Novak Djokovic stormed to his first Wimbledon crown as he saw off the challenge from defending champion Rafael Nadal in four sets. The 24-year-old Serb, with his country’s president watching from the Royal Box, won 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 in two hours 28 minutes to continue his domination of tennis – and Nadal in particular – throughout this most amazing season in his career.
Djokovic was untouchable on service and moved 5-4 ahead with his third ace, clipping the sideline – at which Nadal stared long and hard without issuing an official challenge for a Hawk-Eye decision. [photo-
Nadal finally applied the brake to that streak, albeit temporarily, by holding to love. Once more however Djokovic revved up, lifting his ace count to seven and wrapping up the second set in a little over half-an-hour.
This time he had conceded just five points on his serve and lifted his total count of winners to 22. With justification, Nadal looked a worried man. So it really did matter coming in to this match that in all four of his previous matches against the Spaniard this year, Djokovic had emerged victorious. Nadal admitted as much in his own post-final musings and Djokovic agreed.
The Wimbledon journalist Alix Ramsay write: “The sign of a true champion is how well he takes defeat. And judging by the way he explained his four-set pummelling by Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal is a true champion.
He may have been outplayed and out-manoeuvred for the best part of two-and-a-half hours but the beaten finalist took the defeat on the chin and owned up to his failings. There are not many men who would be as honest or as open in such a situation.
The reason for his defeat could be explained simply and swiftly: he was just not good enough to beat Djokovic. He did not take his chances, he was nervous and he was outplayed.
After losing four Masters finals to the Serb this year – in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome – he was twitchy in the pressure moments on Centre Court. Nadal made it all sound so logical and so normal.” Wimbledon appeared to have a new favourite, and not just among the knot of shirtless Serbs who would later bring a jarringly unbuttoned show of sporting nationalism to the rather restrained byways of the All England Club.
The next few years of Nadal-Djokovic promise much more of the same.