Tennis

Djokovic makes it 20-20-20 with Wimbledon win

Serb equals Federer and Nadal's record of 20 Majors with sixth Wimbledon win

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic beat Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini 6-7(4/7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 yesterday to win his sixth title at Wimbledon.

His third straight triumph at the All England Club also earned the Serb a 20th Grand Slam title, equalling the men's record haul held by Switzerland's Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal of Spain.

Having also won the Australian Open and French Open titles this year, Djokovic has now completed the third leg towards achieving the Golden Slam. No man has ever won the four Slams and an Olympic gold in the same year.

The 34-year-old, who came into the title clash having beaten Berrettini in both of their previous meetings, opened a 5-2 lead in the first set with an early break.

But the Italian, 25, fought back to force a tie-break which he clinched to draw first blood.

It was only the second set the Serb had lost in this year's championships. He reacted by racing to a 4-0 lead in the second set before going on to level the match.

A single break of serve in the third and two more breaks in the fourth were enough for Djokovic to close out the contest in front of a raucous Centre Court crowd, who kept on chanting the Italian underdog's name.

Djokovic sealed his place in the record books on his third match-point when Berrettini's backhand slice landed in the net.

"It was more than a battle," said Djokovic, as he praised Berrettini. "Winning Wimbledon was always a dream of mine when I was a kid and I always have to remind myself how special it is."

Berrettini conceded that Djokovic was better, adding: "He is a great champion. He is writing the history of this sport and deserves all the credit.

"I'm really happy to get to the final. Hopefully, it's not my last one here or at a Slam."

Having gone level with Federer and Nadal's record of 20 Major titles, Djokovic praised his two rivals for pushing him.

When asked what it means to have all three greats on 20 Majors, he said: "It means none of us three will stop.

"I have to pay a great tribute to Rafa and Roger, they are legends of our sport and two most important players that I ever face in my career.

BRINGING OUT THE BEST

"They are the reason I am here today. They have helped me realise what I needed to do to improve tactically, physically."

Federer, who was knocked out in the quarter-finals by Poland's Hubert Hurkacz last week, tweeted: "Congrats Novak on your 20th major. I'm proud to have the opportunity to play in a special era of tennis champions. Wonderful performance, well done!"

On the prospect of completing a calendar Grand Slam, Djokovic said: "I could definitely envision that happening.

"I'm going to give it a shot. I'm in great form and obviously playing well and playing my best tennis at Grand Slams is the highest priority I have at this stage of my career, so let's keep it going." - AFP, REUTERS

Tennis