Djokovic’s mental resolve wins out in Wimbledon classic

Novak Djokovic can become a safe grand slam bet once again after claiming his second Wimbledon title yesterday, according to his coaching team.

Djokovic, who had lost five of his previous six grand slam finals, was staring at a shattering defeat to Roger Federer yesterday but he simply refused to be beaten and took his second match point to win 6-7 (7/9) 6-4 7-6 (7/4) 5-7 6-4.

Djokovic’s coach and three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker hailed his mental resolve to shrug off that missed opportunity in the fourth set and still claim victory.

“It was a great standard of tennis throughout the five sets, and obviously Novak won the last point,” said Becker, after Djokovic’s 6-7 (7/9) 6-4 7-6 (7/4) 5-7 6-4 victory.

“He had that match point, he served for the fourth set, but Roger wouldn’t be Roger if he wouldn’t always find another shot.

“We were all dying out there, keeping it cool from the outside, but burning up inside.

“We’re looking pretty good now: he’s back to number one, Wimbledon champion, obviously he’s going to take a couple of weeks off now but the next big one is the US Open.

“He lost in the final to Rafa (Nadal) there last year so hopefully he can go one better.”

It was the Serbian’s seventh grand slam title and his second Wimbledon triumph, while Federer will be left to wonder whether he will ever get a better chance to win an 18th slam.

Djokovic failed to convert a championship point in the fourth set, leaving his coaches fearing a momentum shift.

The momentum was all with Federer, and physically Djokovic was struggling, too, taking a medical time-out after the third game of the fifth set for treatment to his right leg.

Federer piled on the pressure in the seventh game and brought up a break point but then netted a backhand.

Djokovic held and the match had swung towards him as Federer faced three break points but each time the Swiss came up with an answer.

The third, when he dug a half-volley off his toes, was one of the shots of the championship.

But Djokovic was pressing hard and two games later he brought up two match points.

This time Federer could not fight back, the Swiss netting a backhand as Djokovic celebrated a hugely emotional victory after three hours and 57 minutes.

Djokovic conceded he feared the match might slip away after failing to convert a match point in the fourth set.

“After dropping a fourth set it wasn’t easy to regroup. I tried to compose myself and find the necessary energy to win the fifth. I don’t know how I managed to do it,” said Djokovic.

“This is the tournament I always dreamed of winning. This is the best tournament in the world, the most valuable one.”

Djokovic knelt to the turf to eat some of the famous All England Club grass to greet his victory — just as in 2011.

The Belgrade native lost out in last summer’s final to Andy Murray, and admitted it was a thrill to win again.

“The last time I won here was part of a fantastic year, and it’s just amazing for it to happen again,” he said.

Fitness trainer Gebhard Phil-Gritsch backed Djokovic’s sixth grand slam title to rebuild the brittle confidence that led to that spate of defeats in finals.

“He has just had to keep on working hard and we hoped that would pay off,” said Phil-Gritsch. “We are very happy that this has happened here today.

“We were very confident at that point that the match would be over any minute.

“But credit has to go to Roger, from the first to the last, his serve was outstanding and he played a great match.

“The quality of the match, in my eyes, was outstanding, from both players.

“In the end just a couple of points decided the match, and luckily it went our way.”

A clearly-deflated Federer remained as gracious as ever in defeat despite failing to claim his 18th grand slam title.

The 32-year-old did however concede he was pleased with his run to the final, especially after his wretched 2013 that was dogged by back injuries.

“He’s a great opponent and I would just like to congratulate Novak on histitle,” said Federer.

“You know going into a match against Novak it’s going to be tough, I can only say congratulations. I’m certainly delighted to have been able to be back here again in this final.”


Lifestyle

Their paths first crossed in the classroom 13 years ago for childhood sweethearts Emma Murphy and Kevin Leahy.Wedding of the Week: Lessons in love started in the classroom for childhood sweethearts

“This podcast features something never previously heard — anywhere, from anyone — the confession tape of an Irish serial killer.'Podcast Corner: Chilling story of an Irish serial killer

Children’s creativity is inspiring, says Helen O’Callaghan.Inspiring creativity: Kids on call for climate essay

'I came here for one thing, and that's to shine. That's why I'm wearing all this sparkly shit.'Review: Mick Flannery and Valerie June, Right Here Right Now festival, Cork Opera House

More From The Irish Examiner