Djokovic enters dreamland in SW19
Originally published on: 02/09/11 13:27
Novak Djokovic proved that losing the French Open semi-final was merely a momentary blip in his scintillating season after superbly seeing off defending champion Rafael Nadal to win his first Wimbledon crown.
With his victory, Djokovic ended the Spaniard’s unbeaten SW19 run that had stretched back to the 2007 final, and added a third Grand Slam title on top of his two Australian Open triumphs.
“It’s really hard to describe this with any words. It’s the most special day of my life. This is my favourite tournament. The tournament I always dreamed of winning. I think I’m still sleeping,” said the jubilant Serb. “When you’re playing the best player in the world, I had to be on top of my game,” he added. “I’ve probably played the best match on the grass courts ever.”
Towards the end of his dream week, Djokovic had pinched the world No.1 ranking off Nadal after defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semi-finals, but the Belgrade native had to hit a new level to take top dog status on the lawns of south west London. Though Djokovic managed just 65% of first serves compared to 81% from Nadal in the opening set, it was the rallied exchanges, not serving statistics, that truly separated the pair.
Consistently winning the baseline battles, Djokovic rattled off the first two sets but conceded the third to the Mallorcan, who he had already defeated in finals in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome in 2011. But when Nadal threatened a fightback, Djokovic pulled ahead again in the fourth set after an earlier exchange of breaks and it was a lead he would not relinquish.
Setting up championship point with a successful serve and volley effort, Djokovic bounced the ball for what felt like an age as the magnitude of the moment threatened to take hold. But cool as can be, he fired a thumping serve, drove the ball deep, and forced Nadal to send another forehand long before falling to the floor in disbelief.
“I can imagine how Novak feels today,” said Nadal. “It is a very special day and I’d like to congratulate him.”