Wimbledon: Djokovic vows 'phenomenal' Kyrgios will bounce back after battling final performance

By Sports Desk July 10, 2022

Novak Djokovic assured the "phenomenal" Nick Kyrgios will soon be back in a grand slam final after defeating the spirited Australian in the Wimbledon showpiece on Sunday.

Kyrgios, appearing in his maiden major final and as the first Australian to make the Championship match at the All England Club since 2003, raced out the blocks to claim the first set.

Djokovic struggled to respond to the big-serving and heavy-hitting Kyrgios, but eventually broke for the first time in his third career meeting against the Australian to wrestle back some control.

As Djokovic grew into the game and manipulated his opponent around the court, Kyrgios became increasingly frustrated, arguing with both the umpires and one particular vociferous member of the crowd.

The world number three kept his cool, boasting a familiar aura of calmness, and ultimately triumphed 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) despite Kyrgios rediscovering his formidable serving in the latter exchanges.

That moved Djokovic one grand slam title behind Rafael Nadal's record of 22 major successes, but much of his post-match focus was on Kyrgios, whose outbursts did not detract from the Serbian's admiration of his opponent.

"Nick, you'll be back. Not just in Wimbledon but in many finals," Djokovic said in his on-court interview.

"I really respect you a lot, you're a phenomenal player and athlete, you've been told that for many years.

"Everything is starting to come together for you and I'm sure we will see much more of you in the later stages of grand slams.

"I never thought I was going to say so many nice things about you considering our relationship – okay, it is officially a bromance!"

The pair had exchanged messages on social media in the build-up to the showpiece, promising to enjoy dinner with one another after the final, with the winner paying for the meal.

Djokovic joked, "Yeah, that's why he lost", when asked if he would foot the bill for the duo's evening in SW19 or further afield, before adding: "I'm sure this is the start of a wonderful relationship for us.

"Let's start with dinner and drinks and then we will see!"

Djokovic won the crown for a fourth straight time to claim a seventh title at the tournament overall as he moved level with Pete Sampras in terms of Wimbledon crowns, only one behind Roger Federer's eight.

The 35-year-old now has 86 wins at the London major, his best record in a single grand slam, with only Federer (105) winning more matches at Wimbledon, and Djokovic was quick to discuss how much the tournament means to him.

"I lost words for what this tournament and what this trophy means to me, to my coach, my family and my team. It always has been and will be the most special tournament in my heart," he added.

"It is the one that inspired me and motivated me to start playing tennis, when I was little at a mountain resort in Serbia and I saw Sampras win his first title in 1992, I asked my parents to buy me a racquet.

"And my first image in tennis was grass, and Wimbledon, and I always dreamed of coming here, then realising my childhood dream and winning here, every single time it gets more and more meaningful.

"I'm very blessed and very thankful to be standing here with the trophy."

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