First of all, congrats to Djokovic. Second, I was wrong. Third, I’m very happy to be wrong. As was the case last year, I’m very grateful to have been a part of another extraordinary Wimbledon final. Wimbledon really does bring out the very best of the best and fully deserves its status as the most prestigious tournament in the world. Just unreal quality and drama again today. I am still mentally drained from watching, but I have to get a post out.
- Opening Set: 7-6(1) Djokovic
Federer came out where he left off against Murray in the semis looking to take the initiative which he did at 3-2 when he broke Djokovic to love to take a 4-2 lead. He was cruising through service games with the help of his unplayable serve and soon Djokovic cracked under the pressure on his own serve. But as soon as Federer took the initiative he lost it again, failing to consolidate. Djokovic played a sick return game which included a brutal backhand pass that forced the error from Federer at the net. 4-3.
It quickly became clear that Federer was not playing another Murray. This was altogether a different animal he was dealing with. Federer was still holding serve with relative ease though, and at 6-5 and 40-30 on the Djokovic serve he held a set point. You could be excused if you still thought Djokovic was another Murray at this point because Federer was only a point away from winning the first set 7-5 the way he did against Murray. But again Djokovic reminded us why he is world #1 and a mental giant when he dug himself out of that hole.
6-6. Tie-break time. Having dug himself out of that hole in that last game, I kind of liked Djokovic’s chances going into the tie-break. And he immediately made his move as he broke Federer on the first point with a remarkable get and control down the line as he thread the needle to pass Federer. Djokovic just raised his game to a god-like level in the tie-break as he bossed Federer from the baseline with sheer power and precision. Federer could only manage one point as Djokovic breadsticked him in the tie-break.
Suddenly things were looking pretty bleak for Federer after bringing his A game in the first set. Djokovic, on the other hand, showed immense mental strength the way he came back from a break and a set point to dominate the tie-break. The first set was clearly massive in the context of the match and Djokovic showed probably the best level that I have seen in my entire life. Talk of cometh the man cometh the hour. Just ridiculous!
- Second Set: 7-6(10) Federer
It was time for Federer to regroup. Losing the first set was a big setback after playing a very good set but unlike Murray Djokovic is a tennis god. Many people would have missed this either due to bias or ignorance, but you only play as well as your opponent allows you to. Here is why:
- Federer did not have the serving advantage he did against Murray for two reasons: Djokovic is a better returner and a better server. He doesn’t have a weak second serve which Federer can freely abuse and he has a very good first serve himself which he can win free points off of the way Federer can.
- He didn’t allow Federer to push him around on the baseline the way Federer did with Murray. He is both a better offensive and defensive player than Murray. He went toe to toe from the baseline with Federer and then some.
- Djokovic is mentally far superior to Murray. He gets in Federer’s face. He acts like he owns the place. He believes he is better and knows it.
So once the first set was over Federer knew he was in desperate trouble already. It was highly unlikely that he was going to win in four sets from there, and even if he pushed it to five sets Djokovic would be the favorite. That said the match was far from over and Federer was still putting loads of pressure on the Djokovic serve. At 2-2 he had a break point but couldn’t convert and Djokovic clinched the game with a monstrous forehand winner up the line. In this set, the scoreboard pressure was on Federer as Djokovic served first.
So at 4-5 and serving Federer almost cracked under that pressure as he served a double fault at 30-30 and gave Djokovic a set point for a two sets to love lead. A virtual match point. Djokovic made a deep return but then missed a regulation forehand. Federer was let off the hook and held serve. At 5-5 Djokovic made things way harder for himself than he should have after missing a sitter forehand volley. He appeared to be nervous but held serve. Federer did the same and another tie-break ensued.
This time it was Federer who broke serve on the opening point, but Djokovic soon raced ahead again and held three more virtual match points at 6-3. I think Federer forced the error on the first point but on the second Djokovic made another unforced error. Then at 6-5 he made a first serve which resulted in the weak reply from Federer but Djokovic went the wrong way where Federer was waiting and Federer steered the backhand into the open court which forced the error from Djokovic.
Another opportunity was gone. But that was not all. At 10-9 Djokovic held yet another virtual match point and made yet another unforced forehand error. Finally, since Djokovic didn’t want the second set, Federer took advantage and claimed the tie-break 12-10 himself. Huge drama and Federer was right back in the match. I felt Djokovic really let himself down mentally in that set after being so clutch in the first set. He made three unforced errors and chose the wrong side on four virtual match points.
- Third Set: 6-4 Djokovic
As a Djokovic fan, the second set was tough to digest. He really should have been two sets to love up from which there is almost no chance at all that Federer could come back. But now they were squared up at a set apiece. And right at the beginning of the third set Djokovic was back to wasting chances as he was up 40-15 on Federer’s opening service game but failed to break again. He was then also a break point down in his next service game which was very dangerous indeed.
If Federer had taken that point then there was a legit momentum swing and Federer was in the ascendancy. The drama just wouldn’t stop! Djokovic showed some more immense mental strength though as he held serve and went on to break Federer in the next game. Quickly Djokovic was back in control of the match and this time there was no way he was gonna let it slip again. At 5-4 he held serve to love to get into a very strong position against his older opponent at two sets to one.
