WIMBLEDON, England — The opponents and details change from 12 months to 12 months, but the underside line has remained the identical.
Along with his trademark steeliness, Novak Djokovic defeated Nick Kyrgios in the boys’s final at Wimbledon on Sunday to win his twenty first Grand Slam singles title.
Djokovic seized control of the match late within the third set, then used his signature mixture of regular power and relentless discipline to maintain Kyrgios at bay to win, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3), in 3 hours 1 minute.
The victory gave Djokovic his seventh singles title at Wimbledon and his fourth in a row. He secured the trophy he cherishes greater than every other along with his twenty eighth consecutive match win at Wimbledon. It was his thirty second Grand Slam final. His record in those finals is now 21-11.
“I’ve lost the words for what this tournament means to me and my family,” he said as he clutched the trophy to his chest.
Kyrgios, playing in his first Grand Slam final, was the higher player early, outplaying Djokovic in every facet of the sport. But as he so often does, Djokovic eventually found out the small ways he could get the very best of Kyrgios, an often erratic Australian, on those few essential points that determine a tennis match as tight as this one.
The most important of those got here within the fourth-set tiebreaker, as Djokovic, moaning with every shot, battled through the rallies and enticed Kyrgios into 4 straight errors to take a 6-1 lead.
On his third match point, Djokovic pushed Kyrgios into the back of the court and watched one last backhand hit the web. He raised his arms, and as he has so again and again before, took a taste of the Centre Court grass in celebration.
“He’s a little bit of a god, I’m not going to lie,” Kyrgios said throughout the trophy ceremony, wearing a red cap fairly than the required all whites in a single last jab at authority in a tournament that had felt a lot of them.
On a warm day and sunny afternoon that felt more like Kyrgios’s home in Canberra than Djokovic’s in Monte Carlo, Centre Court had a tense atmosphere. Two future kings, William, the Duke of Cambridge, and his oldest son, George, sat just above the court within the front row of the royal box, with Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, the most important tennis fan and player within the family, on the opposite side of George.
Early on, Kyrgios did nearly the whole lot higher than Djokovic. He served harder and more accurately. He mixed spins and speeds and stood tall in the course of the baseline as Djokovic chased balls left and right and struggled to meet up with Kyrgios’s drop shots.
Kyrgios found his first opening within the fifth game, drawing Djokovic in with a sliced backhand, then passing him down the road for his initial shot at breaking Djokovic’s serve. A Djokovic double fault sent him skipping to his chair for the changeover, and five games later, he clinched the opening set with an ace, one among 30 he managed on the day, compared with 15 for Djokovic.
But then Djokovic began to do what he does higher than anyone else, find the slimmest crack and put his opponent on the defensive, regardless of what the scoreboard says. A primary set has been a learning experience for Djokovic.
He found that crack within the fourth game of the second set. With Kyrgios serving at 1-2, the massive Australian got into trouble quickly with a protracted forehand. Djokovic then unleashed a series of backhands, every one hit slightly farther into the court than the last, to get three probabilities for the service break. When Kyrgios’s forehand ticked the web and dribbled over, Djokovic was able to pounce.
It is never a sudden annihilation. As an alternative, the pressure mounts with each game. Djokovic’s opponent finds himself under pressure on every serve. It’s 30-30, then deuce, then break point, then one other. It’s more of the identical in the following game, and eventually it’s all an excessive amount of.
Because the match wore on, Djokovic moved more fluidly across the court, dancing to the ball, pounding it on every stroke and serve, and landing it closer and closer to the lines.
After Kyrgios dropped the third set, he pumped his fist toward his box, attempting to reassure his team. He began playing tennis at 7. It took him 20 years to succeed in this stage, far longer than most thought after he stormed onto the tour as a young person along with his speed and size and talent. Now it was all moving into the mistaken direction.
To his credit, Kyrgios never did combust. But regardless of how hard he ran or served or how sexy a few of those curling shots of his may need been, the wails of “Come on, Nick” that echoed across the 100-year-old ground and thru the sauced-up crowds on Henman Hill outside Centre Court, were no match for Djokovic’s relentlessness.
Within the long history of this tournament, there have been finals matchups with more storied champions and players much more beloved than Djokovic and Kyrgios, however it’s unlikely there has ever been one which presented a greater contrast in styles, each on and off the court, in tennis and life.
Djokovic, 35, entered the match second only to Rafael Nadal in Grand Slam singles titles.
Kyrgios, 27, had never even made a Grand Slam semifinal until last week. He still has not played in a single because Nadal withdrew from the tournament with an abdominal tear on the eve of their match.
“I slept terribly again last night,” Kyrgios said.
Djokovic, ranked third, is the last word counterpuncher, the best returner of serve to choose up a racket. He plays in collared Lacoste shirts and has chased tennis immortality with singular determination since he was a small boy in Serbia.
Kyrgios, ranked fortieth, plays in basketball tank tops and brings a rare mixture of power and hands able to turning a forehand blasted at his groin right into a willowy drop volley. But he has also proven as fragile as any elite player, vulnerable to erupt at an official, opponent or fan in essentially the most vile manner or to smash rackets at any moment. Kyrgios earned $18,000 in fines on this tournament, for spitting at a fan and using obscenities in a third-round match and on Sunday.
On Tuesday, news broke that Kyrgios was due in court on Aug. 2 to face allegations of assaulting a former girlfriend. Chiara Passari told the police Kyrgios grabbed her during a domestic dispute in December. On the recommendation of his lawyers, Kyrgios has declined to comment on the allegations.
Kyrgios has long had an ambivalent relationship with tennis, playing a handful of tournaments, then disappearing from the tour for months, unable to deal with life consistently on the road.
Until recently, he and Djokovic despised one another, trading insults in news conferences and on social media about Djokovic’s lax approach to the pandemic. Djokovic has refused to be vaccinated and held a tennis exhibition within the spring of 2020 during which several top players contracted the coronavirus.
They’re friendlier now, after Kyrgios voiced support of Djokovic after his detainment in Australia in January over his refusal to get vaccinated ahead of traveling to the country for the Australian Open.
During Sunday’s trophy ceremony, after Djokovic complimented Kyrgios on his performance, he joked that he never thought he could be saying so many nice things about his opponent.
Djokovic dropped some sets on the approach to the ultimate and had to return back from two sets down in his quarterfinal. But his destiny at this tournament was rarely unsure. Within the fifth set of that quarterfinal, he stretched for a backhand and ended up sprawled on the grass in a Superman pose, a shot that highlight reels shall be showing for many years. He played Superman again Sunday.
It stands out as the last Grand Slam event highlight for some time. Unless there may be a policy shift or he alters his stance on getting vaccinated, he won’t have the opportunity to enter the USA to play within the U.S. Open.
U.S. rules require all foreigners entering the country to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Djokovic has said he believes that individuals must be allowed to decide on whether to accomplish that without pressure from governments.
Also, because he was deported from Australia, Djokovic would wish a special exemption to return to that country to compete within the Australian Open in January.
On condition that, Sunday may need been his last probability to win a Grand Slam event until next May on the French Open in Paris. He made essentially the most of it. He often does.