The men’s singles match at the Wimbledon 2021 final was a historic one for two reasons; Novak Djokovic won his 20th Grand Slam title, and Matteo Berrettini made his first major final. 15,000 people watched at Center Court — an unusual sight as one of the first major sporting events to have a full capacity crowd in attendance. The crowd did not disappoint, all sporting Italian or Serbian flags in favor of either player.
25-year-old Berretini, known for his powerful forehand and aggressive serves, was not thrown off by the prestige of the event or the experience of 34-year-old Djokovic. Djokovic had already won the Australian and French Open this season and aimed to become the fifth man in history to win the first three majors of the season. Berrettini took a tense opening set 6-7, which many predicted would be imperative for the Italian to win if he were to stand a chance against the Serb. The first set lasted for over an hour and was sealed by a typical high-speed ace by the Italian.
From the second set onwards, there was little Berrettini could do to stop Djokovic on his way to his 20th grand slam. Djokovic flew into a 5-1 lead in the second set, which Berrettini impressively clawed back to just 5-4. Djokovic then won the set 6-4. The third set also went in favor of Djokovic, again winning 6-4. The fourth and final set was close until 3-3 when Djokovic gained the lead from a Berrettini double fault. The Serb flew through the games to win the last set, 6-3.
On his historic road to the final, Berrettini said, “I’m really happy with the final, and hopefully it will not be my last one here or my last one in a Slam, I’m so honored to be here and it’s been a really great run for two weeks.” Berrettini was not short of fans at Center Court either, with the crowd chanting in his favor on many occasions, a rare sight against a legend like Djokovic. Even Djokovic seemed rattled by the crowd’s support of his opponent at times, sending stern looks into the crowd. Despite his loss in the final, Berrettini has certainly made his name known in tennis.
Djokovic maintained his status as a legend of the tennis world, joining Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on their 20 major titles each. Djokovic seems motivated by the idea of making tennis history, as he shows no signs of letting up at the age of 34. His next goal will be to overtake Nadal and Federer and become the player with the most major titles. Speaking of the fellow legends, Djokovic said, “They are the reason why I am where I am today. They made me realise what I had to do to get stronger — mentally, physically, and tactically.” And despite the crowd’s support for his opponent, it seemed that everyone at Wimbledon was happy to see Djokovic capture yet another title and do so gracefully.