Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer produced a match for the ages in the Mens Championships final at Wimbledon 2019, with the Serbian just outlasting the Swiss maestro in five sets to claim his fifth Wimbledon title and sixteenth Grand Slam title overall.
The match lasted just shy of five hours – the longest ever final at Wimbledon – and was ended, for the first time, by a fifth set tiebreak after the players could not be separated at 12-12. Djokovic won the tiebreak – all his three winning sets were by virtue of a tiebreak – to claim the title.
Federer lost nothing in defeat. After he beat Rafael Nadal in four sets in Friday’s Semi Final, he showed all the energy, determination and tenacity needed in taking the game to Djokovic. He had the chance to claim victory himself – having two Championship points on his own serve at 8-7 in the fifth – but couldn’t close the game out. But, at 37, Federer showed he is still on par with his illustrious two, younger, colleague who continue to dominate the Mens game and, on this showing, will continue to do so for a few years to come yet.
Djokovic won the first set tiebreak with all games going to serve. The first set lasted longer (58 minutes) than the entire Ladies Championship final of the day before. Federer raced through the second set, taking it 6-1, but Djokovic took the third, again on a tiebreak. Many expected Djokovic to take the fourth, but Federer was having none of it and extended the match into five sets by winning it 6-4. The fifth set will live long in the memory with the two titans going at it hammer and tong. Break points were few and far between, but Federer did break the Djokovic serve in the 14th game of the set, and then went 40-15 up on his own serve. But Djokovic dug deep to save both points and then took the deuce and advantage points to break straight back. Every other game went to serve until 12-12 when the tiebreak was called. Djokovic got an early mini break and then another….and when Federer mis-hit a Djokovic serve, the Serbian claimed the victory.
Federer could not have done more. He won more games and points than Djokovic did, and. arguably, played the better tennis. But Djokovic is relentless in his desire and never-say-die attitude. Some of his defensive play defied belief and he always seemed to win the points that truly mattered.
It was a match that no-one knew the winner of until the final point was won. Both players showed every quality needed that makes them the champions they both are. Along with Nadal, this is an unrivalled trio of genuine greats that will be classed as the greatest to ever play the game, with every clash amongst them – on whatever surface – a true classic.
After the game, Djokovic paid tribute to Federer and gave insight into how he felt after playing such an epic match : “It was a huge relief in the end, honestly. These kind of matches, you work for, you live for, they give sense and they give value to every minute you spend on the court training and working to get yourself in this position and play the match with one of your greatest rivals of all time. It was probably the mentally most demanding match I was ever part of. I had the most physically demanding match against Nadal in the finals of Australia that went almost six hours. But mentally this was a different level, because of everything.”
Federer was clearly devastated at the end, coming so close to winning his ninth Wimbledon title, but he was able to pay tribute to the defending champion and World number 1 : “It was a great match, it was long, it had everything. Novak, congratulations, man, that was crazy.”
The Grand Slam titles between Federer, Nadal and Djokovic now stands at an amazing 54 :
- Federer : 20 (8 Wimbledon, 6 Australian Open, 5 US Open, 1 French Open)
- Nadal : 18 (12 French Open, 3 US Open, 2 Wimbledon, 1 Australian Open)
- Djokovic : 16 (7 Australian, 5 Wimbledon, 3 US Open, 1 French Open)
The ‘next best’ of still active players is Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka on 3 each. No stat could be more clear in just how these three players have dominated Mens tennis. It truly is a golden generation.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC v ROGER FEDERER – MENS CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS – MATCH STATS
Aces : Djokovic 10, Federer 25
Winners : Djokovic 54, Federer 94
1st Serve Points Won Percentage : Djokovic 74%, Federer 79%
Total Points Won : Djokovic 204, Federer 218
Total Games Won : Djokovic 29, Federer 36
DJOKOVIC WINS 3-2 : 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12