Looking back at the thrilling Wimbledon final
The most anticipated match of this tournament promised to be a great show – and it delivered more than it promised. Djokovic and Federer played a history-making match
On a Centre Court, with an atmosphere that felt at times more akin to football than tennis, Djokovic won 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 13-12 (7-3) on Sunday after a match whose intensity would put soccer to shame.
At the four hour 57 minute mark, Federer hit a ball high to hand the match over to Djokovic. Winning his 16th Grand Slam, the world number one has now consecutively won four of his 5 Wimbledon finals.
"It's quite unreal," Djokovic said after the historic win. Federer (37) who was chasing a record-equalling title said: "It was a great match, it was long, it had everything. Novak, congratulations, man, that was crazy."
The most anticipated match of this tournament promised to be a great show – and it delivered more than it promised. While the others managed to keep the crowd just as hooked, it was the final set that proved to be nerve racking.
Federer had been looking to become the oldest Grand Slam champion of the Open era but instead found himself part of a different record as the match time surpassed Wimbledon's longest final - the four hours 48 minutes of play in 2008 when he lost to Rafael Nadal.
"Epic ending, so close, so many moments. Yeah, I mean, sure there's similarities [between this and 2008]. I'm the loser both times, so that's the only similarity I see,” said a rueful Federer.
The incredible fifth set lasted more than two hours - both of Saturday's women's singles finals could have been fitted in that time alone.
Just looking at the stats would be a shame and the intensity of the match would be unfathomable. The Serb trailed the Swiss on first-serve points won, winners made, aces, break points converted, games won and total points won and led him on double faults. He won the key points - and none more so than in the final set.
A diving volley winner at 5-5 and 15-30 prevented Federer establishing two break points, while having let the Swiss take an 8-7 lead with an opportunity to serve for the match, he immediately broke back.
Ignoring the deafening "Roger, Roger" chants from the partisan crowd and the cheers for some of the top seed's double faults, Djokovic marched 6-3 ahead in the tie-break.
More drama ensued when the final point had to be replayed after a Hawk-Eye challenge, but Djokovic finally celebrated victory when Federer sent a forehand off the frame of his racquet.
The match ended with a smile on Djokovic’s face. A subtle celebration as he walked up and shook hands with his defeated opponent after becoming the first man to win a Wimbledon singles final having been down match point since 1948 when Bob Falkenburg saved three match points and came back to beat John Bromwich.
While the match will be remembered by many for its thrills, Federer said: "I will try to forget. I had my chances, so did he. We played some great tennis."
With inputs from BBC Sports.
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