Djokovic secures ninth Grand Slam

The World No.1 Novak Djokovic proved too strong as he overcame Roger Federer in four sets to take his first Wimbledon crown. Following fairly routine victories for both in the semi-finals, Sunday’s showpiece had been heavily anticipated. Although the Serbian was favourite going into the match, the manner in which the Swiss maestro had swept aside Andy Murray meant that it was far from being a foregone conclusion. It was also a repeat of last year’s final at SW19, which Djokovic took after a thrilling encounter which lasted five sets.

In the opening set, one break of serve each meant that the players were inseparable at 5-5. Djokovic had to show some bottle, as he faced two break points. On both occasions he got himself out of the mire with some excellent serving, and, when, after Federer had held serve in the following game, the first tiebreak of the match ensued. It was here that the reigning Australian Open champion really showed his colours, hitting the lines with unerring accuracy, while his opponent also made his fair share of errors. Djokovic seemed incredibly focused, and wrapped up the breaker 7-1.

Despite the emphatic nature of the end of the first set, the seven-time Wimbledon champion did not let his head drop. After two holds of serve each, Djokovic again faced two break points on his serve, but he managed to save them once more with characteristic precision and composure. His topspin forehand was one of the most dependable shots that Djokovic had. Federer’s style has always been to attack, but this was not always beneficial. He planted a seemingly certain winner into the net and double-faulted in the same game to bring up break point. However, the winner of 17 Grand Slam titles held firm.

As the second set drew to its conclusion, both players produced undoubtedly the most exuberant rallies (and shots) of the match. Federer came up with two crunching forehand winners and a cross-court backhand winner to almost break his nemesis. However, on the longer points, it was Djokovic who had the staying power, consistently getting great depth on his groundstrokes and forcing the errors from his more experienced opponent. However, it again went to a tiebreak, which arguably turned out to be the most exciting of the tournament. This time neither player dominated, and the lead went back and forth. Federer showcased his trademark, executing a perfect sliced-drop shot and cross-court backhand combination to go 3-2 ahead. The 33-year-old continued to amaze, and the majority of the Centre Court crowd were willing him on to what they hoped would be his first major. Despite his incredible shot-making abilities, it was still Djokovic who was dictating the longer points and Federer who was blinking first. However, it was Federer’s attacking brand of tennis that paid dividends, and he eventually came through 12-10 to a thunderous roar from the spectators.

At this stage you felt that the momentum had undergone a complete shift, despite the nailbiting outcome, but Djokovic returned with renewed resolve. Even though the crowd favourite fought off two break points early on, the 28-year-old kept knocking on the door, and eventually broke through. Nearly every ball in the mid-court or at the baseline was snaffled up with ruthless efficiency, something he wasn’t quite doing against Stan Wawrinka in the French Open final one month ago. In what seemed like no time, the third set was gone, and any momentum Federer had enjoyed was now lost.

The fourth set was a similar story. Even when Federer executed classy shots, Djokovic was equal to it, and the Serbian’s athleticism and agility on the grass court came to the fore. Another break soon followed and errors continued to flow from the underdog’s racket, as the World No.1 continued to turn the screw. Although he found himself in trouble at 0-30 down, he reeled off four straight points to establish 5-3 lead, meaning Federer would have to hold to stay in the contest. After a few uncharacteristically shaky serves and a superb Djokovic return that hit the line, the greatest player of all time was facing two break points. In the end, only one was needed, as the machine from Belgrade went on the court, eventually battering a mid-court ball past his helpless opponent, to the delight of his coaching staff. With that win, Djokovic has equalled the three All-England Club titles won by Boris Becker, his coach and a driving force behind the resurgence of his charge. This dominant run is likely to continue for a little while yet.

Alex Bowmer

Featured image:

Leave a Reply