20 major titles! Wimbledon in the books as Novak Djokovic’s calendar slam quest continues
Novak Djokovic captured his 20th major crown, defeating Matteo Berrettini in four sets to claim his sixth Wimbledon title. For the first time, Djokovic has pulled level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the all-time men’s singles Grand Slam titles list with 20.
It seems that every time Novak Djokovic takes the court at a Grand Slam tennis’ history books must be rewritten, and Sunday at Wimbledon was no exception as the world-beating Serb rallied from a set down to defeat Matteo Berrettini 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 to claim to tie Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the all-time men’s singles Grand Slam titles list with twenty.
Djokovic, who became the fourth player in Open Era history to complete a Wimbledon three-peat, has now won 21 consecutive matches at the All England Club and, more impressively, 21 consecutive matches at the Grand Slams. With his victory over Berrettini, the World No.1 has become the first male player since Rod Laver in 1969 to capture the first three major titles of a tennis season.
Once again, a comeback for Djokovic
It was a tense, nervous start for Djokovic and after 70 minutes of play he found himself down a set to Berrettini. The deficit was made to look even more ominous by the fact that Berrettini, who entered the final on an 11-match winning streak, had never lost a single match on grass after winning the opening set.
But Djokovic, who won this year’s Roland-Garros after trailing Stefanos Tsitsipas two sets to love, always seems to know the way back from a deficit.
Djokovic went about his business methodically from that point, gradually lifting his level and squeezing Berrettini in the biggest moments to take control of the contest. After taking the middle set, Djokovic locked down his serve and did not surrender a break in sets three and four.
He continued to exploit his advantage of the net, and finished by winning 34 of 48 such points, as he pulled away from Berrettini. Djokovic finished the match with six breaks of serve against the Berrettini serve – the Italian had dropped serve just five times in his previous six matches at Wimbledon.
“He is a great champion,” Berrettini said after the match. “He’s writing the history of this sport so he deserves all the credit.”
Berrettini: Just the beginning
Berrettini was bidding to become the first Italian to win a Wimbledon singles title and the first man from his country to win a Grand Slam men’s singles title since Adriano Panatta at Roland-Garros in 1976.
“It’s such an honour to be here – an unbelievable feeling. It’s been a great run over two weeks, also before at Queen’s. I couldn’t ask for more,” he said, before adding. “Well, maybe a little more.”
Berrettini, 25, produced an effort this Wimbledon that points to a bright future for himself, even after a difficult experience in his first Grand Slam final. He spoke of being inspired to do more, even though he was disappointed with the loss in Sunday’s final.
“It’s been a really long path, a long journey, and hopefully it’s not done,” he said. “For me it’s not an end but a beginning, hopefully, of a great career.”
Djokovic: The journey is not stopping here
Djokovic paid tribute to his key rivals on court after the final, but warned that he isn’t finished rewriting tennis’ record books.
What does it mean to him that he’s level with Federer and Nadal in Grand Slam titles after all these years? he was asked.
“It means none of us three will stop,” he said, before adding “I have to pay a great tribute to Rafa and Roger, they are legends of our sport and they are the two most important players that I ever faced in my career – they are the reason that I am where I am today. They’ve helped me realise what I need to do in order to get stronger mentally, physically, tactically; when I broke into the top-10 for the first time I lost for three, four years, most of the big matches that I played against these two guys, and something shifted at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011, and the last ten years has been an incredible journey that is not stopping here.”
Calendar-year Grand Slam? Let’s keep it going!
Now that Djokovic is the first player in 52 years to claim the first three legs of the calendar-year Grand Slam, the World No 1 says he intends to keep riding the hot hand.
“I could definitely envision that happening,” he said of the milestone. “I’m hoping. I’m going to definitely give it a shot. I’m in a great form and obviously playing well and playing my best tennis at the Grand Slams is the high priority that I have right now at this stage of my career so let’s keep it going.”
Next stop, Tokyo!