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Novak Djokovic continues his formidable collection in 2021. The Serb won the Wimbledon tournament on Sunday for the sixth time in his career, against the Italian Matteo Berrettini. With 20 Grand Slam victories, he equals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
He had a date with history. Novak Djokovic had made no secret of it: when he arrived in London two weeks ago, his goal was to triumph again on the lawn of Wimbledon and join the two other titans, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, in the annals of tennis. “That’s why I’m here. That’s why I play,” he recalled after his semi-final victory against Denis Shapovalov.
Mission accomplished for the Serb, Sunday July 11. Opposed to Matteo Berrettini in the final, the world number one won in four sets (6-7 , 6-4, 6-4, 6-3). Here he is with a strong record with six coronations at Wimbledon, and therefore now 20 Grand Slam victories. Like Federer and Nadal. Monstrous.
Novice Berrettini jostled the boss
If he is not the darling of the Wimbledon public, which prefers Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic is a regular there. Before Sunday, he had six finals here, for five wins and one loss. A London – and global – liability much larger than that of his opponent of the day.
Matteo Berrettini, 25, arrived like a comet in the circuit. After a timid pro debut in 2015, the colossus (1.96 m and 96 kilos) had a click two years ago. He has since settled into the top 10 and signed his main feat in mid-June, with a victory in the Queen’s tournament. An impressive progression, of course, but incomparable with the gigantic career of the “Djoker”, nine years his senior.
First Italian finalist at Wimbledon, Matteo Berrettini experienced an ignition delay which raised fears of a one-sided match. Novak Djokovic took over and got two set points at 5-3. But the machine seized up and failed to conclude, when the ninth player in the world was setting the sights. The neophyte with mammoth forehands took the opportunity to pick up the score and win the first set in the tie break, in 1 hour 12 minutes. As in the quarter-finals of Roland-Garros, Berrettini took a set from “Nole”.
With the support of the public – who will undoubtedly be less of a fan of Italy on Sunday evening, for the final of Euro-2021 between England and the Squadra Azzura – and the winning of the first leg, Matteo Berrettini had the wind aft. Only here, Novak Djokovic is among the toughest opponents when he has his back to the wall. The defending champion recovered, raised his voice, led 5-1 to ultimately win the second set 6-4.
The rest of this final took shape inexorably. Without being sensational, Djokovic has maintained a level a notch above that of Berrettini, author of too many unforced errors. The third set fell into his hands 6-4.
Ruthless, the Serb annihilated every attempt by the Italian to resurface and pocketed the fourth and final set 6-3. He then collapsed on the court before tasting a blade of grass, as he was used to.
2021, the perfect year ?
Novak Djokovic thus equals his rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with a 20and coronation in Grand Slam, 13 years after his first conquest at the Australian Open. The Serbian’s calling card is crazy: nine titles in Melbourne (record), two at Roland-Garros, three at the US Open (two units from the record jointly held by Federer, Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras) and therefore six at Wimbledon (two units from Federer’s record).
20 wins in 30 Grand Slam finals, at least two wins in each tournament, and a positive record in his direct confrontations with Federer (27 wins, 23 losses) and Nadal (30 wins, 28 losses): with such references, Djokovic asserts itself more and more in the famous debate around the best player in the history of tennis.
The “Djoker” is having a mind-boggling 2021. After the Australian Open won against Daniil Medvedev and after the Roland-Garros tournament won against Stefanos Tsitsipas (and with a monumental semi-final against Rafael Nadal), he offers himself Wimbledon and can now dream of a season perfect. Novak Djokovic could become the first man to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single year. The ogre is already looking towards the US Open (August 30 to September 12). Without forgetting the prospect of going for Olympic gold in Tokyo (from July 24 to 30), he who had only won bronze in Beijing in 2008. In the history of tennis, only the German Steffi Graf has achieved such a feat. “Nole” follows the same route.