Dazzling Djokovic savours victory over Federer

2014-07-07 08:30

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After almost four hours of mental torture, Novak Djokovic sank to his knees, crouched over the hallowed Wimbledon turf, plucked a blade of grass and put it in his mouth – never before had victory tasted so good.

It was a victory that he should have been celebrating almost an hour earlier, it was a victory that almost slipped through his sweaty fingers, it was a victory he had been craving for three years.

At 6.07pm local time yesterday, the Serb’s agony finally turned into ecstasy when Roger Federer whipped a backhand into the net to end one of the greatest finals seen at the All England Club and to elevate Djokovic to a double Wimbledon champion with a 6-7(7) 6-4 7-6(4) 5-7 6-4 victory.

Fifty-two minutes earlier the Serb had also stood one point away from victory at 5-4 in the fourth set – only to watch Hawkeye deliver the cruellest of blows.

The technology that left Federer seething in the 2007 final, when he yelled “God it’s killing me”, came to his rescue at match point down, ruling that the Swiss’s serve had in fact kissed the line after the line judge had called it out.

What should have led to a second serve from Federer had now turned into an ace, producing another twist in the gripping drama that had 15 000 people sitting on the edge of their seats and Djokovic tied up in knots.

“This win has a special importance to me mentally. Because I managed not just to win against my opponent but to win against myself as well and find that inner strength that got me the trophy today,” said an emotional Djokovic, who had lost five of his previous six grand slam finals.

“I needed this win a lot,” added Djokovic, whose Wednesday wedding with long-time girlfriend Jelena Ristic, has now turned into a double celebration.

The triumph handed Djokovic a seventh grand slam title – surpassing the total won by his coach Boris Becker – and halted Federer’s bid to become the oldest men’s champion at the All England Club for more than half a century.

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