Two years after his last Grand Slam title, Novak Djokovic is a major champion once again, sweeping Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (3) on Sunday to win his fourth Wimbledon championship.
Both players were coming off grueling five-set semifinals, but this matchup was a tidy affair, with No. 12 Djokovic wrapping up the title in just over 2 hours, 15 minutes.
There is no better place in the world to really be making a comeback,” Djokovic said. “This is a sacred place for the world of tennis.”
The first set lasted 29 minutes, as Djokovic opened the match with a break of the No. 8-seeded Anderson.
Djokovic broke again for a 4-1 lead and lost just three points on his own serve in the opening set.
Anderson called for the trainer and began receiving treatment on his right arm at the conclusion of the first set.
The second set was equally smooth sailing for Djokovic, but both players held serve in the third. Anderson nearly managed to extend the match, holding five set points to force a fourth set.
Djokovic held steady, saving all five of those, then was as superior in the tiebreaker as he was for most of the sun-drenched afternoon.
Djokovic and Anderson won the two longest semifinals in Wimbledon history to get to the title match. Anderson played for more than 6½ hours before edging John Isner 26-24 in the fifth set Friday. Djokovic needed 5 hours, 15 minutes to get past Rafael Nadal in a match that ended Saturday.
“I’m definitely not feeling as fresh now as I was coming into the week,” Anderson said.
Djokovic hadn’t won a major since the 2016 French Open, which had completed a stretch in which he won all four Slams in succession. He dealt with an injured right elbow that needed surgery and forced him off the tour for the last half of 2017.
As his losses accumulated, his ranking fell out of the top 20 for the first time in more than a decade. He grew so frustrated with his form that he spoke about skipping the grass-court circuit.
Fortunately for him, he changed his mind.
“There were several moments where I was frustrated and questioning whether I can get back on desired level or not,” Djokovic said. “But that makes this whole journey even more special for me.”
Djokovic had an extra person join his player box to celebrate. The Serb’s 3-year-old son, Stefan — who is too young to be allowed to watch the match from inside Centre Court — arrived in time to see his father lift the trophy.
“It feels amazing because the first time in my life I have someone screaming, ‘Daddy, Daddy,'” Djokovic said.
He improved to 6-1 all time against Anderson, including a 3-0 record at the All England Club.