Nick Kyrgios served brilliantly and unleashed a series of extraordinary meltdowns, but Novak Djokovic resisted the rage en route to claiming a seventh Wimbledon title on Monday morning (AEST).
In a match that saw the incendiary Aussie explode against the chair umpire, a rowdy spectator who he called ‘drunk’ and his team, Djokovic fought back from one set to win a thrilling four-set showdown .
The Serbian superstar beat Kyrgios 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3), securing his fourth Wimbledon Major in a row and a 21st Grand Slam title.
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The All England Club victory propelled Djokovic ahead of Roger Federer’s 20 Grand Slam titles and puts him just one behind Rafael Nadal’s record.
After Kyrgios broke Djokovic’s serve to take a 3-2 lead in the first set, the 35-year-old broke his rival in the fourth game of the second and the ninth game of the third.
Djokovic then cruised through the fourth-set tiebreaker and claimed victory when Kyrgios kicked the ball into the net, prompting the winner to throw his arms in the air as he soaked up the emotion before a loud standing ovation.
Kyrgios, recently named the best server on the men’s tour by Australian tennis icon Wally Masur, had 30 aces in the deciding match against Djokovic’s 15.
But Djokovic’s unparalleled defensive play was at its best, epitomized by an extravagant save in the ninth game of the fourth set.
Unbreakable Djokovic at his best
Kyrgios tested his opponent with a serve and a volley as he dropped the ball close to the net, but Djokovic charged downfield and produced a sublime shot that couldn’t be returned.
“Extraordinary,” said Australian tennis great Todd Woodbridge on the cover of Nine.
“That recovery and that athleticism, and then that control… All you can say is so good.”
Kyrgios was in his prime as he addressed the chair umpire in the third set, seething about a crowd member causing a commotion.
“She’s drunk,” said Kyrgios, who was hit with a code violation.
“The one that looks like she’s had 700 drinks, man.”
Djokovic-Kyrgios ‘bromance’ takes priceless twist
Kyrgios’ interaction with his box was most intense during an episode later in the third set.
“Why do you stop (applause)? said a seething Kyrgios.
” Why ? Why are you doing it?
Kyrgios was cordial despite the overwhelming support from his club members, who repeatedly whistled, clapped and shouted words of encouragement.
‘Drunk’ spectator rocks Kyrgios
The former world No. 13 renewed his complaint against the chair umpire in the fourth set, when he thought he ripped an ace off the T only for the official to call a let.
“Turn it down,” Kyrgios said of a vibration meter attached to the net.
“It’s a joke.”
The Canberran then battled with the chair umpire when a ball was called later in the fourth set.
A replay revealed the ball had in fact kissed the line, but Kyrgios seemed so wrapped up in emotion that he didn’t see it again.
“If he wasn’t arguing he could focus a bit more,” former British tennis player Tim Henman said on the cover of Nine.
Review avoids Kyrgios amid explosion
Kyrgios said during his on-pitch interview that he was looking forward to ‘a well-deserved vacation’.
It remains to be seen when Djokovic will appear next in a grand slam given his refusal to get vaccinated.
But, in the meantime, the champion can look forward to another triumph at Wimbledon.
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Wimbledon 2022: Novak Djokovic’s ‘bromance’ with Nick Kyrgios takes a golden turn