Novak Djokovic wins Wimbledon to equal Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Grand Slams

World No 1 beats Berrettini 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 for his sixth title at the All England Club

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If it is commonly agreed that the toughest task in tennis is beating Rafael Nadal at the French Open, it might be time to revise that statement. How about: the toughest task in tennis is beating Novak Djokovic. At any tournament, on any surface, in any city.

Djokovic, the top seed and world No 1, continued his blitz through tennis' most important trinkets by successfully defending his Wimbledon title for a second successive year, defeating Italy's Matteo Berrettini 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in the final on Sunday.

The 34-year-old Serb now possesses the first three major trophies of the season with just the US Open to come, and this being an Olympic year, he has the opportunity to join German great Steffi Graf as the only other player to win the Golden Slam — all four majors and Olympic gold.

Djokovic's sixth Wimbledon title also brings him level with the record 20 Grand Slams held by Nadal and Roger Federer. Given the astonishing rate at which Djokovic is winning majors — after claiming his second Grand Slam at the 2011 Australian Open, he has won 19 from a possible 42 for a conversion rate of 45 per cent — it appears inevitable he will soon leave both of his great rivals firmly in his dust.

"I have to pay a great tribute to Rafa and Roger," Djokovic, 34, said during the trophy presentation. "They are legends of our sport. They are the reason that I am where I am today. They have helped me to realise what I need to do to improve."

For all of his experience and unprecedented success, Djokovic was uncharacteristically tight at the start of the match, hitting a double fault on his first point followed by some loose errors to hand Berrettini a break point. Fortunately for the top seed, his opponent — competing in his first major final — was also nervy and it was Djokovic who struck first for a 3-1 lead.

A routine first set looked on the cards for Djokovic when he served for the opener at 5-4, but Berrettini shook off the tension just in time to break back before the set headed into a tie break. With the Italian's serve now firing and the confidence behind his shots growing, it was the seventh seed who took the first set.

Djokovic's trademark powers of recovery immediately surfaced as the defending champion flew out of the traps in the second set, breaking twice for a 4-0 lead. Berrettini did earn one break back as Djokovic stumbled at the first attempt to serve out the set but there was no denying him on the second try.

Fine margins proved the difference in the third set, with Djokovic breaking at his only opportunity in the third game before Berrettini failed to take either chance presented to him in the sixth. As the rest of the set stayed on serve, Djokovic closed it out to take command of the final.

Solid service holds dominated the first six games of the fourth set, until Djokovic ramped up the pressure on Berrettini. The world No 1 brought up break point with a sublime short cross-court winner before Berrettini double faulted to hand Djokovic the all-important break.

From then it was only a matter of time for Djokovic to create his latest piece of tennis history and he wrapped up the title with a second break when Berrettini put a slice backhand into the net. He celebrated in his now customary way: by nibbling on some grass from the court and climbing to the players' box to hug his team.

"Winning Wimbledon was always the big dream of mine when I was a kid and I have to remind myself how special this is and to not take this for granted. It's a huge honour and a privilege," Djokovic said.

More history beckons if Djokovic can go on and win the US Open in September. Only one man in the Open era, Rod Laver, has ever won all four majors in the same season and it is a clear and obvious target for the reigning undisputed king of tennis.

"I could definitely envisage that happening and I hope I will give it a shot," said Djokovic, who this season won his ninth Australian Open and second Roland Garros, where he beat the previously unstoppable Nadal in the semi-finals. "I'm in great form, playing well and having my best form at Grand Slams is my number one priority."

Updated: July 11, 2021, 5:57 PM