Novak Djokovic beats Nick Kyrgios for 7th Wimbledon title, 21st major

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Novak Djokovic dispatched Australian Nick Kyrgios to win a fourth consecutive Wimbledon, his seventh career title at the All England Club and his 21st overall major, moving one shy of Rafael Nadal‘s men’s singled record.

“He’s a bit of a god,” Kyrgios said.

The top-ranked Djokovic overcame the powerful and polarizing Kyrgios 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3) in a final that he correctly predicted would include fireworks.

Kyrgios provided them, as he often does. It began with an underhand serve and between-the-legs baseline shot in an otherwise sublime first set (points both won by Djokovic) where the 40th-ranked Aussie won 15 consecutive points on his serve and hit 14 winners to four unforced errors.

Kyrgios, who had never been to a major semifinal before this tournament, did not keep up the torrid pace. As Djokovic turned the momentum, Kyrgios began chirping at the umpire (receiving an audible obscenity warning) and his player box and grew frustrated that a female fan made noise during one service game.

Djokovic also lived up to his reputation, weathering Kyrgios’ early power and seizing the opportunities when the Aussie let up. He rallied from love-40 and 40-love deficits to win a game late in the second and third sets. In the deciding tiebreak, Kyrgios made errors on three of his first four serve points of the fourth-set tiebreak, where Djokovic never trailed.

Djokovic tied childhood idol Pete Sampras at seven Wimbledon titles, one shy of Roger Federer‘s male record.

“I saw Pete Sampras win his first Wimbledon in ’92 [editor’s note: 1993], and I asked my dad and mom to buy me a racket,” Djokovic said. “It always has been and will be the most special tournament in my heart.”

Federer, 40, hasn’t played a match since last year’s Wimbledon quarterfinals but is expected to return this fall, after the U.S. Open. Federer said last Sunday at a Centre Court ceremony, in a suit and tie, that he hopes to return to Wimbledon “one more time.”

Nadal is the man in Djokovic’s sights now, though. A year ago, Djokovic won Wimbledon to tie his two longtime rivals for the men’s record 20 majors. Since, Nadal came back from thoughts of retirement due to chronic foot pain to win the Australian Open and French Open.

Djokovic closed the gap Sunday, but he might miss the next two majors because of his decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19. If that’s the case, his next Slam will be at Nadal’s house, the French Open, when Djokovic will be nearly the same age (36 years and a handful of days) that Nadal was when he won his 22nd major.

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Novak Djokovic beats Nick Kyrgios for 7th Wimbledon title, 21st major originally appeared on NBCSports.com