Djokovic won his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title. Photo Adrian Dennis / AFP
2022 was complicated for Novak Djokovic: exiled from Australia for his refusal to get vaccinated against the coronavirus; forced to withdraw from the first 1000 Masters scheduled for the same reason; eliminated from Roland Garros by a Rafael Nadal who played that tournament with one foot; and unable to defend, for various reasons, his juicy collection of points from an almost perfect 2021, which cost him the number one in the world. Nole needed a win. And he did it, none other than in the Cathedral of World Tenniswhere he once again wrote his name in the great history of one of the most prestigious tournaments in this sport.
The Serbian was crowned Wimbledon champion by beating Australian Nick Kyrgios in the final, one of the surprises of the tournament, whom he beat 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and 7-6 (3) in four sets. The number three in the ranking raised the trophy for the seventh time on the London lawn and was the second most successful player of the competition, together with the American Pete Sampras and the local William Renshaw (seven-time champion before the Open Era begins). Only Roger Federer, who accumulates eight crowns, surpasses them in that statistic.
Djokovic too became the fourth player to win the title in four or more consecutive editions, after Swede Björn Borg (five between 1976 and 1980), Sampras (from 1997 to 2000) and Federer (also five between 2003 and 2007). The Balkans had just conquered it in 2018, 2019 and 2021 (2020 was canceled due to the pandemic).
And he also added his 21st Grand Slam, broke the tie with Federer (who has 20 “majors”), bridged the gap with Nadal, the historic record holder with 22 awards in this category, and re-launched the speech on who is he GOAT, the best player of all time. What better way to “save” a year of great disappointments?
“I no longer know how to describe what this tournament means to me. It is and will be the most special in my heartn. What motivated and inspired me to play tennis in a small mountain resort in Serbia, “he commented freightchampion of the competition also in 2011, 2014 and 2015.
A few minutes earlier he had completed that rite with which he celebrated his victories in All of England: He knelt in the courtyard and ate some of that “sacred” herb, which was the scene of his new conquest. One that has a very particular flavor, due to the context in which it is obtained.
“This year hasn’t been like the last. I was impressed with what happened in Australia during the first few months. I tried to get it behind me quickly, but everyone was talking to me, the press, people all over the world. ..I needed time for The storm is over. I was not well mentally or physically, “he reflected.
Djokovic celebrated his 21st Grand Slam by eating some of the “sacred” turf of All England. Photo Adrian Dennis / AFP
And he continued: “In Dubai, my first tournament of the year, I had a lot of emotional pressure, I wasn’t feeling well on the pitch. I was patient and believed that at some point I would be at the level I wanted. Well. Wimbledon historically has been. very important in many moments of my career. It is no coincidence that this tournament has been so important in my life. This is also a relief. ”
freight had arrived in London – where he has not lost since the quarter-finals of 2017 – with a title won this season – that of the Masters 1000 in Rome, in which he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final – and with good sensations, but also with some uncertainty due to lack of shooting in the season and almost nothing preparation on this surface, in which he only played in the previous one performance in The Hurlingham Club of the English capital.
He had some “bumps” in his way. He has given up on a partial debut against the South Koreans Soon woo Kwon, 81st in the standings. He was one step away from greeting in the quarter-finals, when the Italian Sinner Jannikone of the jewels of Next generationstole his first two and forced him to build an epic comeback.
And Kyrgios, a player who showed a very high level of tennis throughout the tournament and who had reached the final after the defeat of Nadal in the semifinal, surprised him with great shots and an aggressive game by winning the first chapter of the most important duel. But the Serbian took advantage of his experience, his hierarchy and that winning mentality that led him to be one of the best in history to overturn the game.
“He’s a bit of a god, I’m not going to lie. I thought he played well, but instead he is back as always “, reflected Kyrgios, recognizing the superiority of his opponent.” However, it was an incredible two weeks for me “, added the Australian. bad boy of the circuit, who had the pleasure of competing in his first Grand Slam final, in the tournament that is one of his favorites.
The title, however, isn’t entirely sweet for Djokovic. Because the English Grand Slam did not distribute points for the ranking this year, due to a decision by the ATP which thus responded to the exclusion from the competition of Russian and Belarusian players due to the invasion of Ukraine. Therefore, despite his consecration, The Serbian will lose the two thousand points he had to defend for last year’s victory this Monday. And, as a result, he will appear this Monday in seventh place in the rankings.
His fall could be accentuated in the coming months, because it is not yet known whether he will be able to say that he will go to the United States to compete in the cement tour that will culminate in the US Open, where he was a finalist in 2021. since for now that country requires the vaccine against Covid to foreign visitors. If the laws do not change, the Serbian will miss the last major of the year, with what that would mean for his ranking and his aspirations to catch up with Nadal in the fight to be the most successful in this category.
Djokovic and the audience of Wimbledon, the tournament he has won seven times in his career. Photo Daniel LEAL / AFP
“I will rest for the next two weeks, because it has been a very difficult period of competition. Then, I hope they give me good news about the US Open, because I want to play,” commented Balkan. “If it doesn’t happen I’ll have to see how my schedule is going. I don’t think I’ll go to tournaments just to score points. With this title I’m already qualified for the ATP finals here, if I don’t fall out of the top 20. I’m not vaccinated and I don’t have any. I plan to do so, the only novelty I expect is that they remove the rule of having to vaccinate or give me an exemption.
Maybe Nole will have time to think about the near future and what will happen, or not, in New York. Today Serbian is pure happiness. Because he has finally found his smile after a troubled start to the year with many ups and downs. Because he has once again raised the English Grand Slam trophy, that tournament he dreamed of winning as a child and which is very special to him. And because, in the end, he rewrote his name in place of him: among the great tennis champions of the world.
“I’m over the moon to have been able to relive this feeling,” said the new champion. “I was four or five when I saw Sampras win his first Wimbledon in 1992. I asked my father and mother to buy me a racket and my first image of tennis was grass and this tournament. So I dreamed of coming. here, playing on this track and fulfilling my childhood dream of winning this trophy. It is becoming more meaningful and special. ”