As he came back from a set down in the Wimbledon final, not for the first time in his long career, Novak Djokovic moved past Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer’s tally of 20 Grand Slam titles.
Djokovic picked up his 21st major crown with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 victory over first-time finalist Nick Kyrgios.
In Pictures: Novak Djokovic Wins Seventh Wimbledon Crown
Here is a look at the Serb’s landmark titles as he pushed to go level with all-time leading major winner Rafael Nadal who clinched his 22nd title at the Roland Garros.
Total number of major titles: 21
Australian Open Titles: 9
French Open Titles: 2
Wimbledon Titles: 7
US Open Titles: 3
1st ever grand slam title:
2008. Australian Open. Beat Jo Wilfred Tsonga in the final 4–6, 6–4, 6–3, 7–6.
1st Wimbledon title:
2011. Beat Rafael Nadal in the final 6–4, 6–1, 1–6, 6–3.
1st US Open title:
2011. Beat Rafael Nadal in the final 6–2, 6–4, 6–7, 6–1.
1st French Open title:
2016. Beat Andy Murray in the final 3–6, 6–1, 6–2, 6–4.
Novak Djokovic Beats Nick Kyrgios to Win Seventh Wimbledon Title and 21st Grand Slam
The year 2022 has been a challenging one for the Serbian icon. He ended the previous year with the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon titles, missing out on a calendar grand slam by falling to Russian Daniil Medvedev in the final hurdle.
He was expected to defend his Australian Open crown at Melbourne Park to start the year, but things took a nasty turn as the nine-time champion was not allowed to throw his hat in the ring at the major down-under due to his anti-vaccination status and stance. Nadal capitalised on the turn of events and ensured that he claimed the title.
Djokovic later revealed the toll the incident had taken on him mentally and emotionally.
The next title he had to defend was his crown at the Roland Garros where he was permitted to play without having taken a shot of the vaccine. But, things did not go according to plan as he was ousted in the quarter-final by eventual record 14-time clay-court major champion Nadal, once again.
With the US Open declaring that vaccination was required to enter the country’s Flushing Meadows tournament, which Djokovic still refuses to get with, Wimbledon remained the only real saving grace to save his tough year.
And Djokovic made good on his opportunity at the SW19. He elevated his game at moments necessary to walk out with his seventh grass-court major, levelling the record of American tennis great Pete Sampras, and one shy of Federer.
After the Australian Open debacle, the Serb mentioned that irrespective of nations permitting him entry to their borders and events, he would stick to his principles of decision-making on his body even if it meant that he had to forego the opportunity to rack up on titles.
I admire @DjokerNole for his tennis and mental toughness but respect him most for taking a stand for principle while the world played political science. He would prove to be correct based on all the recent studies and real world evidence and experience. #NovakDjokovic pic.twitter.com/OJs4qrrWsR— Jon Gordon (@JonGordon11) July 10, 2022
The Serb has demonstrated his mental fortitude time and again, be it coming back to win a match despite being a set or two down even on the grandest of stages or being completely kicked out of one major in Australia only to come back and claim the most coveted prize in world tennis.
It remains to be seen if the organisers of US Open will permit an unvaccinated Djokovic to enter the tournament. But, irrespective of what happens henceforth, the Serb has time and again displayed why he deserves to be right up there at the top of the list of legendary tennis players.
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