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Wimbledon 2019: How Djokovic's resilience trumped Federer's genius in this year's final

  • In this year's Wimbledon Final, Federer's genius shone through but found an equal match in Djokovic's resilience...
ANALYST
Feature
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 23:50 IST

It was a match where resilience trumped flair
It was a match where resilience trumped flair

It was a match where resilience trumped flair, determination trumped beauty and Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer to clinch his 16th Grand Slam title. The 48th meeting between the two icons will go down as one of the greatest Wimbledon finals of all-time.

Two athletes, bestowed with gifts of varying dimensions captivated the Centre Court crowd on Sunday, July 14th. After a marathon that lasted four hours, 57 minutes - the longest final in SW19 history - Djokovic beat Federer 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12 to lift his fifth Wimbledon crown.

The final set alone lasted a gargantuan 122 minutes and Federer continued to delude those who watched him into believing the passage of time was merely an illusion. He glided across the court with the ethereal splendour of a ballet dancer, conjured stunning drop shots, surreal forehands and was two Championship points away from a ninth Wimbledon triumph.

Almost wasn't good enough for Swiss star

Djokovic too, played with his usual machine-like resilience. He ran like a leopard scurrying across the court, matching Federer stroke for stroke. Roger delved into his bag of tricks and unleashed them but the relentless Serb had answers for most of them.

The difference lay in the key moments that Djokovic won, but Federer stumbled. 5-3 up in the first set tiebreak, he let the opportunity slip and gave Novak a golden opportunity to claw his way back before taking the set 7-6. Then in the fifth set, when he was up 8-7 on his serve, Federer again squandered two match points and Djokovic narrowly hung on.

Federer reflects after being embroiled in a classic encounter, one he ultimately failed to win this time
Federer reflects after being embroiled in a classic encounter, one he ultimately failed to win this time

Nowadays, it has almost become the norm that the man who faces Federer is against not one, but two opponents. One is the Swiss maestro himself and the other is the vociferous crowd who unapologetically get behind him every time he steps onto the court.

Djokovic found a way to wade through this, revealing: "When the crowd is chanting 'Roger', I hear 'Novak'. It sounds silly but it is like that. I try to convince myself that it's like that."

An uncanny way of coping with the outpouring of emotions in favour of his opponent, cheering every winner and giddy whenever Novak himself made an unforced error. Federer's genius shone through in this year's final but it found an equal match in Djokovic's resilience. Sport can indeed be cruel and he'll rue those missed opportunities - having lost by the thinnest of margins, which then again is the beauty of sport in its simplest form.

Published 17 Jul 2019, 10:29 IST
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