Djokovic wears down Kyrgios in dramatic final to clinch seventh Wimbledon crown

Kyrgios loses to Djokovic in Wimbledon final

Novak Djokovic has denied Nick Kyrgios a maiden grand slam title with an enthralling, drama-charged four-set Wimbledon final triumph over the unseeded Australian.

Djokovic defied heatwave conditions, a fierce early storm and 30 Kyrgios aces to coolly clinch a seventh Wimbledon crown and grand slam No.21 with a steely 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) victory on Sunday.

“I’m lost words for what this tournament, what this trophy means to me, to my team and my family,” Djokovic said after holding up the Challenge Cup.

“I’ve said this many times – it always has been and will be my most special tournament in my heart, the one that motivated me and inspired me to start playing tennis in a small, little mountain resort in Serbia.

“My parents used to run the restaurant and I was four-and-a-half, five years old and I saw Pete Sampras win his first Wimbledon in 1992 and I asked my mum and dad to buy me a racquet and my first image of tennis was grass and Wimbledon.

“I always dreamed of coming here, just playing in this court and then of course realising this childhood dream and winning this trophy.

“Every singles time it gets more and more meaningful so I am very blessed and grateful.”

Djokovic savours his seventh Wimbledon victory. Photo: Getty

After a rollercoaster, controversy-laden run to the final, Kyrgios had been bidding to become Australia’s first men’s grand slam singles winner since Lleyton Hewitt reigned at the All England Club in 2002.

He looked on track after taking the opening set with a scintillating display of tennis underpinned by some typically huge serving but also showcasing his trademark tweener and cheeky under-arm serve.

After fining Kyrgios $US14,000 ($20,500) for spitting on their hallowed grass courts and calling an umpire a disgrace during a tempestuous first week of the championships, All England Club poobahs must have been squirming at the prospect of having to welcome tennis’s most volatile star in as a new member.

Djokovic, though, drew on all his vast experience and champion qualities to wear down Canberra’s erratic showman physically and mentally in temperatures nudging towards 40 degrees on the sport’s most famous centre court.

Kyrgios had been on his best behaviour early on in front of a royal box featuring the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (with a special visit from Prince George), Australian greats Rod Laver and John Newcombe, and a raft of other royals and luminaries.

But, after dropping serve for the first time in his career against Djokovic to fall behind 3-1 in the second set, he grew frustrated.

The hot-head was even more agitated after being unable to break back in the ninth game despite holding four break points and having Djokovic 0-40 down as the Serb levelled the match at one set apiece.

Kyrgios threatened to unravel after being given a code violation for swearing in the fifth game of the pivotal third set after claiming to have been distracted while serving by a mouthy spectator in the crowd.

He angrily condemned chair umpire Renaud Lichtenstein’s decision as “a joke” and demanded the woman be removed.

“She’s drunk out of her mind … so kick her out,” Kyrgios pleaded with the French official.

“The one that looks like she’s had about 700 drinks, bro,” he added when asked which spectator it was.

Kyrgios fights for a maiden grand slam title. Photo: Getty

Even young Prince George, sitting between William and Kate, was bemused by Kyrgios’s behaviour.

There was no let-up, though, as Kyrgios let rip at his box after despairingly being broken at 4-4 from 40-0 up to gift Djokovic the opportunity to serve out the third set.

The top seed duly did so, collected his gear and departed for a toilet break as Kyrgios was left to wonder how the final had so quickly turned.

There were no service breaks in a tense, hour-long fourth set as Djokovic sealed victory in a tiebreaker after three hours, one minute to capture his seventh Wimbledon crown.

Djokovic drew on his years of experience to defeat Kyrgios. Photo: Getty

Also during the match a serial Australian activist who shouted, “Where is Peng Shuai?” and held up a sign with the same message was thrown out from centre court.

Drew Pavlou, who made a similar protest at the Australian Open this year, said he shouted the message during a stoppage in play on Sunday and was then forcefully removed from the stadium.

Djokovic now equals American great Pete Sampras and Britain’s 1880s champion William Renshaw.

Roger Federer, with eight titles at London’s SW19, is the only man to have won more.

It’s Djokovic’s first grand slam triumph since defeating Matteo Berrettini from a set down in last year’s Wimbledon final.

The 35-year-old was deported from Australia on the eve of the Melbourne Park major in January for not having the necessary visa and lost to Rafael Nadal in last month’s French Open quarter-finals.

Tennis bromance

Confirming an unlikely blossoming “bromance”, Djokovic hailed Kyrgios as a potential Wimbledon champion-in-waiting.

As Kyrgios joked that his breakout run hadn’t necessarily whet his appetite for more shots at major glory, Djokovic graciously declared: “Nick, you’ll be back. Not just Wimbledon, but finals.

“It’s hard to find consolation words after such a tough loss but you showed why you deserve to be one of the best players in the world, particularly on this surface,” said Djokovic.

“Congrats to you and all your team for an amazing tournament. I wish you all the best, man. I really do.

“I really respect you a lot. I think you’re a phenomenal tennis player and athlete, an amazing talent. I mean, you’ll be hearing that for many years.

“But now everything is starting to come together for you and I’m sure we’re going to see much of you in the later stages of the grand slams.”

Is this the start of a beautiful bromance? Photo: AAP

Considering their once frosty, fractious past, Djokovic said he never envisaged lavishing Kyrgios with such compliments.

“I never thought I’m going to say so many nice things about you considering the relationship,” he laughed.

“Okay, it’s officially a bromance,” said the Serb, to gales of laughter from the centre court crowd as he agreed to the pair’s pre-match social media deal that Sunday’s winner owed the loser a dinner.

“I don’t know if we’re going to make it happen tonight or some other night but, hopefully, this is the start of a wonderful relationship — off court as well.”

The Australian also complimented his opponent.

“He’s a bit of a god, I’m not going to lie. I thought I played well,” Kyrgios said.

“I’d like to congratulate Novak. He’s won this championship I don’t even know how many times anymore.”


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