7 reasons why Djokovic won Wimbledon

1—He didn’t face defending champion Roger Federer. If Federer had converted his match point in the third set against Kevin Anderson, he would have been fresh enough to possibly beat Isner in straight sets, then face Djokovic weary from a 5-hour, 15-minute epic with Nadal. Djokovic had a relatively easy road to the semi-finals, and he made the most of it. 

2—His finals opponent, Anderson, played nearly 15 hours beating Monfils, Federer and Isner (including the 26-24 fifth set marathon). Anderson had the heart but not the legs to serve Novak off the court or chase down his shots corner to corner. Novak has a PhD in wearing down opponents. When you’re tired, the last person you want to see across the net is Novak Djokovic.

3—Novak got his down the line backhand back. And he also nailed forehand winners down the line. He sliced fizzing backhands crosscourt, and also excelled at net charges and mini-tennis off drop shots. He was getting out of traps, reshaping patterns, taking away time and putting the ball where he wanted — just like the good old days.

4—Remember Novak’s abbreviated service motion in Australia? He repeatedly served out of trouble at Wimbledon, kicking up chalk with pinpoint accuracy. Anderson, with five break point chances, never broke him in the final.

5—His returns are the most under-rated, and perhaps most valuable, skill in the game of tennis. You hit a vicious slider out wide in the deuce court, and Novak redirects it to your deep forehand corner. You nail a serve down the T in the ad court, and suddenly you are rushing to hit a backhand from your corner. You hit a great serve to go on the offensive, and suddenly you are on defense fielding a shot at your feet.

6—Due to antiquated rules, Novak played Nadal indoors rather than in the hot sun favored by Rafa. The stuffy conditions under the roof took away Nadal’s extra topspin bounce, giving Novak more balls in his strike zone. It was perhaps enough to make a crucial difference in an extremely close match.

7—Novak got his band together. His coach Marian Vajda has long been his rock of stability. His wife and children were in SW19 to support him. Other than a few brief outbursts to blow off steam and relieve pressure, Novak played with a fatherly maturity. The shots of his son pointing at him, then later running into Daddy’s arms, will be among the iconic images of this tournament.

(words and images copyright Christopher Johnson Globalite Media all rights reserved)

 

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