Novak Djokovic lifts sixth Wimbledon trophy for record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title

The Serbian World No.1 fought back from a set down to beat in-form Italian player Matteo Berrettini to win the record trophy in four sets.

Novak Djokovic kisses his Wimbledon trophy; Credit: [email protected]

Novak Djokovic’s scintillating 2021 reached new heights, with the Serbian lifting his sixth Wimbledon trophy for a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title on Sunday. The World No.1 has matched the Grand Slam tally of his great rivals – Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal – on the back of a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 final victory over seventh-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini at The Championships. After winning his first major title at the 2008 Australian Open, Djokovic was expected to end Federer and Nadal’s duopoly in tennis. More than a decade after his first major victory, the Serbian has equalled the Grand Slam tally of his generation’s other two major rivals.

The Serbian, who has already clinched his ninth Australian Open crown in February and a second Roland Garros title last month, has a good chance of claiming the calendar-year Grand Slam, with only US Open left. “It was more than a battle,” said Novak Djokovic. “Winning Wimbledon was always the biggest dream of mine as a child. I know how special this is and I don’t want to take this for granted. I was a seven year old boy in Serbia, constructing a Wimbledon tennis trophy with improvised materials in my bedroom and now I am standing here with six titles. It’s incredible.”

Novak Djokovic went a set down

Earlier, Novak Djokovic uncharacteristically let slip a 5-2 advantage in the first set, much to the amusement of the Centre Court crowd who encouraged first-time major finalist Berrettini. The Italian saved a set point in a 22-point service hold at 2-5 during a run of three straight games. The seventh seed subsequently held his nerve in the tie-break to take home the opening set.

Berrettini, in his first major final, had momentum on his side and was filled with confidence, but Djokovic regrouped and clawed back into the match in impressive fashion. The Serbian ran out to a 4-0 advantage in the second set. However, the Italian once again staged a mini-comeback, securing three straight games from 1-5 down. Djokovic eventually managed to close out the set.

Novak Djokovic gained an early break in the third set and he was hardly troubled on his way to pocketing that set. The fourth set started on equal footing until Berrettini struck a double fault at 3-3. The Serbian didn’t look back as he converted his third championship point on Berrettini’s serve. Djokovic fell to the ground in celebration of his record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title.

After securing the victory in over three hours and 23 minutes, Novak Djokovic becomes only the fourth man in the Open Era (since April 1968) to capture three straight Wimbledon titles. Federer, Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras were the other three.

‘Tribute to Rafa and Roger’

When asked what it means to win a 20th Grand Slam title, Djokovic said, “It means none of us will stop [playing]. I have to pay a great tribute to Rafa and Roger as legends of our sport, the two most important players in my career and why I am the player I am today. They made me realise what I needed to improve, mentally, physically and tactically.

“When I first broke into the Top 10, for three or four years, I lost most of the big matches against these guys and something shifted at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. The past 10 years have been an incredible journey and it’s not stopping here.”

Djokovic will hope to emulate Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) in winning all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single season. “I could definitely envisage it happening and I will definitely give it a shot,” said Djokovic. “I am in great form and I am playing well at the Grand Slams. So let’s keep it going.”

On the other hand, Berrettini’s 11-match winning streak on grass courts came to an end after the Italian committed 48 unforced errors in the final. “Novak was better than me, as he is a great champion,” said Berrettini. “He is right in the history of the sport and he deserves all the plaudits. I hope it’s not my last Grand Slam final. It’s such an honour to be here and it’s been a really great run the past couple of weeks and also at The Queen’s Club.”

Sportslumo Desk

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