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Novak Djokovic continues his formidable collection in 2021. The Serbian won the Wimbledon tournament on Sunday for the sixth time in his career, against the Italian Matteo Berrettini (6-7 , 6-4, 6-4, 6-3). With 20 Grand Slam victories, he equals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
He had a date with history. Novak Djokovic had not hidden it: arriving in London two weeks ago, his goal was to triumph again on the grass 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 won against Denis Shapovalov.
Mission accomplished for the Serbian, 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 on the strength of a track record with six coronations at Wimbledon, and therefore now 20 Grand Slam victories. Like Federer and Nadal. Monstrous.
Novice Berrettini shoved the boss
If he is not the darling of the Wimbledon public, which prefers Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic is a regular here. Before Sunday, he had six finals here, for five wins and one loss. A London liability – and global – much more substantial than that of his opponent of the day.
Matteo Berrettini, 25, has arrived like a comet in the circuit. After a shy pro debut in 2015, the colossus (1.96m and 96 kilos) clicked two years ago. He has since settled into the top 10 and achieved his main achievement 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.
The first Italian finalist at Wimbledon, Matteo Berrettini suffered an ignition delay which raised fears of a one-sided match. Novak Djokovic took the upper hand and got two set points at 5-3. But the machine seized up and failed to conclude, when the ninth player in the world set the sights. The neophyte with mammoth forehands took the opportunity to pick up the score and win the first round in the tie break, in 1h12 of play. As in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros, Berrettini took a set at “Nole”.
With the support of the public – who will undoubtedly be less a fan of Italy on Sunday evening, for the final of Euro 2021 between England and Squadra Azzurra – and the winning of the first round, Matteo Berrettini had the wind in stern. Only here, Novak Djokovic is among the toughest opponents when he is 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 unfolded inexorably. Without being sensational, Djokovic has kept a level a notch above that of Berrettini, author of too many unforced errors. The third set fell into its own hands 6-4.
Ruthless, the Serbian 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 has become accustomed to.
2021, the perfect year ?
Novak Djokovic thus equals his rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with a 20th Grand Slam coronation, 13 years after his first conquest at the Australian Open. The Serbian’s business card is crazy: nine titles in Melbourne (record), two at Roland Garros, three at the US Open (two short of the record held by Federer, Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras) and therefore six at Wimbledon (two units off 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 breathtaking year 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 conquer 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 taken 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.