London, July 15:
Novak Djokovic saved two match points to clinch a fifth Wimbledon title and 16th major on Sunday, shattering Roger Federer’s bid to become the oldest Grand Slam champion in the longest final ever played at the tournament.
Despite being outplayed by the 37-year-old Swiss for large parts of the knife-edge encounter, the world number one triumphed 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 13-12 (7/3).
At 4 hours and 57 minutes, it was the longest Wimbledon final ever played and settled by a final set tiebreak for the first time.
Djokovic is the first man in 71 years to win the title from match points down.
He is now level with Bjorn Borg as a five-time Wimbledon winner.
“I think that if this is not the most exciting final then definitely it’s in the top two or three of my career against one of the greatest players of all time, Roger, who I respect,” said Djokovic.
“Unfortunately in this type of match someone has to lose. It is quite unreal to be two match points down to come back and strange to play a tie-break at 12-12.”
Djokovic is just four Grand Slam titles shy of the all-time record held by Federer who is more than five years older.
It was incredibly tough on Federer, chasing a ninth Wimbledon crown, who didn’t face a break point until the eighth game of the fourth set.
He even had two match points in the 16th game of the deciding set which lasted over two hours.
“It was long and it had everything. I had answers, so did he and we played some great tennis,” said Federer.
“I hope I give some other people at 37 the feeling it is not over yet.” Djokovic”s win meant that the “Big Three” of men’s tennis — himself, Federer and Rafael Nadal — have won the last 11 Slams.
He has now won nine of his last 11 clashes against Federer and three of their four Wimbledon meetings.
With William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge looking on from the Royal Box, Federer carved out the only break point of the opening set.
But Djokovic saved it and with serve dominating, the set was decided by the tiebreak.