“Celebrating Centre Court–So Much History”
Wimbledon has given us greatness over the modern decades.
Rod Laver won 4-times in the early years of the ‘Open era’. John Newcombe won thrice.
Bjorn Borg dominated for five yeas in a row. Jimmy Connors had two wins. John McEnroe and his fiesya style wowed us 3-times. Boris Becker muscled his way to 3-wins.
Pete Sampras was a dominant summer champion 7-times.
Andy Murray won for queen-country-and himself twice. Even Andres Agassi and Arthur Ashe raised the trophy once.
But no one did what Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer did on Sunday. The Swiss star with 8-Centre Court wins to his credit. The Serbian had won 4-times, leading into Sunday’s showdown..
And then they rewrote the record book Sunday.
The debate will rage was this better than the Federer-Andy Roddick 16-14 finale in 2008, but this was different.
Electricity, excitement, tension, drama, exhaustion. It was all bundled together in a record long (4:57) match, decided under the newly installed tiebreaker rule that was put in place after the final set was tied (12-12).
Federer was dominant, but Djokovic was relentless, climbing out of the hole multiple times to climb back into the match, and eventually win it in the 7-point tiebreaker.
It capped an amazing weekend for both. Djokovic won a 45-shot rally in the semi finals on Friday. Federer won 25 and 26 shot rallies the same day.
Then Sunday happened.
Federer produced a record 25-aces in the final but lost. Djokovic had an unheard of 9-double faults, but won. This after he had his serve broken an amazing 8-times.
The Swiss star won a 35-shot rally, but the Serb came right back and won a 17-shot exchange.
It was back and forth, in one stretch, they broke each others serves in games 6-7-15-16. You could cut thru the tension and the anticipation with a knife thruout the final hours.
The pendulum swung wildly. Federer’s backhand display of shot making made him look unbeatable. He stormed the net and kept dumping drop shots in for key points. But just when it looked as if Djokovic was done, he rallied, spraying long shots to the corners of the court.
With defeat-death at his doorstep, he came right back, staving two championship points in the 17th games to stay alive.
But the same for Federer, he was down 4-2 in the final set, and stormed right back.
Neither gave up as the shadows overtook the court. Neither wilted under the pressure. Neither gave an inch to exhaustion.
And then the tiebreaker ended it all.
At center court in the post match festivities, both were nearly speechless as the Duchess of Windsor presented the runner-up plate to Federer and the Golden Trophy to Djokovic.
The champion, a 5-time winner,kissed the grass when it was over. The 8-time winning Djokovic won the hearts all 37-year olds still playing the game.
Wimbledon started in 1877. World War I interrupted it for four years. It ceased operation for 6-years after the Germans bombed the tennis sight in World II. It has given fans enormous joy ever since.
What we saw Sunday was brilliant, and now new records to chase going forward.
A shiny moment on the green grass that is the All Lawn Tennis Club in London. A Gentlemen’s final, played by two great warriors.
Wimbledon at its best.