Wimbledon 2018: Novak Djokovic rules again after beating Anderson
After two troubled years Serb claims a fourth Wimbledon title as brave Anderson hits the buffers
Novak Djokovic announced his return to the summit of men’s tennis as he beat Kevin Anderson in 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) to claim a fourth Wimbledon title.
After the two longest semi-finals in the tournament’s history it was perhaps asking too much to expect both men to scale the same epic heights they managed in the last four. And for the first two sets it appeared as though Anderson, who spent more than 21 hours on court reaching the final, had nothing left to give.
The big-serving South African, who lost his serve only twice in 48 games against John Isner, was broken in the very first game of the final, and from that point on Djokovic was in control.
The Serb lost only three points on his own serve and made just two unforced errors in a first set that lasted less than half-an-hour. Anderson, meanwhile, was into double figures.
It was a similar story in the second set as Anderson once again lost his first service game to give Djokovic the advantage.
But although Anderson lost the second set he was starting to show signs of life, just as he had against Roger Federer in the quarter final.
The third set was a far more even affair, and Anderson forced three set points on the Djokovic serve but the Serb held on to force a tie-break.
Djokovic, who had not won a Grand Slam since the 2016 French Open, and appeared stressed throughout the match, at one point swearing at the crowd. But he remained calm in the final shootout, at one stage winning five points on the trot and serving for victory after two hours and 19 minutes.
Djokovic, who is now 31, was only seeded 12 for the tournament but victory announces his return to the top after two troubled years.
“Djokovic dominated the men's game earlier this decade, holding the number one ranking for 223 weeks and completing a career Grand Slam when he claimed the title at Roland Garros two years ago,” says Jonathan Jurejko of the BBC.
“Then, his cloak of invincibility began to slip… Djokovic alluded to difficulties in his personal life and his form subsequently tailed off.
“Fitness also became an issue, taking two spells away from the ATP Tour because of an elbow injury, leading to him dropping out of the world's top 20 earlier this year for the first time since 2006. Now he is back among the world's elite after a wonderful Wimbledon.”
After the game Djokovic said being a father had helped him but admitted he had suffered “moments of doubt and didn't know if I could compete”.
But alluding to three-year-old son Stefan, he said: “For the first time in my life I have someone screaming ‘daddy, daddy’.”