Men’s Semifinal Preview:  Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs.  Novak Djokovic (SRB)
There is more at stake than just a berth in the final of Wimbledon.
Does Nadal have enough left in the tank for another Wimbledon title?
While we know he is fit and has the heart of a lion; we also know he has struggled with long-standing knee issues, which are exacerbated on grass. It is a known fact that he is also no longer in his twenties and a slew of niggling musculoskeletal injuries have cropped up to complicate the picture in recent years. If those are not enough reasons for Nadal fans to have some doubts about this semifinal match, we add the fact that he has been on court almost thirteen hours and his semifinal opponent is none other than his nemesis, Djokovic.
Djokovic leads their head-to-head 26:25 and prior to his two recent losses to Nadal, he had dominated their encounters. He will be fresher and perhaps extra motivated to prove that he has recovered his top form. To get his chance to contest for his sixth Wimbledon final, Nadal will have to dig very deep to get by Djokovic, who knocked him out of the final in 2011.
Nadal will not be satisfied with a semifinal showing and neither will Djokovic; thus, we can expect a battle. A five set battle with no tiebreak in the fifth set may work against Nadal, who has already had one five set battle that almost lasted five hours. Yet, Nadal may be extra motivated to get to the final to give himself the opportunity of claiming his eighteenth major title; however, so too will be Djokovic, who will be eager to get another opportunity to claim his thirteenth major title.
It is a pity that these two champions are not meeting in the final; however, they will each play the hand they have been dealt.
SOURCE OF IMAGES: Zimbio.com (Clive Mason/Getty Images Europe: Rafael Nadal)