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 barrage and 30 Kyrgios aces to coolly clinch a seventh All England crown and his 21st Grand Slam title with a steely 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) victory.
Kyrgios was bidding to become Australia’s first men’s grand slam singles winner since Lleyton Hewitt’s Wimbledon success 20 years ago.
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 between-the-legs ‘tweener’ and cheeky under-arm serve.
He defied his unseeded status to have Djokovic only a few points away from staring down a two-set deficit.
But the Serb drew on all his vast experience and champion qualities to wear down the mercurial Australian physically and mentally in temperatures nudging towards 40 degrees.
Kyrgios was unable to break Djokovic when he had him 0-40 down in the second set and the top seed levelled the match at one set apiece.
The Australian then became more erratic and threatened to unravel in the third set when given a code violation after claiming he was distracted by a heckler while serving.
Djokovic took a 2-sets to 1 lead and outlasted Kyrgios in an hour-long fourth set with no service breaks, to claim his fourth straight Wimbledon title.
It was his first grand slam triumph since defeating Matteo Berrettini in last year’s final.
“Every single time it gets more and more meaningful so I am very blessed and grateful,” he said.
In his victory speech, Djokovic voiced his belief that Kyrgios would continue challenging for grand slam spoils now that he’s finally broken through to a final.
The Australian was gracious in defeat, saying “Hats off to him. I thought I served well. I put myself in a position to win, but I just wasn’t able to play those clutch points well at all today.”
He plans on taking a break to recharge for American hardcourt events culminating in the US Open starting on August 29.
With Australian Associated Press