As 4th of July weekend in the Hamptons came to a close, so did tennis enthusiasts’ beloved Wimbledon tournament. We may not all have been watching from the Meadow Club in Southampton where they too enjoy playing on the manicured grass, but fans from Quogue to Montauk were glued to flat screens watching Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic battle for Wimbledon glory on Sunday.
It took nearly 4 hours of some of the greatest tennis of the year to crown a new Wimbledon champion. This match will surely go down as one of the best finals ever.
Federer started the match the way he wanted; holding his serve and coming to the net as soon as he could, very often finding the winning solution of the point. Djokovic being a tough opponent, was ready to battle anything Federer threw at him. Federer had to fight a set point before taking the first set 9-7 in a tie break.
During these two weeks of play, Federer looked as good as he was during his prime. His serve was clicking, he was aggressive and coming to the net often, his backhand looked inspired and his slice, well his slice has never been the problem. Mostly though, he looked athletically rejuvenated moving extremely well to all directions of the court. All these technical and physical components made him feel very confident and his look showed that. Some people may say that Federer lost this match because he felt the fatigue towards the end. However, the key to the match was the return of serve. Djokovic is arguably the greatest returner in the game today. Despite Federer’s 26 aces throughout the match, Federer had to work very hard to hold his serve in several situations. What’s really amazing is the percentage of second serves won. Novak had 65% while Federer was at only 44%. Djokovic’s two-handed backhand was a threat during the entire match to Federer’s serving game. On the other hand, Djokovic served most of the time into Federer’s backhand in order to find the slice and consequently start the point into a neutral position.
The second set was decided by an early break and the third set was determined by another tie-break. Thanks to a very solid game from the baseline Djokovic took the lead 2 sets to 1.
The match was almost over when Djokovic found himself ahead in the fourth set with 5 games to 2 and soon after 5 to 4 at match point. It took everything from Federer to come back and level the match to 2 sets all.
The fifth set started on the same page as the first one, with both contenders displaying great tennis and holding their serves. It came down to the 10th game of the fifth set, where Federer made a few unforced errors with his backhand and let the game and the final slip away.
Tactically it was probably the greatest match of the year. Both players showed tremendous court awareness and incredible variety of their games. Federer known for his offensive game, found a way to play great defense in the match, while Djokovic was not afraid to hit his slice cross-court against arguably the greatest slice backhand of all time. The quality of the match increased with the importance of each point; that is what separates good players from champions.
Looking forward to what the U.S. Open will hold when it’s back in New York in August!