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New king Alcaraz downs Djokovic to wear Wimbledon crown

Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz has broken Novak Djokovic’s decade-long winning streak to take his maiden title at Wimbledon in a long and thrilling men’s final.

The 20-year-old defeated 23-time grand slam champion Djokovic 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 3-6 6-4 in a titanic, see-saw struggle that lasted four hours and 42-minutes – the longest match of the tournament.

The 20-year-old, 16 years Djokovic’s junior, recovered from losing the opening five games in a nervy start to inflict the champion’s first defeat on Centre Court for a decade on Sunday night (AEST).

The Spaniard retained his world No.1 ranking as he also denied Djokovic matching Australian Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam wins and Roger Federer’s eight Wimbledon titles.

The match lived up to expectations with high quality from both players.

It was tennis royalty watched by both the British, Spanish and Hollywood versions, with the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children, King Felipe VI and Brad Pitt in attendance.

“It is a dream come true,” Alcaraz told the Centre Court crowd. “To play a legend in our sport, for a boy, 20 years old, I am really proud.”

Turning to Djokovic he said: “I started playing tennis watching you. Since I was born, you were winning tournaments.”

Quite how that made Djokovic feel can only be guessed, though he smiled.

Earlier, the Serb had been overcome with emotion as he gestured to his family and thanked them for their support.

To Alcaraz, he said: “I thought I would have trouble with you only on clay, and maybe hard court, but not on grass. It is a different story obviously, amazing.

“What quality at the end of the match when you had to serve it out. You deserve it. Congratulations.”

But such a conclusion seemed unlikely at the start of the afternoon.

Alcaraz forced a break point in the opening game but that was as good as the first set got for the young Spaniard. Djokovic held, broke, held, broke, and held again to establish a 5-0 lead.

Alcaraz was making error after error, and Djokovic wasn’t missing a shot.

When the 20-year-old finally got on the scoresheet with his third service game the crowd, which largely barracked for him, roared with relief as much as joy.

Djokovic served out to take the set in 34 minutes.

The second stanza had a different tune with Alcaraz breaking early to take a 2-0 lead. Djokovic quickly levelled and with the Spaniard’s howitzer forearm finding the target the set moved inexorably towards a tiebreak.

It took more than an hour to get there, and when it arrived Djokovic took a 3-0 lead. But Alcaraz came back and the Serb was further irked when chair umpire Fergus Murphy called a time violation on his serve at 4-5 down.

Guy Ritchie, Brad Pitt and Jeremy Kleiner watch the Wimbledon men’s final. Photo: Getty

Djokovic nevertheless had set-point at 6-5, yet Alcaraz took the break 8-6. It was the first time Djokovic had lost a grand slam tiebreak in 15 attempts, dating back to the second round of the Australian Open.

Alcaraz gained an early break in the third and a second after a titanic 26-minute fifth game in which there were 13 deuces before the world No.1 clinched his seventh break point for a 4-1 lead. He sealed the set 6-1 and Djokovic went for a comfort break.

When he came back he survived an uncomfortable start to the fourth set to take it 6-3. Momentum seemed to have had swung back the Serb’s way.

But when Alcaraz broke in the third game of the final set, Djokovic lost his cool, smashing his racquet against the net post and breaking it, ensuring another code violation warning.

Soon after, he had also lost his title.

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