Novak Djokovic wins SIXTH Wimbledon title and ties with Federer and Nadal in 20 Grand Slam tournaments
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s 20:20 shared vision is over – three are now the crowd at the top of men’s tennis.
As the sun set over a single Wimbledon Sunday night, the game found itself in the extraordinary position of having three immortals clashing with 60 major titles split between them.
Novak Djokovic joined the other two on the 20th when he won his sixth Wimbledon title against fiery Matteo Berrettini. Cheered on by a British crowd in a way Italian footballers could only dream of, the 25-year-old Roman couldn’t prevent a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 loss that took three hours and 24 minutes. .
He’ll be back, but so will Djokovic, who became the first man since Rod Laver to win the first three majors of the season. The Slam calendar is launched at the US Open and only the more daring would bet against the Serbian.
Novak Djokovic showed his league quality to win his 20th Grand Slam title in a thrilling Wimbledon final on Sunday
Embracing his sixth title at Wimbledon, Djokovic capped two powerfully impressive weeks in South West London to claim the title
He sported the biggest smile at the end as he got one step closer to winning the Golden Slam – all four Slams in one year.
The Serbian’s success sees him equalize with longtime rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in 20 Grand Slam titles
The world No.1 was finally all smiles after more than three hours on the court with Matteo Berrettini, who played sublime
Djokovic ran into the crowd after sealing victory over Berrettini to celebrate with his coaches in his own player box
Berrettini was at his first Grand Slam final and after a rough start he quickly made it interesting by winning the first set
We must not forget that this year there was only two weeks of difference between the clay of Roland Garros and the grass, the most perilous in the first laps, of SW19. So that was the trickiest hurdle to overcome and that would explain why, including Sunday, Djokovic has never really been at his best in the past fifteen weeks.
Also consider that the 34-year-old only had one Grand Slam under his belt while Federer had 16. In reality, while Nadal has largely monopolized Paris, when it comes to other surfaces and major tournaments, one player has really dominated the last six years.
The great Swiss seems to be short of road, while Nadal was so broken by his defeat at Roland Garros that he did not make the trip across the Channel this time. Their parity with Djokovic seems both temporary and helpless.
We saw again in this final, as we did in the semi-final against Denis Shapovalov, that the Serbian lives without charge in the heads of his opponents when it comes to so many critical points. This advantage has been hard earned for a long time. His ability to lock in and force other players to take the initiative under the greatest pressure is arguably his greatest attribute.
At 5-2 in the early stages he gave Berrettini a lot of hope, but he settled down and started making life difficult for the Serbian.
Djokovic impressed by neutralizing Berrettini’s wicked serve, but after losing the opening set the Italian quickly found his momentum
Huge crowds marched inside the All England Club as the space was firmly under premium surveillance on Henman Hill
History weighed heavily on him here and it was not one of his great performances. He was fragile at times, his second serve was sitting down to be punished, but it was enough, as is so often the case.
In the match’s two big matches, his comebacks edged out Berrettini’s powerful serve, while his backhand overshadowed his opponent’s forehand. He knows not to panic and when he got behind he played to himself, thinking the conservative route would probably be enough. He committed 21 unforced errors against Berrettini’s 48.
The Italian will only get better for this experience and has announced himself over the past four weeks in front of a British crowd. Still, he was unable to join the esteemed roster of players who have won both Queen’s and Wimbledon.
Center court was packed like the old days, and while this scene might alarm some people, Sir Patrick Vallance, sitting unmasked in the royal box, clearly felt sufficiently safe.
The volcanic eruption of the arena that greeted Berrettini taking the first set was a magnificent sound no matter your perspective or who you support. It had been an eventful first game and both clearly nervous players seemed reluctant to win.
Djokovic was extremely nervous at the start, serving three double faults in the first two games and allowing for a first breaking point. Luckily for him, the Italian was even more tense and, as we’ve seen so often before, couldn’t take a chance.
Djokovic was battling the crowd but that was no stranger to him at SW19 and he quickly found his rhythm to take control
A double fault came at a cost in the third set and Berrettini found himself with his head in his hands after seeing his grip weaken
Fist pumps helped motivate Djokovic in key moments and he quickly refused to let his grip loosen with Berrettini’s fight
Somehow the Serbian ended up 4-1 and when he moved up to 5-2 everything seemed predictable. There followed a 22-point game that Berrettini held on after saving a set point. This brought Djokovic back to the anxiety zone and he was shattered when the Italian hit a dropshot and threw a winner down the line.
Berrettini knew he had to apply some pressure on the scoreboard to have a chance and he kept his word in the tiebreaker, taking a 3-0 lead, then sealing it 7-4 with an ace hit the “T”.
As with most of this event, Djokovic had not been at his driving best level, but he broke early and after taking a 5-2 lead he managed to serve him, with confidence, to the second time of his request.
The Italian was averaging 12 mph faster on serve, but had to be more consistent than the 58% of early deliveries he was handling against the greatest turner of all time. He was duly broken early in the third as an increasingly confident Djokovic skillfully flew into the net.
Doing his best to keep the ball away from his opponent’s dreaded forehand, he suffered a mini-seizure in Game 6 of the third but saved two break points, interacting with an increasingly noisy crowd.
He was also slowing down the pace he was giving to Berrettini’s groundstrokes and consequent drawing errors. A wide forehand sealed a two-to-one set lead. Just to keep the lead in a very busy atmosphere, at 3-3 in the fourth set the pressure paid off when Berrettini double faulted at the breaking point to seal the result.
The majestic central courtyard has been a symbol of continuity in troubling times. So, more and more, the view of Djokovic wins.
In an epic that passed three hours on center court, Djokovic pointed to the sky as he received a standing ovation
He opted for a moment of reflection as he was cheered by the sold-out crowd as history was once again rewritten in men’s tennis.
Recap how events unfolded with Sportsmail’s Nathan Salt as he covered live the Wimbledon men’s final, contested by Novak Djokovic and Matteo berrettini.