Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer 6-7(7), 6-4, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4 in the 2014 Wimbledon Men’s Final on Sunday in London, England.
After the match, an emotional Djokovic said, “Roger is a magnificent champion..a great athlete and a role model for kids. I respect everything you’ve done…so thank you for letting me win today.”
The match was an exhibition of extraordinary fitness, exquisite shot-making and tense rallies and it was truly an example of a result turning on just a few points.
The first set was played at a high level portending much of what was to come for the next 4 hours and as both men held serve reasonably easily, a tiebreaker was the decider of who would take the early lead. Djokovic held two set points but Federer fought one off with a forehand zinger and two strong first serves resulted in winning points, giving the seven time champion a 9-7 tiebreak win.
In the second set Djokovic seemed to get even stronger on his own serve and in the third game, took the early break lead by taking advantage of a Federer double-fault along with his own cross-court forehand winner to convert for a 2-1 lead. The two men would hold serve comfortably for the rest of the set and at 5-4, Federer would finally string enough points together to look at his first break point of the afternoon.
Djokovic would answer with a strong first serve followed by a forehand winner, an ace up the middle and another first serve/overhead combination to secure the second set 6-4.
The third set manifested how strong service can be difficult to pierce….until the eleventh game when Federer staved off break point with a service winner. He then closed the game with aces 19 and 20.
Djokovic held at 15 and another tiebreaker awaited the two for a pivotal lead in the match. One miss-timed forehand and a framed backhand on set point were the only egregious errors by Federer…but just enough to give Djokovic a 7-4 win and a one set advantage.
The two champions would exchange breaks of serve (three in a row) in the early portion of the fourth set but when Djokovic solidified the second break, he had a commanding 5-2 lead. Federer then reeled off five straight games, including a match point saved in the tenth game. Federer answered the break/match point with an ace and shortly thereafter, served two more aces to tie the match 5-5.
A possibly rattled Djokovic lost three quick points in the 11th game and on Federer’s third break point, sailed a backhand long for the game. Federer easily held at 15 and suddenly the match was tied at sets apiece.
The fifth set took the familiar picture of easy holds until the eight game when Djokovic had three break opportunities – only to be thwarted again by a resilient Federer. The match was now 4-4.
Federer missed two makeable overheads in the ninth game and Djokovic struck a forehand drive for 40-15. A service winner left Djokovic one game from the championship.
In the tenth game Djokovic, nearly falling, hustled defensively to garner an error on the first point. Two more aggressive service returns and the uncanny ability to come out on top of two more rallies set Djokovic up with two match points. This time….he hit out on the Federer serve which caused a weak return into the net… and the 2014 Wimbledon Men’s Final Championship.
As Djokovic stood on the balcony with his second Wimbledon trophy, commentator John McEnroe opined, “Federer played as well as he could play. He needed to bring his A game just to keep it close.”
True enough. Novak Djokovic proved that nobody gives him anything…..he won and took the championship.
The victory was the 7th Grand Slam victory for Djokovic. He will return as the Number One player in the World Rankings next week.