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Novak Djokovic wins 20th Grand Slam at Wimbledon, ties men's all-time record

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 7/12/2021 Emily Adams, USA TODAY
Novak Djokovic wins Wimbledon, ties Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal with 20 Grand Slams
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Novak Djokovic defeated Matteo Berrettini in the Wimbledon men's singles final to win his 20th Grand Slam and third consecutive Wimbledon title. The victory ties the record held by tennis greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most career Grand Slam singles titles in men's tennis history.

Novak Djokovic standing in front of a crowd: Novak Djokovic celebrates winning Wimbledon. © Julian Finney, Getty Images Novak Djokovic celebrates winning Wimbledon.

Djokovic won 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.

"Winning Wimbledon was always the biggest dream of mine when I was a kid," Djokovic said on the ESPN broadcast. "As a 7-year-old in Serbia, I constructed a Wimbledon trophy from materials I found around my room, and standing here today with a sixth Wimbledon, it’s amazing." 

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Djokovic also acknowledged Federer and Nadal and said the three-way tie at 20 Grand Slams will only motivate him further.

"None of us three will stop," he said. "They are legends of our sport, and they are the two most important players that I ever faced in my career. They are the reason that I am where I am today. The last 10 years has been an incredible journey that is not stopping here.”


Video: Novak Djokovic wins Wimbledon, ties Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal with 20 Grand Slams (USA TODAY)

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Berrettini, the No. 7 seed from Italy, struggled early in the opening set, unable to find a rhythm against Djokovic's movement. The reigning champ dominated at the net, winning 78% of net points, and Berrettini was plagued by unforced errors. However, the Italian found his stride, and after going down 5-2, he managed to force a tiebreak and take a 1-0 lead. Djokovic came back with a vengeance in the second set and held off another late run from Berrettini to tie the match 1-1.

Djokovic never let up after that, winning the next two sets to bring home his sixth Wimbledon victory. He also won the French Open and Australian Open earlier this year, putting him just one tournament away from completing the Grand Slam. The U.S. Open, the final tournament in the Slam, begins Aug. 30. Only six people have ever won all four tournaments in a single year, and the last man to do so was Australia's Rod Laver in 1969.

“I’ve envisioned that happening," Djokovic said. "I’m hoping I’m going to give it a shot. I’m in a great form, and playing my best tennis at Grand Slams is the highest priority I have right now at this stage in my career, so let’s keep it going.”

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Djokovic also has a chance to achieve an incredible feat only Steffi Graf has accomplished if he wins the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics — although he said after winning Wimbledon he was only 50-50 on playing. Graf, in 1988, became the only tennis player in history to win the Golden Slam — all four majors plus the Olympics in the same year.

History was also made courtside at Wimbledon. Marija Cicak became the first woman to serve as Chair Umpire at a men's singles final in the 144-year history of the championships. She previously officiated the women's singles finals in 2014 and the women's doubles final in 2017.

Djokovic came into Wimbledon ranked No. 1 in the world, and he lost only one set prior to the finals. Berrettini's path was less smooth, but he never gave up more than one set in a match. The 25-year-old has been one of the strongest players in the world on grass courts this year with an 11–0 record.

“[Djokovic is] writing the history of this sport, so he deserves all the credit," Berrettini said. "Hopefully this is not going to be my last time here. I couldn’t ask for more — but maybe a little bit more.”

Contact Emily Adams at eaadams@gannett.com or on Twitter @eaadams6.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Novak Djokovic wins 20th Grand Slam at Wimbledon, ties men's all-time record

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