In a final as memorable for its longevity and unfathomable swings of fortune as the quality of shot-making by two of the finest grass-court players of any era, Novak Djokovic ground down the classical skills of the ageless Roger Federer to win his fifth Wimbledon.
For four hours and 57 minutes, they resided side by side in the land of lost opportunities, before the world No 1 brought their mutual bewilderment to a close to win by the unique scoreline: 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 13-12 (3).
Federer had two match points at 8-7 in the fifth, but ended up losing the first 12-all tie-break to decide the title – and his third shootout of the match, one as mesmerising and strange as any of the 48 they have played.
“I feel great, I gave it all I had,” Federer said courtside. “I’m still standing. I’ll take some time to recover.”
Djokovic said: “If not the most exciting and thrilling finals of my career, in the top two or three and against the greatest player of all time. As Roger said, we both had our chances. It’s quite unreal to be two match points down and come back – and a bit strange to play the tie-break at 12-all. Roger said he hopes it gives other people hope they can do this at 37. I’m one of them. It’s extra special with my son in the crowd, and my family too. My wife and daughter are here in London but watching at home, and I give them a big, big hug.”
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