The surprises came early at Wimbledon, with favorites like Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal going out in the early rounds. But the unpredictable moments carried on through Sunday, when two of the world's best tennis stars battled it out in an instant-classic, five-set thriller that left everyone watching on the edge of their seats.
Let's get right into it and break down all of the best moments from Djokovic's victory.
|Novak Djokovic def. Roger Federer||6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4|
Djokovic's Commanding 3rd-Set Tiebreak
The opening few sets of Sunday's final could not have been much more even; break points were a rarity, and Federer and Djokovic split the first two sets before going into a crucial tiebreak for the third.
Only a few points would decide who took a commanding two-sets-to-one lead, bringing the best serves out of both. Federer opened with an ace, which Djokovic answered with two more of his own. But after that, the top seed was quick to take control.
Federer looked to be at his best, but it simply wasn't good enough for Djokovic's perfect returns, magnificently placed serves and speed around the grassy courts.
The star Serbian was focused but excited after the crucial set victory, per Wimbledon:
Sports Illustrated Tennis noted FedEx's solid numbers in the losing set:
Roger Federer served at 83% and hit just 4 UFE in that set. And lost it. Steely effort in that tiebreaker for Djokovic, who now leads 2-1.— SI Tennis (@SI_Tennis) July 6, 2014
From the start of things, Federer's serve was untouchable at times, and his placement couldn't have been much better. But Djokovic was covering ground at an incredible pace with strong returns.
Former tennis star Andy Roddick was quite impressed with Djokovic's play:
Djoko so dialed in .... Covers so much ground. I feel like I'm watching XBox— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 6, 2014
At the peak of the Serbian's play, his return was simply impossible to deal with, as ESPN's Stephen A. Smith observed:
Djokovic has broken Federer's serve 3 straight times.— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) July 6, 2014
He wasn't able to hold on to the momentum throughout the rest of the match, but Djokovic's crucial third-set victory helped to set the stage for his triumph.
The FedEx Rally
Previously very much in the fourth set, which he needed to win to tie things up, Federer succumbed to a furious Djokovic rally that saw him lead 5-2 and come just one break away from the Wimbledon title.
But as Federer has shown time and time again throughout his career, he doesn't go down swinging.
The Swiss star easily defended his serve and broke Djokovic on the next game to pull it back to 5-4. The momentum was on his side, and Djokovic was looking more and more vulnerable.
Djokovic rallied back for a match-point opportunity, but Federer slipped past and extended the fourth set—improbably tying it up at 5-5 after the Djoker had three straight games to wrap up the title.
Minutes later, Federer had broken Djokovic again and thus took control of the set. ESPN's Ed Werder was beside himself:
Great clutch play and resolve by Roger The Great— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) July 6, 2014
At that point, the impossible became the inevitable—Federer had dragged it out to a fifth and decisive set, winning the fourth 7-5.
Wimbledon captured the crowd reaction at the frenzied Centre Court:
Live Tennis was one of the first to note that it would be a long afternoon:
So - Federer will now serve to take this into a deciding set - cancel your dinner plans, people— Live Tennis (@livetennis) July 6, 2014
It didn't pay off for Federer in the end, but his battling back into the fifth set was commendable in its own right.
The Fifth Set
Before the fifth set even began, it was obvious that legacies were on the line for two of the world's best tennis players.
With that said, both Federer and Djokovic weren't all too interested in letting the other break their serve. Playing it close to the vest, both traded games early on.
Federer was energetic and strong throughout the latter moments, seemingly amped from his fourth-set comeback. Djokovic, on the other hand, was limping after a couple of awkward falls.
Leading 2-1, Djokovic took a medical timeout, per Wimbledon:
The injury didn't seem to hold Djokovic back. Although every Federer winner was met with a loud roar and despite looking down and out at times, he kept on defending his serves and pushing Federer to deuces on his own service games.
Federer was magnificent, hitting powerful serves—many of which Djokovic couldn't even get to. It was bringing back bad memories for Roddick from their epic 2009 final:
Best I've seen Roger serve since ....... Damn it— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 6, 2014
Game after game went to whoever was serving, leaving Djokovic up 5-4 with a chance to break for the championship.
And what a time for the set's first break to come.
Djokovic saved his best for last. He crushed every blistering Federer serve back with a velocity and placement that left the Swiss great off his mark, and Djokovic was quick to smash home four winners to break Federer and take his second Wimbledon title.
Bleacher Report UK summed up Djokovic's victory:
Novak Djokovic has defeated Roger Federer to win Wimbledon! It’s his seventh Grand Slam title. pic.twitter.com/TShDGoP22U— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) July 6, 2014
He's already lifted the Wimbledon trophy once in his career, but victory No. 2 proved to be just as sweet:
Although he usually shows his form by lifting the trophy, Federer—ever the consummate sportsman—was gracious in defeat:
It was a battle to lift the trophy, and it looked to be very much in doubt at times throughout the fourth and fifth sets. Things looked to be slipping away from Djokovic, and he was breaking down both physically and mentally.
But he mustered up enough strength to hold on to his serves in the fifth and break Federer once. That's all he needed.
With his seventh Grand Slam title, Djokovic has ensured his place among today's legends—as if there was any doubt before. With a few more Grand Slams, he can start pushing Federer and Nadal later in his career.
For the moment, the Djoker will at least enjoy this victory.
Follow Steven on Twitter.