Djoker claims historic Wimbledon title
NOVAK Djokovic has won the fifth Wimbledon title of his career, defeating Roger Federer 7-6 1-6 7-6 4-6 12-12 (7-3) in an incredible final on Monday morning (AEST) that will go down as one of the most memorable deciders ever seen at the All England Club.
Djokovic looked down and out on several occasions but was able to drag himself off the canvas and complete a five-set victory he will never forget - nor will the nearly 15,000 fans who packed into Centre Court for the thrilling contest.
The match made history on multiple levels. It was the longest ever men's singles final at Wimbledon, surpassing the 2008 epic between Federer and Nadal, and it was also the first time ever we've seen a tiebreak at 12-12 in the iconic Grand Slam.
A new rule was introduced this year whereby tiebreaks would be used to determine the result at 12-12 and it was fitting the first time it came into play was in the final.
If the first four sets were dramatic, the fifth was simply out of this world. Federer broke Djokovic to go up 8-7 and had two championship points but the Serb miraculously saved both of them, denying the Swiss his fairytale finish before turning the tables.
From 8-8 both players served strongly and we found ourselves at 12-12 as the tension reached breaking point. But Djokovic showed why he's such a champion, displaying remarkable stamina, skill and mental strength to hold on for an unforgettable win as he kept cool in the most important breaker of the match.
"I think this was, if not the most exciting and thrilling final I was ever part of then definitely top two or three in my career against one of the greatest players of all time in Roger, who I respect a lot," Djokovic said.
"Unfortunately in these kind of matches, one of the players has to lose.
"It's quite unreal to be two match points down and come back ... and quite strange to play a tiebreak at 12-all too.
"He (Federer) inspires me for sure.
"I know I've said this before but when I was a boy ... this always has been the tournament for me. It's where I wanted to participate and where I wanted to win one day.
"It's extra special sharing it with my son in the crowd, my parents, my whole team."
The pair traded sets after Djokovic won the first in a tiebreak and Federer's level dipped just enough for Djokovic to pounce when it mattered most in the fifth. The Serbian broke his longtime rival for the first time in the match to take the decisive advantage but Federer broke back and things went on serve for the remainder of the clash until Djokovic edged ahead in a thrilling finale.
The Serbian was nowhere near his best for much of the match but he willed himself to victory with nothing more than sheer determination even when key elements of his game were letting him down.
Djokovic's serve was off and, despite being widely considered the best returner tennis has ever seen, the world No. 1 couldn't muster a single break point opportunity in the opening three sets. Instead, he saved his best tennis for crucial tiebreaks in the first and third sets while Federer imploded.
The Swiss star let himself down badly in the breakers, shanking ground strokes as he handed his opponent easy win. In the first set tiebreak he botched three forehands and lost four straight points and it was a similar story in the third as he went down 7-4.
Normally so good in clutch moments, Federer couldn't match Djokovic in the high-pressure moments and the 32-year-old steeled himself to win a 16th grand slam title, moving to within two of Rafael Nadal.