Novak Djokovic won his fourth straight Wimbledon men’s singles title on Sunday, and his 21st grand slam title overall.
The Serbian star beat Nick Kyrgios in an enthralling final on Centre Court, winning 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-6 (7-3).
Djokovic was in an early deficit as Kyrgios got off to a fast start. But the experienced 35-year-old fought his way back to win his seventh Wimbledon title – he won in 2018, 2019 and 2021 after 2020 was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He is now one grand slam title behind the all-time record set by Rafael Nadal of 22.
Afterwards, Djokovic – who said Kyrgios is an “amazing talent” and that he’ll be back in a grand slam final – said he has “lost words for what this tournament and this trophy means to me.”
“It always has been and will be the most special one in my heart. It motivated me to play in my small mountain resort and I saw Pete Sampras win and I asked my mum and dad to buy me a racquet,” he told Sue Barker on Centre Court holding the Wimbledon trophy.
“It was my first image of tennis – every single time it gets more meaningful and I’m blessed to be standing here with the trophy.
“It is the most special tennis court in the world and when you walk on the untouched grass and everything is so directed on the tennis, the players’ ball and racquet and it has the most recognition in the world.”
It was the battle of one of the greatest against tennis’ maverick.
And under the scorching London sun, with not a cloud in sight, it didn’t disappoint.
Despite playing in his first grand slam final, Kyrgios – who qualified for the final after Nadal pulled out due to injury – showed absolutely no signs of being overawed. Facing the world No. 3, his powerful serve was booming from the start.
The pair exchanged rallies at a rapid pace, with both showing supreme accuracy and skill to keep each other on their toes.
Midway through the opening set, Kyrgios made the first big break. The Australian broke Djokovic’s service game and, behind his almost unreturnable serve, clinched the first set to settle his nerves – if there were any in fact.
Djokovic, playing in his 32nd grand slam final, has often been the less-favored of the players when he’s played at Wimbledon, often coming up against Nadal and Roger Federer, and it was the same during Sunday’s final.
Kyrgios unique style of play, including his occasional chuntering to his box, has won over the watching crowds and it was the same for the final, with the 27-year-old receiving much of the backing.
However, in the second set, Djokovic slowly but steadily found his feet.
He managed to extended the rallies, using his dexterity and resilience to remain in the game and eventually wear Kyrgios.
And in the fourth game of the set, he broke Kyrgios to take a two-game lead – the first time he’s broke the Australian in their three meetings.
Kyrgios fought to remain in the set, earning three break points as Djokovic served to level the sets. But, despite some complaining in the direction of his box, he was unable to convert any of those, as Djokovic returned the game to parity.
The third set was the most even so far. With both players displaying strong serves, they showed extreme quality as they exchanged games.
Midway through the set, Kyrgios began to show some of the petulance which has plagued his career. Some noise from the crowd in between a first and second serve cause him to complain the umpire. After closing out the game, the TV microphone picked up Kyrgios asking the umpire for the offender to be thrown out.
“There’s no other bigger occasion and they did it again and it nearly cost me the point,” he raged. “She’s drunk out of her mind so kick her out. I know exactly who it is – she’s the one who looks like she’s had about 700 drinks.”
In the next game, the pressure began to look like it was telling on Kyrgios as Djokovic broke the 27-year-old, resulting in a berating in the direction of his box in the break between games.
And, serving for the set, Djokovic made no mistake, coming back from a set down to have a lead.
With the end in sight, Djokovic locked in and began to turn the screw. But, despite being on new ground, Kyrgios stood firm.
Nothing could separate the pair, as they went back and forth, eventually needing a tie break to decide whether Kyrgios could force a final set or Djokovic would get his hands on the famous trophy yet again.
In the most high-pressure situation of the match yet, Djokovic’s experience showed as he raced into a big lead, not giving it up as he claimed a remarkable seventh Wimbledon title.
Afterwards, Kyrgios was full of praise for Djokovic, despite their past differences, calling him a “bit of a god.”
However, when he was asked whether reaching his first grand slam final had made him hungry for more, Kyrgios was emphatic.
“Absolutely not! I’m so tired honestly. Myself, my team, we’re all exhausted. We’ve played so much tennis,” he told Sue Barker on Centre Court.
“I’m really happy with this result and maybe one day I’ll be here again but I don’t know about that.”