Novak Djokovic ended Nick Kyrgios’ run at the Wimbledon championships to claim his seventh title at the historic grass court tournament.
The Serbian defeated the Australian in four sets to win 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to lift the trophy once again on the centre court of the All England Club.
Djokovic has now won the last four Wimbledon titles and, after being barred from the Australian Open and losing at the French, is back in the race to try and surpass rival Rafael Nadal with the most Grand Slam singles titles in the men’s competition.
Speaking to the crowd on Centre Court after the match, Djokovic said he understood the prestige of winning successive titles at Wimbledon.
“It (Wimbledon) always has been and always will be the most special tournament in my heart,” he said. “The one that motivated me and inspired me to play tennis.
“I was four and-a-half five years’ old and I saw Pete Sampras win his first Wimbledon in . My first image of tennis was grass and Wimbledon and I always dreamed of coming here.
“Realising the childhood dream and winning this trophy, every single time it get’s more and more meaningful and special.”
Whilst Djokovic emerged victorious at yet another Grand Slam (his 21st), Kyrgios was appearing in his first final contesting a major title.
Also the first unseeded player to make the finals since fellow countryman Mark Philippoussis in 2003, Kyrgios started strongly in the first set.
He appeared calm and relaxed as he nailed his service game and hit groundstrokes and passing shots confidently.
Kyrgios brought out his bag of tricks with an underarm serve, up 40-nil, in his opening service game, although Djokovic won the point in a fast start to the first set.
The Aussie took the first set after overcoming debutant jitters and getting the break at 3-2.
Djokovic, however, did not seem flustered at dropping the first set of a match for the third straight time.
A 23-shot rally during the third game of the second set led Djokovic to chart his way to victory.
It helped the world number three gather the momentum to break Kyrgios’ serve for the first time in their three-game rivalry – the last two which were won by Kyrgios on the ATP tour.
After winning five straight points against his opponent and then breaking the Kyrgios serve to win three break points, Djokovic led 3-1 early in the second set.
The nine-time Australian Open champion clearly frustrated his opponent.
Djokovic’s ball striking and court movement clicked into gear as he made his 40th seeded opponent hustle for every point on his own service game.
In early signs of a lapse in his mental discipline on the court, Kyrgios gave away several points on serve as the second set began to slip from his grasp.
Djokovic meanwhile had quietly found his rhythm and began to lock in by playing point for point.
His ball striking and court movement clicked into gear and operated like a well-oiled machine as he made his 40th seeded opponent hustle for every point on his own service game.
Djokovic had successfully neutralised the bombs that were reigning down on him from the Kyrgios first serve by forcing him into awkward positions on the court.
The Aussie was made to make an extra shot to keep the ball in play as momentum swung in Djokovic’s favour.
Nick Kyrgios hails tennis God Novak Djokovic:
— C Kristjánsdóttir ●🐊 (@CristinaNcl) July 10, 2022
Kyrgios attempted to change tack by becoming adventurous with drop shots and he began to volley off the Djokovic serve and return. But it worked against him as he overplayed the drop shot in an attempt to win cheap points that were just not there.
Despite these pitfalls, Kyrgios did not disappoint with the prolific execution of his powerful, yet sublime and effortless, forehand winners that left the packed crowd gasping for more.
He managed to play game for game in the third set after after Djokovic took the second but the Serbian won a break point to go up 5-4.
The third set which came to an eventful end after Kyrgios was handed a code violation by chair umpire Renaud Lichtenstein after the Australian complained about a fan who appeared to speak midway through his service motion when he was up 3-2.
As the match went on dominance on groundstrokes would begin to emerge as a critical component of winning.
Down two sets to one with just over two hours of game time gone the signs looked ominous for Kyrgios heading into the fourth set. The man from Belgrade boasts a 10-1 record in five setters at Wimbledon.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 10, 2022
Djokovic opened his service game in the fourth with confident grounds strokes and enterprising play which included tight back hand drop shots that tested Kyrgios’ movement inside the court.
Kyrgios bounced back to take a 2-1 lead in the fourth on serve just as Djokovic was hitting his forehand shots comfortably and with vigour.
The Aussie began to warm into his first and second serves again in the set and at one point quipped to his box saying, “it took him (Djokovic) two hours and 21 minutes to miss a second serve return”.
Both players continued to hold strong on serve, splitting six games between them in the fourth.
The game remained delicately poised at four-all in the fourth despite Djokovic being up two sets to one.
He produced some remarkable shots to assert his dominance in the set. At one point off the Kyrgios serve, Djokovic made a sublime return off his backhand from a volley from Kyrgios which landed on the left-hand corner of Kyrgios’ side of the court
Prince William and the Kate Middleton watched on from the Royal Box as the Canberra native slumped his shoulders at the sight of the return, with the set headed to a tiebreak.
The opening two points were won by Djokovic. He quickly sailed to a 4-1 lead as Kyrgios sprayed several shots wide of the court when keeping the ball in play on serve.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 11, 2022
Two quick fire aces from Kyrgios got him to 6-3 but it wasn’t enough to stop the inevitable.
It ended an exciting fortnight for the the 27-year-old but also a tumultuous one. He battled with match officials and fans throughout the tournament including an incident in his first round win where he spat in the direction of a spectator who appeared to abuse him and labelled a lineswoman a “snitch” after a call went against him in the game.
He also faces a charge for allegedly assaulting his former girlfriend and will face court next month.
Meanwhile Djokovic indicated that he had no plans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 meaning he will not be able to compete at the upcoming US Open due to the tournament’s vaccination mandates.
It could leave the door open for Nadal to win three Grand Slam titles this year as the tennis world awaits the pending return of 20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer from his troublesome knee injury.
Main Image Screenshot: Stan Sport.