In the ultimate clash of tennis titans, Roger Federer had everything under control against Novak Djokovic in Wimbledon final last July, only to walk off the court empty-handed! The Swiss won 14 points more than the Serb, had four more breaks on his tally and 40 winners more, two match points and two break points at 11-11 in the decider up for grabs, squandering all that and allowing Djokovic to steal the crown in the longest Wimbledon final ever.
The Serb gave his best to stay in contention and fight against the rival who had the upper hand in the more significant part of the encounter. Novak repelled those two match points on the return at 7-8 in the fifth set and produced the steel nerves in all three tie breaks to grab the 16th Major title.
The overall numbers were on Federer's side but Djokovic did what he had to in the pivotal moments, carried by the incredible inner strength that helped him overpower both Roger and the crowd en route to the fifth Wimbledon crown.
Two hours and 15 minutes since the beginning of the clash, Novak was yet to create a break chance, still leading two sets to one despite that! In the first set tie break, Federer led 5-3 before dropping four straight points to hand it to Djokovic, who didn't have to do much in those 12 points, hitting no winners or errors and allowing Roger to make mistakes and ruin everything he was building in the last 55 minutes.
The Swiss left this setback behind him, storming over Djokovic to quickly grab the second set 6-1, standing as the better player in the third as well but wasting a break chance that installed the second tie break. Novak clinched it 7-4 after six errors from Roger, four in an unforced area from the backhand wing that cost him a slow start and the better finish.
After all kinds of drama in the deciding set and survived games 16 and 23, Novak was the favorite in the crucial tie break that he claimed 7-3 to wrap up the title and one of his most extraordinary victories ever.
Federer hit the last ball in 29 out of 33 points in all three tie breaks, leaving Novak on three winners.
On the other hand, the eight-time champion counted to six service winners and five from the court, spoiling all that after massive 13 unforced mistakes and five that Novak forced.
Like in the rest of the encounter, tie breaks were on Roger's racquet, failing to deliver his best tennis when it mattered the most and spraying 17 errors more than the steady Serb to find himself on the losing side. Speaking on Join Roger Federer Live show, Roger said he doesn't think about those two match points and wasted opportunity, giving his everything and feeling thrilled for having a chance to participate in such a memorable final.
"Honestly, I don't have a problem with those two match points wasted against Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last year. Sure, I would have wanted to be winning at that moment, but being back at deuce and serving was still a good position.
At that moment, you still feel good about your chances; you may be slightly worried the rival would come back but everything happens quickly. Instead of thinking about how terrible things were, I was still in a good position until pretty much the last three points of the match when I realized it would be tough to overcome the deficit. It was a memorable final and I was thrilled to be a part of it," Roger Federer said.