LONDON: Defending champion Novak Djokovic saw off seven-time champion Roger Federer in four sets to win his third Wimbledon and ninth Grand Slam title.
The Serb, 28, won 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (10-12) 6-4 6-3 to overtake the likes of Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi and Ivan Lendl in the all-time list of major winners.
Federer, 33, had hoped to become the first man to win Wimbledon eight times.
The Swiss won a thrilling second set tie-break but Djokovic came through to win in two hours and 56 minutes.
“I have to say it’s a big challenge playing against Roger,” he said. “A lot of players of my generation have looked up to him and followed his lead.
“He makes you push your limits, work hard and win every single point.”
Federer said: “I had my chances in the first set. I got lucky to win the second, had chances in the third.
“But he was better on the bigger points. He was rock solid, I didn’t play badly myself. That’s how it goes.”
Djokovic adds a third victory at the All England Club to one US Open and five Australian Open titles, and the Serb has now won 48 matches and lost just three in 2015.
The world number one’s most recent defeat came against Stan Wawrinka in last month’s French Open final, but five weeks later he has gone some way to making up for missing out on the one major title to still elude him.
Federer had given his supporters real hope that he could overturn last year’s final defeat by Djokovic after his stunning serving performance in the semi-final win over Andy Murray.
It was Djokovic who came up with the big serves when it mattered, however, saving six of seven break points, two of them on set points in the opening set.
After Federer failed to consolidate an early break his first serve deserted him in the tie-break and Djokovic took advantage, moving into a 6-1 lead before the Swiss double-faulted to hand it over.
The Serb won 14 of 15 points and then fended off two more break points in game five with his forehand as Federer continued to play catch-up.
When Djokovic worked his way to a set point for a two-set lead, he appeared to be closing in on victory, but the top seed sent a forehand long and a breathtaking half hour of tennis followed.
Three gripping games of cut and thrust heralded another tie-break, and the 15,000 spectators on Centre Court could barely contain themselves as Djokovic saw a 6-3 lead slip away after a stunning Federer backhand.
Djokovic became increasingly animated as the set points came and went, a seventh when he missed a regulation rally ball, and the crowd erupted when Federer converted his second at the net.
Amid the cheering in the stands, the top seed smacked his racquet angrily into his foot and shook his head in disbelief as he returned to his chair.
It was apparently enough to clear his head and, far from suffering a crisis in confidence, the defending champion would dominate the remainder of the match.
He pushed hard for a break at the start of the third, missing two break points in game one before Federer netted under pressure in game three.
A rain delay might have disrupted the Serb’s rhythm but the shower passed within 15 minutes, with no need for the roof to be brought over, and Djokovic saw out the set comfortably on the resumption.
Now constantly threatening the Federer serve, a sharp return to the 17-time Grand Slam champion’s feet gave Djokovic the crucial breakthrough for 3-2 in the fourth.
There were tense moments for the champion when he had to recover from 0-30 at 4-3, seemingly angered by someone in the crowd, and he roared in their direction after holding serve.
The altercation merely fired up Djokovic even more and he won six straight points on his way to match point, before firing a forehand into the corner and flinging his arms in the air in celebration.
Djokovic then repeated his tradition of previous Centre victories by eating some of the famous court’s grass, while coach Boris Becker and his team celebrated in the stands. – [BBC]