Thursday, January 26, 2023

Novak Djokovic wins his seventh Wimbledon title after defeating Nick Kyrgios

Novak Djokovic won his penultimate consecutive Wimbledon title and seventh total on Sunday, defeating the ace-delivering, trick-shot-hitting Nick Kyrgios 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6.

“It’s odd. “I felt like he didn’t do anything remarkable today,” said the unseeded Kyrgios, an opinion that some may disagree with, considering that Djokovic compiled 31 wins and just eight unforced mistakes over the final two sets while facing zero break chances.

However, he was simply so cool-headed. That’s exactly what I was thinking. It seems like he was never shaken on crucial occasions. “I feel like that’s his biggest strength: he simply never seems rattled,” Kyrgios added, possibly referring to himself. “The whole time, he simply seems entirely inside himself.” “He didn’t seem to be too aggressive, despite the fact that he was playing large.”

Only Roger Federer has won more Wimbledon championships than Djokovic, with eight, and only Rafael Nadal has more major trophies, with 22.

“The more you win, the more confident, the more comfortable you feel out there every time you go out on the court,” said Djokovic, who was happy to hear some Centre Court supporters screaming his nickname, “No-le! No-le!” as he served out the last point of a remarkably well-played tiebreaker.

As of now, Djokovic will be unable to catch Nadal by winning the US Open, which starts in late August: the 35-year-old Serbian is unable to enter the country since he chose not to compete in COVID-19, the same reason he missed the Australian Open in January.

“I’m not vaccinated, and I’m not intending to be vaccinated,” Djokovic stated on Sunday.

Apart from his experience (32 Grand Slam final appearances to Kyrgios’ one), his talent and clutch gene shone in the last tiebreaker, and all of those attributes were there for two very important games that helped swing the match.

Djokovic referred to them as “key moments.”

Djokovic steeled himself in those games, while Kyrgios blinked. And games that Kyrgios refused to let go of, such as running monologues, yelling at himself or his entourage (which does not include a full-time coach), receiving a warning for swearing, finding cause to argue with the chair umpire he fist-bumped before the match, and hurling a water bottle.

Kyrgios went to love-40 with Djokovic serving for the second set at 5-3, giving him three break chances. However, Kyrgios made a few careless returns, and Djokovic finally held. When the set concluded, Kyrgios sat down, dropped his racket to the ground, and groused to no one in particular: “It was love-40! Is it going to become any bigger? Is that enough space for you?”

Djokovic took note.

“He understood on this platform when Nick begins talking, he’s going to be susceptible,” said Djokovic’s coach, Goran Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon winner. “That occurred.”

In the third set, with Kyrgios serving at 4-all, 40-love, he let another apparently wrapped game slip away, and Djokovic broke.

“It was a significant momentum change,” Djokovic recalled, “since we were very even up to that point.”

Kyrgios was almost faultless in the opening set, hitting 11 winners before making his second unforced mistake. Kyrgios, a 27-year-old Australian, has never advanced beyond the quarterfinals in 29 prior Grand Slam tournaments, and the last time he did was 712 years ago.

His brilliance is undeniable. But, over time, Kyrgios has gained notoriety for his preference for flair over substance on the court, the temper tantrums that have won him ejections and bans, and his penchant for the nightlife.

During the last two weeks, Kyrgios has received $14,000 in fines (one for spitting at a heckling spectator after a first-round victory, another for cursing during a tense third-round win against No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas) and has been chastised for wearing a red hat and sneakers before and after matches at a venue where all-white attire is required). He is also scheduled to appear in court in Australia next month on an assault charge.

Kyrgios attempted strokes between his knees, struck some with his back to the net, slammed serves at much to 136 mph, and generated 30 aces on Sunday. He used an underarm serve and then faked one.

Perhaps it would have been appropriate for such a unique player to be crowned champion at such a unique Wimbledon.

Because to the invasion of Ukraine, the All England Club barred all Russian and Belarussian players from competing; among those barred were No. 1-ranked Daniil Medvedev, the current US Open champion, and No. 8 Andrey Rublev. In response, the WTA and ATP professional tennis circuits took the unusual step of stripping Wimbledon of all ranking points.

Elena Rybakina, a Russian-born player who has represented Kazakhstan for four years, claimed the women’s championship Saturday with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 triumph against Ons Jabeur.

Elena Rybakina, a Russian-born player who has represented Kazakhstan for four years, claimed the women’s championship Saturday with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 triumph against Ons Jabeur. It was the first Wimbledon championship match involving two women making their Grand Slam final debuts since 1962, and Rybakina, at No. 23, is the All England Club’s second-lowest female winner since computerized rankings started in 1975.

Federer skipped the event for the first time since the late 1990s due to a series of surgery on his right knee. Alexander Zverev, the world No. 2, missed out after injuring ankle ligaments at the French Open.

After Wimbledon started, three of the top 20 seeds, including 2021 runner-up Matteo Berrettini, withdrew because they tested positive for COVID-19.

And Nadal withdrew before facing Kyrgios in the semifinals, the first time a man has been given a walkover at Wimbledon in a semifinal or final since 1931.

Djokovic held the trophy on Sunday like he has so many times before. He trailed in the final as he did in the quarterfinals (where he trailed by two sets) and semifinals. Just like he did in the French Open and Wimbledon finals last year. He faced two championship points against Federer, the same as he did in the 2019 final at the All England Club.

He waited for the moment to grab control each time. He won every time.

“So the run continues,” Djokovic stated after his unblemished record at Wimbledon reached 28 wins. “Without a doubt, I feel incredibly linked to this court and this competition.”

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