Nick Kyrgios served brilliantly and unleashed a series of extraordinary meltdowns, but Novak Djokovic weathered the rage on his way to clinching a seventh Wimbledon title on Monday morning (AEST).
In a match that saw the firebrand Australian explode at the chair umpire, a rowdy spectator he labelled “drunk” and his team, Djokovic fought back from one set down to win a gripping four-set showdown.
The Serbian superstar defeated Kyrgios 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3), securing his fourth Wimbledon major in succession and a 21st grand slam title.
The All England Club triumph pushed Djokovic ahead of Roger Federer’s 20 grand slam titles and put him just one behind Rafael Nadal’s record mark.
After Kyrgios broke Djokovic’s serve to take a 3-2 lead in the opening set, the 35-year-old broke his rival in the fourth game of the second and ninth game of the third.
Djokovic then breezed through the fourth-set tiebreak and wrapped up victory when Kyrgios hit the ball into the net, prompting the victor to fling his arms into the air as he soaked up the emotion before a raucous standing ovation.
Kyrgios, recently declared the best server on the men’s tour by Australian tennis icon Wally Masur, tallied 30 aces in the decider to Djokovic’s 15.
But Djokovic’s unrivalled defensive game was at its best, epitomised by an outlandish save during the ninth game of the fourth set.
Kyrgios tested his opponent with a serve and volley as he dropped the ball close to the net, but Djokovic charged down the court and produced an un-returnable shot.
“Extraordinary,” said Australian tennis great Todd Woodbridge on Nine’s coverage.
“This recovery and athleticism, and then that control … All you can say is too good.”
Kyrgios was at his most colourful as he vented to the chair umpire during the third set, seething about a crowd member causing commotion.
“She’s drunk out of her mind,” said Kyrgios, who was slapped with a code violation.
“The one who looks like she’s had 700 drinks, bro.”
Kyrgios’ interaction with his box was at its most intense during an episode later in the third set.
“Why do you stop (cheering)?” a seething Kyrgios said.
“Why? Why do you?
Kyrgios was ropeable despite the unquestionable support of the members of his box, who repeatedly whistled, clapped and shouted words of encouragement.
The former world No.13 renewed his gripe with the chair umpire during the fourth set, when he thought he’d ripped an ace down the T only for the official to call a let.
“Turn it down,” Kyrgios said of a vibration indicator clamped to the net.
“It’s a joke.”
The Canberran then picked a fight with the chair umpire when a ball was called out later in the fourth set.
A replay revealed the ball had actually kissed the line, but Kyrgios appeared so consumed by his emotion that he didn’t review.
“If he wasn’t arguing he could concentrate a little heavier,” said former British tennis player Tim Henman on Nine’s coverage.
MORE TO COME.