As Wimbledon 2014 came to a close, there would be only one man standing and it was to be one of two bitter rivals.
As Novak Djokovic squared off with Roger Federer, not many could have predicted just what an epic slugfest it would turn into. Of course, everyone watching was aware it would be a great match — few knew the intensity with which these two would duke it out at center court.
Djokovic knew Federer is one of the all-time greats, and he respects that. It was clear late in the match, however, that he was not in any way intimidated by Federer’s legacy. The two have gone head-to-head before, and Djokovic is not some rookie out of Nowheresville, Mont. He’s one of the best players in the modern era and as such, is immune to Federer’s psych-out factor. What was interesting was watching Federer clearly knowing this, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at his opponent.
Back-and-forth matches for a championship like theirs happen so rarely that they are an incredible treat. As Federer would drop a game, he’d come right back. Djokovic would return in-kind, capitalizing on every single moment of weakness shown. Some of the returns both players were sending over the net would show up in the nightmares of a lesser player.
As Djokovic gave shots of complete brute force, seeing Federer give completely sadistic shot placements was truly a thing of beauty to behold.
To be perfectly honest, Federer is likely on the back end of his legendary career. He is by no means anywhere close to being finished, but there’s not a whole lot of seasons left in his bag. Djokovic, on the other hand, could go on like this for years. Should he keep giving performances like he did in the finals against the ridiculous play of Federer, his place in the annals of the all-time greats is secure.
It cannot be said enough that matches like this do not come along every day. In the end, it was Djokovic who simply wanted it more, earned it more and outlasted his opponent. His second title was earned in sweat and he has every right to enjoy it just a little bit more than most.