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Djokovic triumphs at Wimbledon to secure record-equalling 20th major
- Updated: July 12, 2021
World number one Novak Djokovic beat Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 6-3 on Sunday to win his sixth title at Wimbledon.
His third straight triumph at the All England Club also earned the Serbian a 20th Grand Slam title, equalling the men’s record haul held by Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal of Spain.
“It means none of us three will stop,” Djokovic said during the presentation ceremony when asked what the milestone meant to him.
“I have to pay great tribute to Rafa and Roger. They are legends of our sport and they are the two most important players that I ever faced in my career. They are the reason that I’m where I am today.
“They’ve helped me realise what I need to do in order to improve and get stronger mentally, physically, tactically.
“The last 10 years have been an incredible journey. It’s not stopping here.”
Having also won the Australian and French Open titles in 2021, Djokovic only needs to win the U.S. Open to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the calendar slam.
“I could definitely envisage that happening. I’m gonna definitely give it a shot,” Djokovic added.
“I’m in great form and obviously playing well and playing my best tennis at Grand Slams. It is the highest priority that I have right now at this stage of my career. So let’s keep it going.”
He also 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 fought back to force a tiebreak which he clinched to draw first blood.
It was only the second set the Serbian 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.
“That was more than a battle,” Djokovic said.
“Winning Wimbledon was always a biggest dream of mine when I was a kid….I have to remind myself how special this is, and not take this for granted.”
I believe I’m the best, says Djokovic after matching Federer and Nadal
The debate will rage on but Novak Djokovic believes he is the best player in the modern era after claiming a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title by beating Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in the Wimbledon final on Sunday.
By adding a sixth Wimbledon title to the second French Open he won last month and the ninth Australian crown he earned in February, the 34-year-old Serb has put together a sensational year which has moved him alongside Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal at the top of the list of men’s Grand Slam winners.
With Swiss Federer close to his 40th birthday and Spaniard Nadal, 35, having lost his grip on Roland Garros after losing to Djokovic this year, the Serb is destined to forge ahead.
“I consider myself best and I believe that I am the best, otherwise I wouldn’t be talking confidently about winning slams and making history,” Djokovic, who withstood the ferocious firepower of Berrettini to win 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 6-3 in a fever-pitch atmosphere on Centre Court, told reporters.
“But whether I’m the greatest of all time or not, I leave that debate to other people. I said before that it’s very difficult to compare the eras of tennis.
“We have different rackets, technology, balls, courts. It’s just completely different conditions that we’re playing in, so it’s very hard to compare tennis from 50 years ago to today.”
Djokovic declared himself “honoured to be part of the conversation” but the evidence is stacking up in his favour after his third successive Wimbledon title.
Djokovic is the only one of the golden trio to win every Grand Slam title at least twice and he is the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the year’s first three Grand Slams.
Should he win a fourth U.S. Open later this year he will match Laver’s calendar-year Slam of 1969 that has proven beyond all the greats since, including Federer and Nadal.
He also holds the record for most weeks ranked number one on the ATP rankings — 328 and counting after surpassing Federer’s mark of 310 weeks in March.
Incredibly, when Djokovic won his second Grand Slam title in 2011, Federer already had 16 and Nadal nine.
The relentless Serb said it was not until a few years ago that he thought he could challenge their duopoly.
“I probably started thinking about trying to reach the record of most Grand Slams won, most weeks at number one, probably two to three years ago,” he said.
“Before that it seemed a little bit out of reach. I’ve always kind of believed that I could play my best tennis in Grand Slams and give myself a good chance to win any slam really on any surface because I know what I’m capable of.
“I know I have a very complete game that has proven to be successful on all surfaces in the past.
“It’s really fortunate for me and incredible that it’s all coming together in the same year. That’s something that I didn’t expect, but I always dream of achieving the biggest things.”