It was a familiar scene on Centre Court Sunday. Just moments after securing another Wimbledon title, the Serbian knelt down, pulled a piece of grass from the court and tasted his victory.
On this occasion, that bite was extra sweet. Djokovic claimed his first major title of the season and his 21st Grand Slam overall by defeating Nick Kyrgios in an exciting four-set final.
“Obviously over the moon with joy and happiness of experiencing this moment once again. I’ve said it many times, this tournament is extra special for me because it has been the first tournament that I’ve ever watched as a kid that got me to start playing tennis,” Djokovic said. “I don’t take any wins for granted, and particularly not [at] Wimbledon. In contrary, actually every time feels a bit different, special in its own way. Of course, having family and close people in my life here to share this victory with them, it was beautiful.”
Djokovic Defeats Kyrgios For Seventh Wimbledon Title
This time one year ago, Djokovic earned his third major of the 2021 season and positioned himself for a run at the Grand Slam — lifting all four major trophies in a calendar year. Entering this edition of The Championships, however, he had only claimed one trophy for the season.
That did not spoil the Serbian’s confidence, though. The 35-year-old has now won four straight Wimbledon titles and has not lost a completed match at the tournament since the third round in 2016 against Sam Querrey.
“Coming into Wimbledon, I felt good for my tennis because I’ve won three titles in a row here prior to this year. I always liked playing on grass. I felt like each year I’ve been improving my tennis on grass,” Djokovic said. “I came off from Paris from a tough and also emotional loss against Nadal that obviously was disappointing. But Rome, Paris, I was already playing the tennis that I want to play, that puts me in a position to compete for the greatest titles.
“I liked my chance coming into Wimbledon. As I always am, I’m very inspired to play my best tennis in London.”
Kyrgios has proven a fan favourite around the world with his unpredictable game, which features everything from underarm serves to tweeners. But Djokovic had his own supporters who got behind him on Centre Court as he closed in on the trophy, which put him in a tie with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw for second-most Wimbledon men’s singles titles in history behind Roger Federer.
“I did definitely feel support and feel love from the crowd today, so I’m very grateful for that,” Djokovic said. “Obviously it’s not [a] secret that any player would like to have people backing him during the match because in the end of the day this could make a quite big difference with how you feel mentally. Definitely easier to overcome certain obstacles and situations in the match when you have people supporting you and being there for you.”
In the end, it was Djokovic’s experience that helped him over the line against Kyrgios, who put up a spirited effort in his first major final. The Serbian has appeared in 32 major championship matches, the most of any man in history. Kyrgios pointed to the 27-year-old’s composure as a key in the match, which the champion appreciated.
“I’m obviously thankful to him for praising my composure. I knew that that probably was one of the key elements today in order to win against him,” Djokovic said. “Not that he’s not composed, but he had never played in a Wimbledon final. We know that also he kind of has his ups and downs in the match. My experience of playing in this kind of occasion before could eventually decide or could help to my own advantage and favour.”
Rod Laver Arena, the centre court at the Australian Open, has been Djokovic’s most successful court — he has lifted the trophy at the season’s first major nine times after all. But having won seven of the past 11 editions of Wimbledon, the 35-year-old is proving more than comfortable on the hallowed lawns of Centre Court.
“The more you win, it’s logical the more confident, the more comfortable you feel out there every next time you step out on the court,” Djokovic said. “So the run keeps going. I feel very connected with this court and with this tournament, without a doubt.”