Djokovic stops Federer to defend Wimbledon crown
Originally published on 12/07/15
In a rematch of last year’s final, Djokovic once again emerged victorious to claim his 200th Grand Slam match win, and with it his ninth major title, just five weeks after the disappointment of missing out on a career Grand Slam at Roland Garros.
Thirty years after Boris Becker’s maiden triumph at the All England Club, the world No.1 equalled his coach’s tally of three Wimbledon titles with a 7-6(1) 6-7(10) 6-4 6-3 victory. Djokovic, who is the first man since Federer in 2007 to successfully defend his Wimbledon title, has now won more majors than Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi.
"I knew coming on the court Roger is going to play like he always play, at his best when it matters the most,” said Djokovic, who celebrated in customary fashion by tasting the Centre Court turf. “He makes you work hard every single point. You work hard all your life, every day. You envisage yourself being on the Centre Court, holding this trophy. It's a very thrilling feeling."
Bidding to win his first Grand Slam in three years, 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer had dropped his serve just once in six matches en route to the final and it was the Swiss who made the first move, breaking Djokovic to love for a 4-2 lead. However, Djokovic hit back immediately, and after saving two set points to stay in the first set, the Serb raised his game, demonstrating a fine display of speed, anticipation and defence to take the opening set tiebreak.
In 39 previous meetings between the pair, Federer had only beaten Djokovic once after losing the first set, and when presented with the chance to get back into the match, Federer saw two break points pass him by midway through the second set, but after staving off set point, the 33-year-old saved another six to take a thrilling tiebreak 12-10, the longest tiebreak in a Wimbledon final since 2000.
With the match finely poised, Djokovic made his move early in the third set, breaking for a 2-1 lead after Federer sent a forehand long. Following a brief rain delay at 3-2, Federer was unable to find a way back, and Djokovic sent down a smash to seal the third set.
With Djokovic edging closer to victory, the Serb broke for a third time to move within touching distance before breaking once again in the final game, sending down a forehand winner to secure his sixth title of 2015.
"My game is good. I got broken very few times this tournament. I played on my terms," said Federer. "I feel it was perfect preparation playing Andy [Murray] in the semis because it felt like a final. But I was very much aware that that was not a final."