Novak Djokovic wins 6th Wimbledon, 20th Grand Slam Title

Novak Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — The Wimbledon final was locked up at a set apiece after nearly 2 1/2 hours, and Novak Djokovic’s bid for a record-tying 20th Grand Slam title was at a critical juncture, when he faced two break points while thousands in the full-capacity crowd at Centre Court chanted his opponent’s first name.

Bothered, perhaps, by the challenge he was facing between the lines Sunday, and, perhaps, by the support being thrown behind Matteo Berrettini, and, perhaps, by the weight of the milestone he was pursuing, Djokovic shrugged all of that off and steeled himself, as he’s done so many times at so many moments on so many stages.

On each of the next two points, Djokovic, known for his baseline supremacy, charged forward. On each, Berrettini’s passing attempt found the net. After the second, Djokovic stared into the stands and pointed to his ear, then waved his racket. He got what he wanted; a chorus of his nickname broke out: “No-le! No-le!” Two points later, when he grabbed the game with a 118 mph ace, Djokovic put his racket behind an ear, heard more noise, nodded and smiled.

An hour later, the match was finished — Djokovic won 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 — and so, too, was his stated desire to equal the total of major championships collected by his biggest rivals, Roger Federer (who reached 20 in 2018) and Rafael Nadal (who did it last year). No other male tennis player has more than 14.

Djokovic, of course, wants more.

“I consider myself best, and I believe that I am the best, otherwise I wouldn’t be talking confidently about winning Slams and making history,” said Djokovic, a 34-year-old from Serbia who is ranked No. 1 and has spent more weeks in that top spot than any other man. “But whether I’m the greatest of all time or not, I leave that debate to other people.”

It is a popular topic, certainly. And every member of the so-called Big Three has his supporters. This season might tilt the balance in Djokovic’s favor in the minds of those yet to be convinced.

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