Novak Djokovic equalled the record for most grand slam men’s singles titles after defeating Matteo Berrettini in four sets to win his sixth Wimbledon title. It was a nervous start by the world number one who served a couple of double faults in the opening game and had to save a break point to hold serve. Equally the Italian felt early nerves and feeling the effects of a left thigh injury as he lacked confidence in his shots therefore conceding an early break of serve in the fourth game.
After just about holding serve in the eight game in a 10 minute extravaganza, the 7th seed took advantage of a nervy Djokovic who made a lot of uncharacteristic unforced errors as he broke back for 5-4. The Italian continued to serve 130+ MPH serves and follow them up with massive forehands as his confident hitting blasted past an erratic Djokovic as he took the first set tiebreak 7-4.
In the second set Djokovic responded with authority using his insane defensive skills to cause problems for Berrettini as a quick double break advantage was established. However just like the first set, Berrettini took advantage of some strange choices of shots from the world number one to reduce the deficit from 5-1 to 5-4 saving three set points. This time though the five-time champion held his nerve and serve to love to level the match at one set all.
Another early break followed in the third set as Berrettini was caught out by Djokovic’s mix of slices and delayed forehand winners. The atmosphere grew on Centre Court as the Serbian started to be distracted by the support for the Italian. After saving two break points to hold for a 4-2 lead he encouraged the crowd to support him in this electric atmosphere. More clutch serving saw Djokovic fend off the Berrettini charge to take a 2 set to 1 lead.
The fourth set was arguably the most tense and competitive of them all as some lightening serve and forehand combinations saw the Italian make it difficult for the world number one to break. Djokovic responded with some effective patterns of play himself as this fourth set was at deadlock. Eventually though the Djokovic pressure on return was too much for the Italian as a Berrettini double fault secured the critical break for the world number one. Djokovic sealed history with a comfortable hold and another break as he clinched his sixth Wimbledon title over a valiant Matteo Berrettini.
Novak Djokovic’s road to a 20th grand slam title arguably wouldn’t have happened without his fiercest rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who have pushed him all the way. The world number one paid tribute to them after the match and said that the journey doesn’t stop here:
“I have to pay tribute to Rafa and Roger. They are legends of our sport and the two greatest players I have faced,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview.
“They are the reason where I am today. They made me realise what I had to do to get stronger – mentally, physically and tactically. The last 10 years have been an incredible journey that is not stopping here.”
For Djokovic it’s about believing he is the best but is not getting drawn into whether he think he is the greatest of all time. Now the Serb believes any dream is possible and achievable.
“I consider myself best and I believe that I am the best, otherwise I wouldn’t be talking confidently about winning slams and making history. But whether I’m the greatest of all time or not, I leave that debate to other people. I said before that it’s very difficult to compare the eras of tennis. But I am extremely honoured to definitely be part of the conversation.
“I probably started thinking about trying to reach the record of most Grand Slams won, most weeks at No. 1 historically, probably about, say, two to three years ago. Before that it seemed a little bit out of reach. I’ve always kind of believed that I could play my best tennis in Grand Slams and give myself a good chance to win any slam really on any surface because I know what I’m capable of. I know I have a very complete game that has proven to be successful on all surfaces in the past.
“But only the last two-and-a-half, three years I started to realise that actually I can reach the weeks of No. 1, which was my primary goal actually in the last two years, and also Grand Slams. It’s really fortunate for me and incredible that it’s all coming together in the same year. That’s something that I didn’t expect, but I always dream of achieving the biggest things in sport.”
Next for Djokovic is achieving the one thing he is yet to achieve and that is winning the gold medal at the Olympic Games, which starts in a couple of weeks in Tokyo, Japan.
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