Defending champion Novak Djokovic claimed his fifth Wimbledon title on Sunday beating eight-time champion Roger Federer 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 13-12 (7/3) in the longest ever final and settled by a historic tie-break.
The 32-year-old Serbian saved two match points as he took his Grand Slam tally to 16, four off Federer’s overall record.
Djokovic’s victory extends to 11 successive Grand Slams won by the big three, himself, Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Clocking in at four hours and 57 minutes, the match was the longest men’s singles final in Wimbledon history, and had it not been for a new rule that requires a tie-breaker if both players score 12-12 in the final set, it could have gone even longer.
Djokovic won the first set, a bad sign for Federer, as his opponent is 63-1 in majors when taking the first set.
The pair went back and forth, Djokovic taking the first set, Federer the second, Djokovic the third, and Federer the fourth. After the 12-12 fifth set, Djokovic took the unprecedented tie-breaker 7-3.
Djokovic won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015. Now, he’s repeated the achievement, defending his 2018 title to win his fifth Wimbledon championship.
Federer, his Swiss opponent, boasts eight Wimbledon championships and would have been the oldest player to take a Grand Slam title had he not been defeated.
Djokovic commended his opponent, saying “I think that if this is not the most exciting final then it’s definitely in the top two or three of my career against one of the greatest players of all time, Roger, who I respect.”
Federer holds the record for most Wimbledon finals appearances, at 12.
Since his first Wimbledon victory against Rafael Nadal in 2011, Djokovic has established a signature tradition of eating grass from the court after each win. This year, he didn’t disappoint, crouching to pluck a bit of the turf into his mouth and grinning at the crowd as he savored his title.