NOVAK Djokovic has drawn level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on a record 20 Grand Slam titles each following a four-set victory over Matteo Berrettini in the Wimbledon final overnight. The world number one came back from a set down to win 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-3 in three hours and 24 minutes, to lift his sixth Wimbledon crown.
“It was more than a battle,” Djokovic said post-match. “Winning Wimbledon was always the biggest dream of mine as a child. I know how special this is and I don’t want to take this for granted. I was a seven year old boy in Serbia, constructing a Wimbledon tennis trophy with improvised materials in my bedroom and now I am standing here with six titles. It’s incredible.”
Not only did he bring up half a dozen Wimbledon titles, but the Serbian top seed also officially tied for top spot for the most Grand Slam singles titles of all-time. Prior to the rise of the “Big Three” Pete Sampras lead the way with a then-impressive 14 majors, but in the past two decades, Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have won a combined 60 to all share the top billing. It seems fate accompli that Djokovic will eventually go it alone at the top with the world number one in the best form, and the youngest of the trio.
“It means none of us will stop [playing],” Djokovic said. “I have to pay a great tribute to Rafa and Roger as legends of our sport, the two most important players in my career and why I am the player I am today. “They made me realise what I needed to improve, mentally, physically and tactically.
“When I first broke into the Top 10, for three or four years, I lost most of the big matches against these guys and something shifted at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. “The past 10 years have been an incredible journey and it’s not stopping here.”
Despite the impressive win, Djokovic did not have it all his own way, cruising to a 5-2 lead in the opening set – and earning a set point in the eighth game – before Berrettini hit back win four of the next five games and force a tiebreaker. There, the Italian won 7-4 to claim the first set, and refused to be budged by the Serbian.
Berrettini smashed home 57 winners to 31, but had 48 unforced errors to 21, and the reliability of Djokovic’s serve came to the fore. The world number one only put up the five aces to four double faults – compared to Berrettini’s 16 and three – but Djokovic won 79 and 53 per cent of his first and second serve points off a 61 per cent clip. He also won a higher 71 per cent of his points at the net compared to the seventh seed’s 62 per cent.
Breaking six times in the match including four times in the final three sets, Djokovic held firm and made life difficult for Berrettini to make any inroads upon return. The Italian admitted he was beaten by a better player on the day, and a better player in history, deserving of the all-time Grand Slams record.
“Novak was better than me, as he is a great champion,” Berrettini said post-match. “He is right in the history of the sport and he deserves all the plaudits. “I hope it’s not my last Grand Slam final. “It’s such an honour to be here and it’s been a really great run the past couple of weeks and also at The Queen’s Club.”
WIMBLEDON FINAL RESULT:
 Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated  Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-3
Picture credit: ATP Tour