The Nick Kyrgios show made must-see viewing for everyone at Wimbledon on Sunday except one man – Novak Djokovic refused to get sucked in by the hullabaloo going on the other side of the net as he zoned in on hoisting the Challenge Cup for a seventh time.
In a career spanning almost two decades, there is almost nothing the Serbian had not weathered during his previous 31 Grand Slam finals.
During that time he took on 11 different rivals, from Roger Federer in 2007 to Daniil Medvedev last year, but it is safe to say that in all those finals he had never witnessed anything like the theatrics that were going on in Kyrgios’s corner.
In fact, in the 134 previous editions of the grasscourt championships, the prim and proper establishment of the All England Club had never seen anything like it on final’s day either.
There was a cheeky underarm serve, there were plenty of tweeners and of course there was a continuous flow of verbal sparring with himself, his entourage and the umpire. At one point the Australian hot-head even yelled at the umpire to ‘kick out’ a female fan from the stands as she ‘looks like she’s had 700 drinks bro’.
The distractions were a plenty but it was soon clear why Kyrgios described Djokovic as ‘a God’. He remained serene throughout the three hour commotion to ensure he was the one celebrating a 21st Grand Slam title by once again nibbling on some Centre Court grass.
Incredibly the 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6(3) triumph was his 28th successive win at Wimbledon and also meant that Djokovic has not lost on Centre Court since being beaten by Andy Murray in the 2013 final.
Djokovic had started 2022 tied on 20 Grand Slam titles with fellow Big Three rivals Federer and Rafa Nadal. The Serbian had been heavily tipped as the one who would break that deadlock at the Australian Open considering he owns a men’s record eight titles at the season’s opening slam.
But his Australian odyssey ended in chaos, with the Serbian held in an immigration detention centre for five days before being deported from the country on the eve of the hardcourt major.
“Once I left Australia… (it) caused turbulence inside of me. I just needed time to weather the storm.”
With mission completed at Wimbledon, the Serb has no idea how the rest of the year will pan out for him considering at the moment he cannot enter the U.S. without being vaccinated.
Hence the Serbian may not appear in another slam again until next May’s French Open because as it stands, he will also be barred from competing in Australia in January – thus denting the Serb’s hopes of topping the all-time list of men’s Grand Slam champions.
“I’m not vaccinated and I’m not planning to get vaccinated so the only good news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card or whatever you call it to enter United States or exemption.”