It is only right that the 2014 Wimbledon Championships concluded with a classic for the ages between two legends.
Just one day after Petra Kvitova trumped Eugenie Bouchard in the ladies' final to usher in a new era, Novak Djokovic fended off a resilient Roger Federer in a final that signals the torch has not yet been passed and that two legends still have plenty in the tank.
Over the course of two weeks, upsets littered the proceedings in London, but two old rivals emerged from the bracket unscathed to duel in a rare finals meeting. Indeed, it turned out to be one for the history books.
Here is a look at the results from the final day in London, and the most notable of what was a classic tournament.
|3rd Round||Barbora Zahlavova Strycova def. Li Na||7-6, 7-6|
|3rd Round||Alize Cornet def. Serena Williams||1-6, 6-3, 6-4|
|4th Round||Nick Kyrgios def. Rafael Nadal||7-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-3|
|4th Round||Angelique Kerber def. Maria Sharapova||7-6, 4-6, 6-4|
|Quarterfinals||Grigor Dimitrov def. Andy Murray||6-1, 7-6, 6-2|
|Quarterfinals||Roger Federer def. Stan Wawrinka||3-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4|
|Semifinals||Eugenie Bouchard def. Simona Halep||7-6, 6-2|
|Women's Final||Petra Kvitova def. Eugenie Bouchard||6-3, 6-0|
|Men's Final||Novak Djokovic def. Roger Federer||6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4|
A Rivalry Rekindled Sparks a Classic
Go ahead and call the final on Centre Court Sunday an exorcism of demons for one Djokovic.
Entering the final with a 16-18 record against Federer and having lost their only previous grass-court meeting two years ago at the same event, which saw Federer through to win his seventh title, there was a lot for Djokovic to overcome.
Add in the fact he had lost five of his last six Grand Slam finals and stumbled into this particular one with strange lapses against players such as Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov in the matches prior, and it's not an understatement to say that even he must have felt some lingering doubts—especially when Federer made his comeback bid late.
Alas, Djokovic rose to the occasion and had an answer for each rally from his rival.
Federer tallied 180 points won; Djokovic 186. The Swiss registered 29 unforced errors; Djokovic 27. Any time the momentum swung in his rival's favor, Djokovic—not the awkwardly slipping and sliding version from earlier matches in the tournament—found a way to one-up his adversary.
Perhaps the most vital point in the match came in the third set during the tiebreak, which wound up with Federer firing off unforced errors in the face of Djokovic's elite movement, as one Andy Roddick noted:
Djoko so dialed in .... Covers so much ground. I feel like I'm watching XBox— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 6, 2014
It was clear at this point who would go on to win the match. The Serbian star smelled blood in the water and delivered a resounding serve to take the set.
That said, Federer ensured his title bid was not of the embarrassing variety and forced the match to a full five sets, as Wimbledon's Twitter account and Live Tennis illustrated:
So - Federer will now serve to take this into a deciding set - cancel your dinner plans, people— Live Tennis (@livetennis) July 6, 2014
Djokovic was able to stand tall in the face of the rally, with Federer's final shot crashing harmlessly into the net.
"I can't believe I made it to five, it wasn't looking good there for a while," said Federer, per Alan Tyers of The Telegraph. "I can only say congratulations [to Novak], an amazing match and well deserved. I felt the love here, I enjoyed myself a lot, and see you next year."
Djokovic, graceful in his final statement, was somewhat in awe of the hole his opponent almost dug himself out of late in the match:
Roger is a magnificent athlete, a great champion and a role model. I respect everything he has done in his career. In important moments he comes up with his best shots. It wasn't easy to regroup and compose myself after losing the fourth set. This is the tournament I always dreamed of winning. The first tournament I saw when I was five years old and it stayed in my mind.
Djokovic will be pleased to have rediscovered the winning touch just in time for the looming U.S. Open, where he'll surely want to compete for a spot in the finals for the fifth consecutive year and nab his second title.
Who will go further at the U.S. Open?
Provided the fact all doubts about his play have been erased thanks to a flawless final, there are few reasons to doubt his chances.
That goes for Federer, too. He has not reached the final at the Arthur Ashe Stadium since 2009, but he has won on U.S. soil five times and is clearly back to elite form, yet again bucking conventional wisdom that says his demise is right around the corner.
Thanks to two legends, a matchup once again lived up to its billing and hype. With both men surely on the path to the U.S. Open, fans around the globe can rest easy knowing that the final Grand Slam will not be one to skip.