Novak Djokovic – 28, father of one, 3 Wimbledon titles, 9 Grand Slam wins.
Roger Federer – 33, father of four, 7 Wimbledon titles, 17 Grand Slam wins.
It was only fitting that Tennis fans witness a Wimbledon final featuring two of the greatest Tennis players in the world. In the end, it was the tenacity and determination of Novak that persisted over the flamboyance of Federer. Sure, it wasn’t easy to beat a sublime Federer, ON grass, AT Centre Court – an area Roger has enjoyed feasting on over the years. But Djoker did what others couldn’t, not even Britain’s No.1, Andy Murray. He broke the Federer serve, almost as if he broke Federer’s sky-high confidence. This was coming.
Federer’s semi-final against Murray was probably the best Tennis he has played in recent years. His serving, in particular, was next to perfection. It was all too easy against Murray, who didn’t even come close to threatening the eventual 10-time Wimbledon finalist. Finally, we thought, Federer was on course for that elusive 18th title. With that form and those big serves, he could beat anyone.
But could he go past the machine that is Novak Djokovic? If anything, Federer had an outside chance, even though he started off as the crowd favorite. Djokovic was no Murray; he knew what exactly needed to be done against Federer. His ferocious returns to the Federer serve pushed the Swiss maestro beyond his limits. Not once, not twice, but Djokovic broke Federer thrice, the last break point ultimately serving as the Championship point for the Serb. And when his own serve put him in trouble, he eventually found a way out. Djokovic, refusing to give up, refusing to let go. Federer, unable to get a look in, not until the second set tie-breaker at least.
Though, it was commendable how the 33-year-old dragged Djokovic to a 4-setter, turning it into slightly less than a 3-hour classic movie. The World No. 1’s relentless display of brilliant groundstrokes questioned Federer’s agility time and again. Both Djokovic and Federer won 74% of their points on first serves. But that’s not where the comparison lies. Djokovic won 40% of his break points, as opposed to Federer’s 14%. Add to that 35 unforced errors from Federer, against Djokovic’s 16. There was a slight rain interruption early in the third set, giving both players a breather, more so for Federer. But not even the rain gods and the befriended Wimbledon Roof could help Federer get his mojo back. Djokovic came cruising at him after the break, applying his skill to utmost perfection, and becoming the first man to successfully defend his Wimbledon crown since Federer himself in 2007.