London (AP) – Novak Djokovic tasted this Wimbledon victory particularly sweet when, after his sixth triumph on the London lawn, he chewed with relish on a torn blade of grass.
Together with the 15,000 fans on the legendary Center Court, he celebrated the setting of the longed-for record by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal after winning the 20th Grand Slam title. And the way to becoming the best tennis player in history is not far.
“The last ten years have been an incredible journey that does not end here,” said the world number one on Sunday after the hard-won 6: 7 (4: 7), 6: 4, 6: 4, 6: 3 against the Italian Final debutants Matteo Berrettini in the three and a half hour final. “He is now in the history of his sport, so he deserves all the praise,” said Berrettini, who two hours before the European Championship final of Italy’s footballers against England at Wembley spoke of “perhaps too many emotions to cope with”.
The Golden Slam would be possible
With the trophy in hand, Djokovic paid tribute to his long-term rivals Federer and Nadal in carefully chosen words. «They are legends of our sport. They are the two most important players I have ever faced in my career. She helped me understand what I have to improve in order to be here now, “said Djokovic and, after equalizing her record, prophesied:” That means that none of us will stop. ” Federer reported on Twitter just a few minutes after the final: “Congratulations Novak on your 20th major.” Rafael Nadal also congratulated “this incredible success”. “20 Grand Slam titles are enormous and it is unbelievable that the three of us are tied,” wrote the 35-year-old.
Djokovic is only two more steps away from a major achievement that is unique in the men’s field. Should the 34-year-old win Olympic gold in Tokyo in three weeks and then clear the US Open trophy, he would have made the Golden Slam. So far, only Steffi Graf has succeeded in 1988. However, Djokovic questioned his actually planned Olympic start after the exclusion of spectators and because of the corona-related restrictions on Sunday evening.
The so-called Grand Slam – winning the four most important tournaments in one season – was last achieved by Australian Rod Laver in 1969. “I will definitely try,” announced Djokovic. The Australian Margaret Court holds the all-time record with 24 Grand Slam titles.
The day before, world number one Ashleigh Barty won the women’s title for the first time. The 25-year-old defeated the Czech Karolina Pliskova 6: 3, 6: 7 (4: 7), 3: 6 and was the first Australian to triumph since 1980. The German talent Nastasja Schunk missed the junior title.
The Briton Neal Skupski and the American Desirae Krawczyk won the mixed title at Wimbledon. The number seven seeded duo won the final on Sunday in London 6: 2, 7: 6 (7: 1) against Joe Salisbury and Harriet Dart. The British pairing had defeated German professional Kevin Krawietz and his Czech partner Kveta Peschke in the semifinals.
With “Nole, Nole” calls to victory
Djokovic politely asked Duchess Kate about her tennis after his triumph in the clubhouse. Hours earlier, he initially appeared unusually nervous in his 30th Grand Slam final, but Berrettini initially went unpunished. Italy was represented in an individual final at Wimbledon for the first time when it came ninth in the world rankings, and the last men’s Grand Slam title was 45 years ago. It seemed as if the 1.96 meter long underdog would have to deal with himself for the first time in his biggest match to date.
Djokovic had a set ball at 5-2. But he missed that as well as the chance to get the set at 5: 3 with his own serve. Now Berrettini had reached the final and actually won the tiebreak with an ace. But the number one continued to play unmoved after the first deficit since the opening match, his opponent fell into the mistakes from the beginning.
One month after his success in the quarter-final duel against Berrettini at the French Open, the Belgrade player then again presented the first break in the third set in sun and clouds. Djokovic kept this lead because he now served strongly, defended well as usual and attacked when it was possible.
Djokovic celebrated an amazing rally before the 3: 3 in the fourth set with an outstretched index finger and gestures to applause to the audience. That fired with “Matteo, Matteo” calls on the wobbly outsider, who gave Djokovic the break to 4: 3 with a double fault. Then “Nole, Nole” shouts echoed across the square – the nickname of Novak Djovkovic, who used this advantage to make a decision.