Photo: Paul ZimmerNovak Djokovic (SRB)
Novak Djokovic overcame Roger Federer in a thrilling five-set Wimbledon final to win his second title at the All England Club - and 7th at a Grand Slam - and reclaim the world No. 1 ranking.
Djokovic, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, failed to convert a championship point in the fourth set but held his nerve in the face of a Federer fightback in the fifth to triumph 67(7) 64 76(4) 57 64 in 3 hours 56 minutes and end a 3-match losing streak in Grand Slam finals.
“This is the best tournament in the world,” said the seven-time Grand Slam champion. “The most valuable one. The first tennis match that I ever saw in my life when I was 5 years old was Wimbledon. So to be able to complete at such a high level I am so grateful.
“I would like to dedicate [this title] to my future wife and our future baby. I would like to dedicate it to my family and all the family in my team for sacrificing their entire lives. Last but not least I would like to dedicate this title to my former coach that taught me all the basics Jelena Gencic. She passed away last year and this is for her.”
Federer, who routinely journeyed to the net in a tight first set, clinched the 51-minute opener on a tiebreak, but it was an advantage that proved short-lived. Djokovic, despite losing his footing on several occasions in the opening two sets on a dusty patch of grass on the far-right baseline, soon gained a more solid foothold in the match.
The 2011 champion scored the first break of the match in the third game of the second set, and when under the cosh fought fiercely to fend off an immediate break-back in the ensuing game. It was an advantage that he wouldn’t surrender, sealing a 43-minute second set with a pile-driving smash followed by an equally forceful fist-pump.
The attritional contest continued in the third set. Lengthy rallies, that tended to favour Djokovic, were punctuated by big serves at key moments from the Swiss, who had fired 13 aces to just one from Djokovic by the set’s end. Sadly for the Swiss, his dominance on serve was not enough to bring up a 2-1 advantage as Djokovic clinched the second tiebreak of the match when Federer drifted a sliced-backhand into the tramlines after another lengthy rally.
In the fourth set, the pair traded three breaks in a row in the fourth, fifth and sixth games but it was Djokovic who again stole the advantage, moving 4-2 to the good before steadying the ship with a service hold in the seventh game.
Just when it looked as if Djokovic would serve out the championship, Federer broke in the 9th game and again in a thrilling 11th, before serving out the set to ensure the first five-set Wimbledon final since 2009.
The fifth set, in the end, favoured the fresher player, as Djokovic broke Federer in the 10th game to become just the 11th male player in the Open Era to win multiple Wimbledon titles.