair eventually got the better of Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in a five-set thriller that spanned almost five hours on Centre Court, causing the women's doubles final to be put back until Sunday.

Tie-breaks were needed to decide the first four sets before Cabal and Farah won the fifth 6-3, both men falling to the turf with elation and exhaustion in equal measure.

After becoming the first Colombians to win a men's grand slam doubles crown, Farah and Cabal faced the media and discussed the close nature of their friendship.

"I think we've been friends, almost brothers, since we're five," Farah said. "We literally grew up together.

"We were sponsored by Colsanitas since we were 10, 11. Grew up together in a house. That gives you a strong bond.

"And obviously Sebas and I, since I left college in 2010, we said, 'Let's play together'. We had played before I went to college. It worked out from the beginning. It clicked.

"I know Sebas has the touch, has the magic in his hands. I have the power. I feel like that's a very good duo.

"It's great to live this with your brother, your brother like from another mother. It's like a cliche, but it's really what it is."

On lifting their trophies in the Royal Box, Farah added: "Not every day the whole royalty of the UK is watching you play tennis. I mean, it's just indescribable. That court is just magical.

"I don't have any other words to describe that court. I mean, the whole history that court has is just crazy. To think you grew up watching it, now you're winning in it, just becomes even more magical."

Mahut was struck by the ball three times during the course of the match, including twice in successive points, but Cabal insisted such incidents were part and parcel of playing doubles.

"Obviously you apologise," he said. "It's two versions of hitting the other guy. Today it was a play. It wasn't bad intentions. In the whole match we hit them, they hit us.

"It's doubles, that's it. That's why if you can see it, every time we hit each other, it was like good environment, good, fair play. Everything was good. No bad looks or anything."

An absolutely epic Wimbledon men's doubles final was eventually won by Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal as Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin were defeated after almost five hours on Centre Court.

After the opening four sets all went to tie-breaks, Colombian duo Farah and Cabal gained an advantage in the fifth and ultimately prevailed 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-3.

The match lasted four hours and 57 minutes while there was a delay when the roof was closed prior to the deciding set, and a finish of around 21:00 local time meant the scheduled women's doubles final had to be postponed until Sunday, after Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer's men's singles showdown.

Defeat will bring back painful memories for Mahut, who famously lost 70-68 to John Isner in the final set of his first-round singles encounter at the All England Club in 2010 – the longest match in the sport's history.

His partner Roger-Vasselin was in tears at the end and Mahut will be hurting in more ways than one after being struck three times during Saturday's absorbing final in front of a captivated crowd.

The Frenchman required lengthy treatment after taking a blow to the forehead early in proceedings and was hit twice in successive points in the final set – once in the neck and then again in a more sensitive area.

And he was unable to console himself with victory as Farah and Cabal became the first men from their country to win a grand slam doubles crown, both collapsing to the turf in delight as the championship point – the 419th point of the match – went their way.

Simona Halep said seeing royalty in the crowd gave her an "extra boost" as she claimed a first Wimbledon title, while Mark Philippoussis was drinking on the job at SW19 on Saturday.

Halep thrashed Serena Williams 6-2 6-2 in less than an hour on Centre Court and was given a royal seal of approval following her majestic performance.

Philippoussis, a two-time major runner-up, was in weekend mode as he sampled an alcoholic beverage while playing in the invitational doubles.

Dylan Alcott was trending on Twitter in Australia after his historic victory at the All England Club.

Catch up on what was happening on the penultimate day of the grass-court grand slam.

 

HALEP GIVEN 'UNFORGETTABLE' ROYAL BOOST 

Halep picked out "Kate" as the one person she would like to see in the Royal Box for her first Wimbledon final.

The 2018 French Open champion got her wish and exchanged words with the Duchess of Cambridge after denying Williams a record-equalling 24th major singles title. 

"It was an honour to play in front of her. I had the chance to meet her after the match. She's very kind, very nice," Halep said after becoming the first Romanian to win a singles title at Wimbledon, with Williams' friend the Duchess of Sussex also in attendance.

"Yeah, it was an extra boost when I saw all of them there, the Royal Family. Winning in this position, it's really nice. It's unforgettable."

 

PIMM'S O'CLOCK FOR PHILIPPOUSSIS

Philippoussis built up a thirst as he rolled back the years on No.1 Court.

The Australian unsuccessfully scurried across to try and keep a point alive in his doubles clash partnering Tommy Haas against Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra.

Philippoussis almost ended up on the front row of the crowd, but stopped himself before grabbing a spectator's Pimm's for an early-evening tipple.

He even posed for a selfie after sipping away casually with his legs crossed, drawing laughter from the crowd in an alternative happy hour.

 

ALCOTT MAKES HISTORY TO COMPLETE 'DYLAN SLAM'

Alcott won the first ever quad wheelchair singles title at SW19 with a 6-0 6-2 thrashing of Brit Andy Lapthorne.

Australian Alcott now holds ever major singles title, a feat christened the 'Dylan Slam' and the top seed was delighted after his triumph on Court 12.

"I'm trending on Twitter at home," he said.

