Published: Mon, July 15, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Djokovic saves match points, beats Federer in historic Wimbledon final

Djokovic saves match points, beats Federer in historic Wimbledon final

"It's hard to tell", he said.

He claimed his fifth Wimbledon title and second in a row.

Djokovic now has 16 major singles titles, Federer has 20, with Spain's Rafa Nadal - Federer's semi-final victim - squeezed between them on 18. At times the atmosphere was like an worldwide football match, with the crowd doing all they could to try and will Federer on to a ninth Wimbledon title.

Sunday's contest marked the third Wimbledon final between the two all-time greats, with Djokovic winning the last encounters in 2014 and 2015.

This one was unlike any other, though. He was serving extremely well, I thought, the entire match.

"Of course, if you have the majority of the crowd on your side, it helps, it gives you motivation, it gives you strength, it gives you energy".

Both players looked out on their feet after almost five hours of compelling combat but, as he did in the day's two other tiebreaks, Djokovic proved more steadfast.

It is destined to be discussed for years.

The crowd prepared to salute the oldest man to win a Grand Slam in the professional era but Djokovic showed incredible resolve and refused to accept defeat. "I'm very strong at being able to move on, because I don't want to be depressed about actually an wonderful tennis match".

Although upset he'll be heading home with the runner up silverware, Federer isn't going to get too down on himself because he knows he played a heck of a match - even if his level was shaded by Djokovic in the most important moments. "But Novak, it's great. But you've got to go dig, see what they are", Federer said.

First, it was Federer who kept falling behind, then coming back.

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A forehand mistake cost Federer his first match point and then he watched in horror as Djokovic whipped a forehand victor across him as he approached the net. He was down a break early in the crucible of the fifth. Djokovic had to battle back after losing the first set to Murray. Soon enough, the 32-year-old Djokovic had broken back and on they would play for another 45 minutes.

Djokovic has done this to him before.

The Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati begins the next week and serves as a warm-up event for the U.S. Open.

Looking at the bigger picture, there's also this takeaway from Sunday: Nadal's status as Federer's principal nemesis has been well-documented and much-examined over the years which is a small part of why Friday's semifinal victory for Federer was fraught with meaning.

"Unfortunately one player has to lose and we both had our chances". Federer had the only break point of the set at 2-1, but sent a forehand wide.

And then there were the "Awwwws".

"It triggered him to fight in the fifth set", said Becker, who coached Djokovic between 2013 and 2016.

What already was fun to watch became completely riveting.

Per his unorthodox tradition, the Serbian player bent down, plucked a few blades of grass from Centre Court and proceeded to munch.

He said after the loss that he had made a decision to miss the Rogers Cup a week ago.

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