Novak Djokovic Beats Nick Kyrgios to Win Wimbledon; 1 Major Title Behind Rafael Nadal

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 10, 2022

Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns to Australia's Nick Kyrgios in the final of the men's singles on day fourteen of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Sunday, July 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
AP Photo/Alastair Grant

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic overcame an early deficit to defeat Nick Kyrgios in four sets in the 2022 Wimbledon men's singles final at All England Club in London on Sunday.

The 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3) win gave Djokovic a fourth consecutive Wimbledon title, putting him one short of the Open era record of five straight co-held by Roger Federer and Bjorn Borg.

Wimbledon @Wimbledon

Magnificent. <br><br>In its 100 years, Centre Court has seen few champions like <a href="https://twitter.com/DjokerNole?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DjokerNole</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CentreCourt100?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CentreCourt100</a> <a href="https://t.co/vffvL2f08Q">pic.twitter.com/vffvL2f08Q</a>

Djokovic is now tied with American tennis legend Pete Sampras for the second-most career men's Wimbledon singles titles in the Open era with seven, just one behind Federer's record of eight.

Sunday's victory marked career Grand Slam title No. 21 as well, which is the second most of all time behind only Nadal's 22.

Much like his previous two matches, Djokovic got off to a slow start Sunday, getting broken once and dropping the opening set to Kyrgios.

In the quarterfinals, Nole was on the ropes, dropping the first two sets to Italian Jannik Sinner before roaring back to win. He also lost the first set to Briton Cameron Norrie in the semifinals, only to win the next three sets en route to victory.

After Kyrgios took the first set, it was noted by Jose Morgado of Diario Record that Djoker had never taken a set from Kyrgios in his career to that point:

José Morgado @josemorgado

Nicholas Kyrgios takes the first set of the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> final against 6-times champion Novak Djokovic, 6-4.<br><br>Lost 5 points on serve all set, three in the last game -- the only deuce game of the set.<br><br>31 minutes.<br><br>Djokovic is yet to win a set vs. Kyrgios in his career: 0-5. <a href="https://t.co/Ee32yO5XqS">pic.twitter.com/Ee32yO5XqS</a>

The drought ended in the next set, though, when Djokovic bounced back by breaking Kyrgios once and evening things at 1-1.

It didn't come easy for the Serbian star, however, as Kyrgios showed off ridiculous speed in tracking down a drop shot and put Djokovic in a hole while on serve to close out the set:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

The speed from <a href="https://twitter.com/NickKyrgios?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NickKyrgios</a> 😱<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> <a href="https://t.co/2EpqvincWo">pic.twitter.com/2EpqvincWo</a>

Despite being down 0-40, Djokovic battled back and won the game, sending the match to a third set.

Things started to unravel a bit for Kyrgios during the second set from a concentration perspective, as he began yelling at the supporters in his player's box after many of his miscues:

Ryan Glasspiegel @sportsrapport

Kyrgios constantly looking over at his box to make sure they’re cheering enthusiastically enough for him is not the type of mental makeup you need to beat Djokovic

Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg

Kyrgios misses shot, blames his box for it. <br><br>Rinse, repeat.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a>

The Big Three @Big3Tennis

Unforced Error count through two sets:<br><br>Kyrgios: 0<br><br>Kyrgios Player Box: 11<br><br>Crazy how many shots they are missing from up there

That carried over into the third set as well, which Djokovic also won on the strength of a key break of serve.

The Aussie even had it out with the chair umpire, imploring him to eject a woman who he claimed was drunk and heckling him:

Mike Dickson @Mike_Dickson_DM

'She's drunk out of her mind. The one who looks like she has had 700 drinks,' says Kyrgios to the umpire, identifying who is upsetting him.

Mixed in with the drama was some unbelievable tennis, including a between-the-legs winner from Kyrgios in response to a Djokovic lob:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

KYRGIOS MADE THIS LOOK TOO EASY 😳 <a href="https://t.co/NZq6cbZ2oM">pic.twitter.com/NZq6cbZ2oM</a>

The fourth set was largely a stalemate with neither player managing to break another, leading to a tiebreak. Kyrgios staved off a pair of match points, but Djoker finally put it away and celebrated the victory.

Despite the loss, Wimbledon 2022 represented a huge step forward in the career of the 27-year-old Kyrgios.

By virtue of Nadal having to pull out of the semifinals after exacerbating an abdominal injury in a quarterfinal win over Taylor Fritz, Kyrgios made it to his first career Grand Slam final.

Kyrgios had never made it beyond the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam previously, but the world No. 40 played some of the best tennis of his life in London and made it to the end even though he was unseeded.

As is often the case, Kyrgios struggled to keep his composure for much of Sunday's final, but he still gave Djokovic all he could handle and stood toe-to-toe with one of the all-time greats on Centre Court.

Meanwhile, the 35-year-old Djokovic won his first Grand Slam title of the year after winning three in 2021. He was not permitted to play in the 2022 Australian Open because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19 amid the country's coronavirus guidelines, and he was eliminated by Nadal in the quarterfinals at the French Open.

Now, Djokovic is back on top of his game, and he will begin preparations for the 2022 U.S. Open, which will take place in late August and early September in New York City.

If Djokovic can his fourth title in the Big Apple, he will tie Nadal for the most Grand Slam men's singles titles in tennis history.