"The AFL is on at the moment, and the NRL. I'm trending with them. People care and watch now. I love that, you know what I mean? So cool."

He added: "My dad said, 'Congratulations on your eighth Grand Slam.' I said, 'That's nine, champion.'"

 

BUBBLES BURST AFTER COSTLY UNFORCED ERROR 

There were no smiles outside a champagne bar when a lady knocked a bottle over earlier in the afternoon.

While not all of the bubbles were lost, it still proved to be a costly unforced error.

Thankfully the bottle did not smash, but the spillage created a racket as the women frantically attempted to limit her losses.

The rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer continues on Sunday as the defending Wimbledon champion takes on the eight-time All England Club winner in the 2019 final.

A 48th career meeting will represent the 16th grand-slam clash between the modern-day greats, with this the fifth to decide a major title.

Of the four previous grand slam finals between the pair, two have come at Wimbledon and Djokovic has won them both.

As Federer seeks revenge in SW19, potentially setting up another classic, we take a look at those four past mammoth matches.

2007 US Open: Dominant Federer downs new rival

Djokovic's first major final appearance was incredibly Federer's 10th in a row - and that experience ultimately told for the Swiss star. Djokovic, then just 20, led by a break in all three sets but could not get the job done, squandering set points in the first two before tiring. A fourth consecutive Flushing Meadows success was Federer's reward for a 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory.

"I think straight sets was a bit brutal for Novak, to be honest," Federer said. "He deserved better than that. He's had a fantastic run, not only this tournament but the entire year. I told him at the net 'keep it up'. We're going to have many more battles I think." He was not wrong.

2014 Wimbledon: Djokovic edges Wimbledon epic

If Sunday's clash is anything like this one, we are in for a treat. Djokovic got his first major final win over Federer in thrilling fashion at the All England Club, triumphing 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-4 despite letting championship point slip in the fourth and facing break points in the decider. It ended a run of three consecutive grand slam final reverses for Djokovic.

Boris Becker, Djokovic's coach, explained: "We were all dying out there, keeping it cool from the outside, but burning up inside. He had that match point, he served for the fourth set, but Roger wouldn't be Roger if he wouldn't always find another shot."

2015 Wimbledon: Novak denies veteran Federer again

Federer had been bidding to claim a record eighth Wimbledon title and become the tournament's oldest champion in 2014. He had another chance 12 months later but again found Djokovic in his path. It had appeared as though the Swiss would at least push the defending champion all the way when he won the second set tie-break 12-10, yet Djokovic proved too strong in the third and fourth.

Federer would eventually get his historic success in 2017, reflecting after that win: "I had some tough ones, losing to Novak. I kept on believing and dreaming and here I am today with the eighth."

2015 US Open: More pain for Roger in New York

Although Federer did go on to get that precious eighth Wimbledon win, he had to endure another major loss to Djokovic first in the immediate aftermath of the 2015 All England Club defeat. The second part of an ultimate 'Novak Slam' came at Flushing Meadows, where the start was delayed by three hours due to rain but Djokovic kept his nerve in another epic, saving 19 of 23 break points.

Djokovic beat Federer again in the last four at the Australian Open en route to another title, but the two have not met at a grand slam since. Revenge might well be on the mind this weekend.

Roger Federer admits clashes with Novak Djokovic can be "brutal" for the loser given how well matched the two players are, but he is relishing Sunday's Wimbledon final.

Eight-time All England Club champion Federer's reward for a thrilling four-set victory over Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals is a meeting with another fellow great in Djokovic, who defeated Roberto Bautista Agut.

The two are certainly no strangers to one another, playing 47 times on the ATP Tour with Djokovic edging the overall record on 25 wins.

The world number one has also won their past two contests at Wimbledon and Federer expects fine margins to decide a hard-fought affair.

"It's the same as going into a Rafa match," the Swiss said. "I think the moment you've played somebody probably more than 15 times, especially in recent years also a few times, there's not that much more left out there.

"When you know where the players go when it really matters, 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.

"In tennis, there's always somebody who's going to be a little bit better because there's no draws in our sport. It's always quite brutal sometimes.

"I don't want to say always the better player wins, but sometimes it can be tough. Like [against Nadal], he could have broken in that last game somehow and we could still be playing. Who knows?

"I'm excited about the game against Novak. We've played each other so, so much. I don't mind that, I think it's more of a clear game plan.

"We had a great match against each other in Paris just recently [Djokovic won 7-6 (8-6) 5-7 7-6 (7-3)]. I hope we can back it up from there."

Federer's preparation for the showpiece will be limited, but he is confident he is well set to continue his fine form at Wimbledon.

"I don't have much energy to go train very much right now," he said. "Honestly, it's about recovery, hitting some balls [on Saturday], warming up the next day. But it's more in the tactics.

"I don't think there's much I need to do in terms of practice. This is like a school: the day of the test you're not going to read however many books that day. You don't have the time anyhow.

"It's quite clear the work was done way before. I think that's why I was able to produce a good result [against Nadal].

"It's been a rock-solid year from me, winning in Halle. The stars are aligned right now. From that standpoint, I can go into that match very confident."

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