By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon
- Novak Djokovic  def. Roger Federer  7-6(5) 1-6 7-6(4) 4-6 13-12 (3)
WIMBLEDON, UK – A little piece of history was made as a tie-break decided the fifth and final set in the Men’s final, with Novak Djokovic claiming the spoils.
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You expect the best from the final, and this did not disappoint. Much as the hype surrounding the rematch here between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, there was a worry that the effort of avenging that defeat from that epic match had taken it out of Federer. He admitted he was exhausted and relieved it was all over – hardly a fitting mind set ahead of a Wimbledon final.
The first set was a typically tight battle – with Federer the first to put pressure on Novak Djokovic‘s serve but couldn’t convert the first break point of the day. There would be no more chances as the first set was decided by a tie-break, with Federer losing his early advantage and relinquishing the first set.
Federer struck back immediately in the second, breaking twice in succession and finishing off the set against a lacklustre Djokovic who seemed to be struggling at this point with all the elements of his game.
The pair returned to top form with a highly competitive third set with neither giving any quarter, until Federer brought up a break point for the set – again unable to convert on his chance. This time the tie-break looked a little more one-sided for Djokovic as he edged ahead once more in the match.
The four-time champion was many people’s picks for the title, but he started to lose his grip once more on the match as a resurgent Federer broke twice. Djokovic grabbed one of the breaks back but it was not enough to take us the distance.
The final set was one of missed chances for both – Djokovic failed to capitalise on three break points, lost his serve and got things back on serve. Federer saw two match points go begging at 8-7 and once more failed to convert his chances, carving out a little piece of history as the 12-12 tie-break rule came into play for the first time the singles, having been used in the doubles already.
All it took were two mini-breaks for Novak Djokovic to resume his grass-munching habits on Centre Court as he won his fifth title, tying him with Bjorn Borg and bringing his tally to 16, two behind Rafael Nadal and four behind Roger Federer.
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Djokovic said, after the match: “It was probably the most demanding, mentally most demanding, match I was ever part of. I had the most physically demanding match against Nadal in the finals of Australia that went almost six hours. But mentally this was different level, because of everything.
“I thought most of the match I was on the back foot actually. I was defending. He was dictating the play. I just tried to fight and find a way when it mattered the most, which is what happened.
“In a way it’s normal also to expect that there are more nerves in play. Playing finals of Wimbledon against Roger, so…”
Records are there to be broken, but for Federer that had never been his motivation.
“The chase is in a different place. I take motivation from different places, you know. Not so much from trying to stay ahead because I broke the record, and if somebody else does, well, that’s great for them. You can’t protect everything anyway.
“I didn’t become a tennis player for that. I really didn’t. It’s about trying to win Wimbledon, trying to have good runs here, playing in front of such an amazing crowd in this Centre Court against players like Novak and so forth. That’s what I play for. Yeah, so things are different now. But I’m very happy with my level of play nowadays still.”
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