Novac Djokovic successfully defends his Wimbledon title from last year by beating a familiar foe in Roger Federer.
By Patrick Comia
You couldn’t have scripted this any better at Wimbledon on Sunday.
The event featured the world’s number one ranked player in men’s tennis, Novak Djokovic against the men’s number two ranked player in Roger Federer, a rematch of last year’s Final.
Different year, same result.
This time the outcome was known after four sets, not five as was in 2014.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 12, 2015
Before the match even started, the talk surrounded Federer and his bid for a record eighth championship. After besting Andy Murray in the semifinals, all fingers pointed for the former number one and dominant player of the 2000’s to raise the Swiss flag one more time.
In order to do that, he had to contend with today’s number one ranked player in Djokovic. The two have met 39 times, with Federer winning one more match with 20 over the Serbian.
However, today Djokovic had the last say in their 40th meeting and made their rivalry even in wins. And to his credit, Djokovic didn’t listen to the pregame chatter of Federer and channeled his inner-Boris Becker for inspiration and motivation. Becker, a three-time Wimbledon champion, has been Djokovic’s coach since December 2003.
There were times when you could see the former grass-court king in Djokovic. At certain points in the match, he was easily the most emotional, letting out screams of frustration and jubilation after his play.
After the second set, one where Federer won a tiebreaker (the second of the match), both players got to rest on the sideline. Djokovic was visibly upset and screamed in frustration about the missed opportunity to close out the seven-time champion Federer. In the tiebreaker, he had five opportunities for set point.
However, ever the competitor, Federer staved off elimination and rallied from being down 4-6 to claim the tiebreaker at 12-10 and take the second set.
Still, something was different about today. Djokovic made things uncomfortable for Federer. In today’s match, he caused Federer to do things that were out of the ordinary. Unforced errors such as hitting the balls into the net, making Federer hit wide and long shots all were not seen in Federer from his last match.
Also, Djokovic’s abilities play the ball, hitting it deep and putting spin on the tennis ball made life difficult for Federer at Center Court today.
After a twenty-five minute rain delay, the Djokovic took over. Already up 3-2 in the third set, he continued mixing up his serves and attacking the net. Federer had no answer, and finally yielded in the fourth set.
When the final point was scored, Djokovic did his customary ritual:
Winning never tasted so sweet was probably what was on the Serbian’s mind.
Djokovic’s win (7-6 “7-1”, 6-7 “10-12”, 6-4, 6-3) over Federer, tied his with his coach with three wins at the All-England Tennis Club. Former tennis pro Patrick McEnroe described his play today as “relentless”.
And, that it was.
For Federer, it will be another year for his next opportunity. However, how many does he have left?
He will be 34-years old next month. If he needs to draw on inspiration from someone his age, just look over at this year’s women’s champion Serena Williams, who won her sixth title at the same age.
No worries Federer fans, he left a cliffhanger with his runner-up speech today that led many to believe Federer is not done yet: “I’m still hungry and motivated to keep playing”.
— Tennis Photos (@tennis_photos) July 12, 2015
However, today was Djokovic’s day in the sun. He has nine Grand slam wins and plenty of momentum heading into next month’s U.S. Open.
But, between now and then, he and his coach have some celebrating to do, especially the pupil.