London: Novak Djokovic has broken his two-year grand slam title drought with a tense Wimbledon final triumph over South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.
The Serbian secured his fourth crown at The All England Club – and 13th career major – with 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) win that was much less straightforward than the uneven score line suggests.
The world No. 21 becomes the lowest ranked man to win at the All England Club since Goran Ivanisevic in 2001. Djokovic’s 13th Grand Slam title puts him fourth on the all-time list of male major winners, with Roger Federer leading the way on 20.
After a sluggish start, Anderson threatened another famous fight back like his quarter-final recovery from two sets down against Roger Federer before Djokovic staved off five set points in the dramatic third set. He eventually reigned supreme after two hours and 19 minutes to surpass the Wimbledon feats of all-time greats and three-time champions John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and the Serb’s one-time coach Boris Becker.
Sunday’s victory also elevated the 31-year-old above Australian Roy Emerson into fourth place on men’s tennis’s all-time grand slam title leaderboard behind only Roger Federer (20), Rafal Nadal (17) and Pete Sampras (14).
The big three of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have now amassed a staggering 50 slams between them to cement themselves as arguably the most dominant triumvirate in sports history.
Only Federer (8), Sampras (7), William Renshaw (7), Bjorn Borg (5) and Laurie Doherty (5) have won the sport’s greatest prize more times than Djokovic. Djokovic’s victory also completes in the ultimate fashion his stirring comeback after a spectacular fall from grace last year. The former world No.1 had been the first man since Laver in almost 50 years to hold all four majors at once after he swept to the non-calendar-year grand slam with a career-defining French Open triumph in 2016.
But a chronic elbow injury and self-confessed troubles in his “private life” curtailed the Serb’s seemingly relentless charge towards tennis as he relinquished all four trophies to lose his air of grand slam invincibility.
“I owe great thanks to my team, to everyone who has been supporting me,” Djokovic said post-game.
“In the last couple of years, it hasn’t been that easy. You know, I had the surgery and was absent from the Tour for six months and faced for the first time this kind of severe injury and didn’t really know what is expected of me.”
He said adding “I had many moments of doubt and didn’t know really if I could come back to the level to compete.”
Now Djokovic has returned to his rightful place in the world’s top 10 after arriving in London two weeks ago ranked 21st, his lowest standing in the game in more than a decade.