Novak Djokovic has become the first man since 1969 to win the first three Slams of the year after winning Wimbledon today defeating Matteo Berrettini 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.
“Winning Wimbledon was always the biggest dream of mine as a child,” said Djokovic who matched Rod Laver’s first three titles in 1969 . “I know how special this is and I don’t want to take this for granted. I was a seven year old boy in Serbia, constructing a Wimbledon tennis trophy with improvised materials in my bedroom and now I am standing here with six titles. It’s incredible.”
The title is Djokovic 20th in a Slam which ties him atop the all-time men’s leaderboard with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The Big 3 trio will head to US Open with the lead at stake.
“It means none of us will stop,” Djokovic said. “I have to pay a great tribute to Rafa and Roger as legends of our sport, the two most important players in my career and why I am the player I am today. They made me realize what I needed to improve, mentally, physically and tactically.
“When I first broke into the Top 10, for three or four years, I lost most of the big matches against these guys and something shifted at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. The past 10 years have been an incredible journey and it’s not stopping here.”
Djokovic had a rough start to his 7th Wimbledon final, surviving two double faults in his opening game. In his biggest match, Berrettini was equally as sluggish and the 25-year-old bit the bullet going down a break. But Djokovic couldn’t capitalize on a 5-2 lead, and in the breaker it was the underdog coming up with the goods to steal the set from the Serb in an improbably comeback.
Djokovic, though, quickly regrouped breaking Berrettini twice to burst out to a 4-0 lead in the second, and that set the tone the rest of the match.
Djokovic would get early breaks in both the third and fourth to coast relatively comfortably to his seventh title in his last eight Slam finals.
“Definitely felt slightly more nervous than I usually feel at the beginning of today’s match, particularly the first set,” admitted Djokovic. “I think after the first set was done, I just felt relief.
“Obviously it was not great that I lost the first set. But on the other hand I just felt like I just wanted to get this first set over with so I could just start to swing through the ball and play the way I want to play.”
Djokovic was all over the net winning 34 of 48 net approaches. While the drop shot wasn’t that effective as it has been, Djokovic was getting to Berrettini on his second serve. Berrettini finished winning 76% of his first serves with 16 aces, but won only 38% of second.
Djokovic has now won his last 21 matches at Wimbledon and is 21-0 this year in Slams. He hasn’t lost a match since turning 34 in May.
Berrettini, who was playing in his first Slam final, was trying to become the first Italian man or woman to ever win Wimbledon.
“Novak was better than me, as he is a great champion,” said Berrettini. “He is right in the history of the sport and he deserves all the plaudits. I hope it’s not my last Grand Slam final. It’s such an honor to be here and it’s been a really great run the past couple of weeks and also at The Queen’s Club.”
His last two losses have come to Djokovic.
“The most important thing for me is that right now I’m losing against the best players in the world. In Paris, I lost against him, and he won the tournament,” said Berrettini. “In Queen’s, I won, and then I lost against him again here. It means that my level is growing. It means my weapons and my tennis, in general, is growing. That’s the right path. That’s the right thing that I’m doing.
“It means that I’m there. It means that I deserve to be here. Today, again, Novak was the better player on court, but I’m getting closer. Every match that I’m playing against them helps me to get closer.”
Before the Calendar Slam chase resumes in New York, Djokovic has a first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics on the line later this month, if he so chooses to go. At the least, New York will be huge and he’s now just seven wins away.
“I could definitely envisage it happening and I will definitely give it a shot,” said Djokovic of the Calendar Slam. “I am in great form and I am playing well at the Grand Slams. So let’s keep it going.”
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