World No.1 Novak Djokovic defeated Italy’s Matteo Berrettini 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in the final on Sunday to clinch his sixth Wimbledon title and 20th Grand Slam crown overall. The Serb celebrated his victory by chewing on the grass from the hallowed centre court.
By winning the title on Sunday, the Serb top seed joined Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the other two members of the Big Three, as the players with the most number of Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era.
Djokovic came back after losing the first set in the tiebreaker and dominated the proceedings, breaking his Italian r’val’s serve at crucial junctures in the next three sets.
Though Berrettini, playing his first Grand Slam final, started tentatively, he recovered to take the first set into the tiebreaker as Djokovic made an indifferent start. This was the first set that Djokovic lost after winning 18 in a row.
However, the Serb fought back, found his rhythm in the second set, and slowly ground down his opponent. Though at 34 he is nine years older than Berrettini, Djokovic relied on his supreme fitness to subdue an opponent who had come into the final with an 11-match winning streak after winning the title ‘t Queen’s Club here.
Though both players won nearly equal points on their first serve, Djokovic attacked ‘errettini’s second serve — he had a higher conversion rate as compared to his rival. As usual, Djokovic returned well and committed only 21 unforced errors as compared to 48 by Berrettini.
This was Djokovic’s third Wimbledon title (2018, 2019, 2021; there was no event in 2020) in a row and this Grand Slam title of the year after winning the Australian Open and at Roland Garros. He has now set himself up perfectly for a calendar Grand Slam — winning all four majors in the same calendar year, a distinction that was last achieved by Australian legend Rod Lever in 1969.
Though it appears from the scoreline that the last three sets of the four-set encounter were easy for Djokovic, the Serb said it was not. He said it was more than a tough battle, though Berrettini was playing his first Grand Slam final.
“It was more than a battle. Tough match today. He’s got a very powerful game, a true Italian hammer, an Italian hammer and I felt it on my skin a few times today,” said Djokovic.
Explaining what this trophy means to him, Djokovic narrated the story he has often told previously — of dreaming of winning the Wimbledon by making a replica of the trophy in his room when he was seven years old.
“Winning Wimbledon was my biggest dream as a kid. I will repeat this story just to remind myself how special this is and not take this for granted,” Djokovic said at the prize distribution ceremony.
“A seven-year-old boy preparing Wimbledon trophy with improvised material in his room, and today standing here with my sixth Wimbledon trophy, it’s incredible.”