Home / Sports / Novak Djokovic masterfully retains Wimbledon crown

Novak Djokovic masterfully retains Wimbledon crown

Nick Kyrgios says he does not know whether he will be back in a final
Novak Djokovic in a celebratory mood after winning his seventh Wimbledon title,  defeating Nick Kyrgios in four sets on  Sunday.
Novak Djokovic in a celebratory mood after winning his seventh Wimbledon title, defeating Nick Kyrgios in four sets on Sunday.
Getty Images

Reuters   |   London   |   Published 11.07.22, 01:26 AM

What was expected to be a fine blend of tennis, trickery and temper, ended in “bromance”, but amidst all that Novak Djokovic masterfully retained his Wimbledon crown, not allowing Nick Kyrgios to enforce an upset.  

Djokovic stayed serene amid a frenzied atmosphere to tame the fiery Australian in an engrossing final on Sunday, lifting a seventh Wimbledon trophy and taking his grand slam title count to 21.

Rallying from a set down, Djokovic exhibited ice-cool nerves in sweltering conditions to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3) for his fourth consecutive trophy at the grasscourt major to close in on Rafa Nadal’s record 22 grand slam titles.

By lifting the Challenge Cup once again, Djokovic drew level with childhood idol Pete Sampras in the all-time winners’ list and is now just one shy of Swiss Roger Federer’s record eight Wimbledon titles.

After completing his win in just over three hours, Djokovic raised his arms to the sky and after shaking hands with Kyrgios, he bent down to pluck some grass from the famous old court and tasted it before running up to his player’s box to kickstart the celebrations.

“It always has been and always will be the most special tournament in my heart, the one that motivated me, inspired me to start playing tennis in a small mountain resort in Serbia where my parents used to run a restaurant,” said an emotional Djokovic.

“My first image of tennis was grass and Wimbledon. I always dreamed of coming here, just playing in this court, and then realising the childhood dream of winning this trophy.

“Every single time it gets more meaningful and more special, so I’m very blessed and very thankful to be standing here with the trophy.”

Australian’s good start

Competing in a men’s record 32nd major final on a sun-bathed Centre Court, the 35-year-old was facing an unseeded opponent who had never been beyond the quarter finals at a grand slam before this fortnight.

In their only two previous meetings — both in 2017 — Djokovic did not win a set, did not once break the Kyrgios serve and had only a single break point opportunity.

Five years later, it was another sublime serving performance from the Australian during the early stages.

A couple of well-disguised drop shots from Kyrgios helped him set up two breakpoints in the fifth game and a double fault from Djokovic brought up the first break of serve, which was enough for Kyrgios to take the set.

A focused Kyrgios, however, did not forget to entertain when he could. There was an underarm serve and he hit a return on the half volley between his legs to delight the crowd.

No-one, however, expected it to be an easy straight-sets match.Djokovic’s delivery went up a gear in the second set and the Serb slowly but surely started demonstrating why he is considered the best returner in the sport.

Once the level of the Kyrgios serve dropped in the second set, Djokovic was ready to pounce.

Rant vs calm head

With Djokovic serving to level the match at one set apiece, however, Kyrgios raised his game to set up four break points, only for the top seed to save all of them and convert his first set point to leave the Australian fuming.

Furious with himself, Kyrgios poured out his frustrations in a lengthy rant aimed at his box and the Australian maverick was his usual hot-headed self during the third set as Djokovic started playing pristine tennis.

He got broken from 40-love up in the ninth game and continued swearing and screaming, earning himself a code violation for obscene language.

The drama across the net, however, did not have any impact on Djokovic’s focus.

He held serve to win the third set.

After both players failed to create a breakpoint in the fourth set, Djokovic dominated the tiebreaker and sealed the Championship on his third match point for his 28th straight Wimbledon win when Kyrgios found the net on a return.

Dinner deal

After the battle, Djokovic said he would make good on his deal to buy Kyrgios drinks and dinner.

In the build-up to the final the players, who previously had a frosty relationship, were all peace and harmony with a deal being made for the winner to buy dinner, although Kyrgios had suggested they “go nuts in a club”.

“I don't know if we’re going to make it happen tonight or some other night,” a beaming Djokovic said on court.

“This is a start of a wonderful relationship between us off the court as well. I didn’t

respond to the (nightclub invitation) as my wife was sitting next to me. Let’s start with dinner and drinks and let’s see.”

Djokovic, with wife Jelena and young daughter Tara in the box, then revealed it was his wedding anniversary so Kyrgios may have to wait a little longer for his night out.

He had more encouraging words for his defeated opponent.

“I wish you all the best man, I really, really respect you a lot,” Djokovic said. “I think you are a phenomenal tennis player and athlete and amazing talent.

“I never thought I’m going to say so many nice things about you considering the relationship. It’s officially a bromance.”

Kyrgios said he did not know whether he would be back in a Wimbledon final.

“He’s a bit of God, I'm not gonna lie,” Kyrgios said of Djokovic.

“I thought I played well. It’s been an amazing couple of weeks for me personally.”

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