In a final billed as the battle of the heavyweights, Novak Djokovic overcame Roger Federer for the second year running at Wimbledon, winning 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3.
By doing so he became the first player since Federer himself in 2007 to retain the coveted title. The Serbian’s win gave him his ninth career grand slam, and his third triumph at the All England Club. By doing so, Novak delayed Federer’s hopes of winning a record-breaking eighth title, which he may now struggle to achieve considering his veteran status.
Despite his 33 years, Federer pushed the Serb all the way, with the first 2 sets both going to tie breaks. He had chances to win the first set, even dropping 2 set points at 6-5. Djokovic clawed his way back and powered through the tie break to land the first punch of the match.
Federer looked on the ropes in the second set but Djokovic was still unable to break him despite an onslaught of pressure and seven set points. Federer defied the odds and levelled the match in the tie break, once again fighting back from 6-3 down to take it 11-9.
Although the British weather has largely held off for the last two weeks, it came back with a vengeance at the start of the third set as play was suspended. The covers were brought on and the players were forced indoors. When they came back out under the partially drawn roof Djokovic never looked back. He powered through to retake the lead with a 6-4 set win.
The partisan crowd tried to urge home favourite Federer on in the fourth set but Djokovic took the decisive break at 3-2. There were a few tense moments for the defending champion but he held his nerve and determination to see through the set and end Federer’s hopes of a record-breaking win. Djokovic finished the job with a trademark forehand fired into the corner. The champion couldn’t hold back his delight as he finally put the tie to bed. He repeated his slightly strange tradition of eating some of the court’s grass, declaring after the match, “It tasted very, very good this year. I don’t know what the grounds people have done but they’ve done a good job”
Federer meanwhile continued his tradition of being a true gentleman, even in defeat. He heaped the praise onto his opponent, claiming that, “He played not only good today but the whole two weeks, the whole year, last year and the year before that”. Federer certainly has no reason to be ashamed of his performance today. It could easily have gone the other way – he only converted one of seven break points in the match. In spite of his loss, his status as one of the game’s greatest players remains untarnished. He will undoubtedly come back next year in what may be his last chance for a record eighth title.
At 28 years old, Djokovic still has plenty of time to close the gap on Federer’s grand slam record, which he will surely do. He’ll go into the US Open as the favourite once again and appears in a strong position to continue his winning form for seasons to come.
Quotes taken from the BBC