- Fourth Set: 6-3 Djokovic
But after what we saw last year you couldn’t write Federer off just yet. Little by little Djokovic’s rock-like mental strength started to take its toll on Federer though. At 2-2 he broke serve again after more relentless pressure from his return game. At 4-3 he held serve and at 5-3 Federer would serve to stay in the match. Would we see another miraculous comeback from Federer? Not this time. At 30-15 Djokovic was ready to drop the hammer as he hit a brutal backhand return winner which he followed up with a blood-curdling ‘COME OOOOON!’ that signified the end for Federer.
The predator had patiently sized up his prey and it was time to pounce and finish him once and for all, which he did with another monster forehand winner and a roar of triumph.
- Final Thoughts
Even writing this post had more adrenaline flowing through me. I was incredibly tense throughout the match and found it difficult to watch. It was a kind of torture, but a good torture. I desperately wanted Djokovic to win after what happened at the French Open. That was simply brutal after all he’s been through there, but thanks to Stan the man it was easier to deal with for Djokovic. And so much for the people who thought that loss would cause a drop in form for Djokovic.
The guy as the absolute heart of a champion and doesn’t know the meaning of the words ‘give up’. He came back after that 2013 French Open loss stronger than ever and he did it again now. I have immense respect for that and it shows me that his tough childhood taught him how to fight back from adversity. This season is now starting to rival his 2011 season. For me, he is the favorite for the US Open too. He is too good a hard courter to have only won one US Open so far.
For me he deserves this title more than anyone, and not just because he won it. He has been by far the best player this year but was dealt an impossible draw at in Paris which he made the best of. If he lost to another unplayable Swiss today it would have been devastating, but of course he didn’t come off a nerve-wracking quarterfinal with Nadal and a marathon five-setter with Murray that stretched across two days and gave him no rest day for the final. He was much better prepared.
The level he showed today was the highest level of tennis I have ever seen, aside from the mental slips in the second set and his insistence on lobbing Federer which didn’t pay off once. He should have passed on many more occasions, but his passing wasn’t great either. But you have to give credit here to Federer as well for how he fought back in the second set and for how he covers the net. He almost forces you to go for the lob, but then he has the safest overhead in the world.
Anyway, I think with the level Djokovic showed today he could have beaten Stan in the French Open final too. I really do believe now that he was mentally tired in that final after what I saw today. His whole demeanor was different today. He looked fresh, strong and imposing, whereas in Paris he looked tired and impotent. But that is all erased now with a third Wimbledon title and a ninth slam. He is by far the best player in the world. No one is close. I didn’t even know he had the level he showed today.
Just unreal. As for Federer, he remains an inspiration to be playing as well as he is at almost 34 now. His level against Murray was extraordinary, and I guess you could say he peaked too early too. But yeah, Djokovic made things very difficult for him indeed. He just could not impose himself the way he can against just about everyone else(not peak Nadal). I really thought this was Federer’s time again after doing his dues and walking the long road back to his best.
And I do believe he was back to his best. He said it himself and Pat Cash said it on twitter again today. The match against Murray was as good as anything I’ve seen from him. I thought a record 8th Wimbledon was his destiny, but Djokovic is scary good. I can only watch in sheer awe and admiration. As a massive tennis fanatic, the level I saw from him today is something very exciting and inspiring. I can’t wait to see what is next for this guy and how far he can take this.
I always knew he was a special talent, but today he exceeded my expectations. Federer was playing better than last year, but Djokovic’s game had improved even more. His serve is now a lethal weapon and he has become more than a competent net player. For both of those things, his coach Becker deserves huge credit and it obviously has a huge influence on his grass court success. He is more aggressive off the ground too I think. He just keeps improving and becoming more and more complete.
- A Note to Fedfans
I just want to extend my sympathies to the balanced Fedfans who wanted Federer to win one last Wimbledon today. I know it’s tough on you guys, but I’m sure you can appreciate what you saw from Djokovic today as well. What I think should also help you is that Nadal did not win the French Open this year thanks to Djokovic so that he didn’t come any closer to Federer’s slam count. Federer has still won three more slams than anyone else and only a spoiled rotten Fedfanatic would be unhappy with that.
- The Prediction Game
Only three people were crazy enough to go for Djokovic today and they were Charlie, Abert, and Veronica. Charlie got the amount of sets and the order of the sets correct as well so he is the winner today with 9 points. Outstanding job(yes I know you wanted to be wrong lol)! And the winner of the prestigious Wimbledon title in our prediction game is….wait for it….the myth, the man…..none other than Joe! Congrats! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer blog reader and well done!
Actually Joe was late with a prediction once so he should probably have won by more than one point but a win is a win! You will now be displayed as the best predictor in the tennis world on the front page of my blog until the next tournament! Seriously though, good stuff Joe. You have been extremely consistent and that takes tennis knowledge no matter how hard you try to deny it! Thanks to everyone for playing it was fun and I think we should do it again! Or what do you think?
Ps. I will update the rankings and points after this post.
The is in your court.