On Sunday, Roger Federer was back in the Wimbledon final. But he faced the stiffest of tests on the road to winning a record eighth title at the All England Club — and a very familiar foe.
No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic was on the other side of the net as the two staged their whopping 35th career meeting against each other. Federer has won 18 to Djokovic’s now 17. Somewhat amazingly, these two had only met once before in a Grand Slam final — Federer’s straight-set win at the 2007 U.S. Open.
Also at stake for Djokovic was the world No. 1 ranking. By winning, he reclaimed the position from Rafael Nadal.
We followed every shot of the match for you right here. Recap all the action and share your thoughts on the match in the comments section below.
Wimbledon gentlemen’s final
1 Novak Djokovic
4 Roger Federer
Game 10: Djokovic leaps out to a 15-40 edge on Federer’s serve and has two more looks at championship point. On the next rally, Federer slaps a backhand into the tape and that does it. Novak Djokovic is your 2014 Wimbledon champion.
Game 9: Djokovic responds with a safe hold, and it’s 5-4. Just a reminder: No tiebreaks in the fifth set at Wimbledon. They’ll play until someone breaks.
Game 8: Just when it feels like Federer has the momentum, Djokovic ends up with a double break point. Federer serves out wide and Djokovic’s return hits the top of the tape and alllllmost creeps over. Federer wins the next point to get it to deuce. Next point to Djokovic for another break chance. Federer saves that one with some dicey play at the net. Another trip to deuce and finally Federer holds on. 4-4. But shaky service games from both of them.
Game 7: Federer is flying around the court and throwing the kitchen sink at Djokovic here, and it’s enough to earn him a break point at 30-40. Some heavy hitting from Djokovic fends it off and secures the hold. 4-3, Novak.
Game 6: A hold at love puts us at 3-3. So far, no indication from Djokovic that he can challenge Federer’s serve here.
Game 5: A long rally at 30-15 tests Djokovic’s fortitude, and he holds tough, winning the point with a volley at the net. An ace up the tee makes it 3-2 as we stay on serve in the middle stages of the fifth.
Game 4: After an extended break for treatment, Djokovic is back on court, but he has nothing much to offer in this Federer service game. A hold at love as Djokovic continues to tug and stretch at his legs. 2-2.
Game 3: Djokovic secures the hold, but perhaps some signs that the older Federer is the fitter player right now? Roger still has a pop in his step and made Djokovic labor after a couple of shots in the game. Djokovic called for the trainer on the way to the chair.
Game 2: Federer holds at love, popping in a couple more aces. Who will crack first here under the most intense of pressures?
Game 1: Here we go — one set for the Wimbledon title. After five breaks of serve in a wild fourth set, Djokovic restores a little order off the top, holding comfortably for 1-0.
Game 12: Federer slips out of the gate, losing the first point, but comes back strong. He finishes with a flourish, reeling off four straight points to take the set and force a fifth here in the final. Great stuff.
Game 11: What. A. Turnaround. Federer goes from seemingly dead in the water to grabbing triple break point on Djokovic’s serve here. Djokovic saves the first two, but Federer wins the next rally and will serve to take his ninth career Wimbledon final to a fifth and final set.
Federer celebrates after winning the first set.
Game 10: At 30-15, Federer double faults to 30-30, then makes an error and Djokovic gets his first championship point on the return instead of the serve. Federer saves it on a challenged serve that proves good. Another ace gives Federer the advantage. Djokovic gets it back to deuce. Federer crosses him up on the next point, winning back the advantage. Another strong serve up the tee seals it. We’re at 5-5 in the fourth.
Game 9: Federer gets a big window at 0-30, but Djokovic storms back to win the next two and level it at 30-30. The ensuing rally, ends with Federer whipping a backhand cross-court that Djokovic can’t handle. Break point, Federer. On the next rally, Djokovic again slips and falls while chasing down a Federer forehand, and the point goes to Roger. Hold everything, we’re back on serve.
Game 8: A hold for Federer to make it 5-3, but all that matters now is the next service game.
Game 7: A glimmer of hope for Federer comes at 15-30, but Djokovic stands strong and gets to 5-2.
Game 6: And now time to pay homage to Djokovic’s fighting spirit. He pops right back and breaks again to reclaim the edge. The finish line is just two service games away as he leads 4-2.
Game 5: Just when you think he’s licked, Federer starts off up 0-30 on Djokovic’s serve. Djokovic comes back with an ace, then the most crowd-pleasing point of the match ends with Federer smashing a volley at the net to earn two break points. On the next point, he goes all out to rip a forehand cross-court and nails it. Federer breaks right back and we’re on serve again at 3-2.
Game 4: Federer double faults to open the fourth game of the set, then loses a long rally and yet again errs on a forehand. Suddenly, just as easily as he had been holding serve, Federer finds himself down 0-40. Federer saves the first two break points with some clinical tennis, then smacks a strong forehand on the next point to get us to deuce. After another lengthy rally, Djokovic seizes another break point chance. Another rally, another error, and another break for Djokovic. He can taste it now.
Game 3: Easy hold, Djokovic. He’s been untouchable on the serve. 2-1, Novak.
Game 2: Federer continues his strong serving to open this set, holding easily for 1-1.
Game 1: Federer seems visibly frustrated in the wake of the disappointing end to the third set. He makes a couple more errors as Djokovic holds at love with the Wimbledon title within reach.
Tiebreak: They go back-and-forth on serve for the first six points before Djokovic squeaks a backhand pass off the tape and in past Federer for a 3-2 edge. Federer errs on a return on the next point and it’s Novak with the 4-2 advantage as they change ends.
Federer appears to hit one long, then challenges and wins a reversal by the narrowest of margins. Instead of 5-2 Djokovic, it’s 4-3 back on serve. But another forehand error from Federer makes it 5-3 before a strong serve gets it to 5-4. Djokovic blisters a forehand winner on the next point and has two cracks at the third set. He only needs one, as a long rally ends with Federer pushing a backhand slice wide. Djokovic is one set from the Wimbledon title.
Game 12: An easy hold for Djokovic brings us to that inevitable tiebreak.
Game 11: Federer appeared to have finished off another comfortable service game with an ace, but a challenge from Djokovic reveals it was out. Djokovic wins the next two points to earn a break chance. Federer fights it off, then promptly surrenders another. A big serve up the middle proves too much for Djokovic and we’re back to deuce. Then comes an ace. Then another. Federer hangs on for 6-5.
Game 10: On the return, Federer tries charging the net to put some pressure on Djokovic, but it doesn’t work. Quick hold for 5-5.
Game 9: A speedy game full of aces puts Federer up 5-4. Are we destined for another tiebreak here?
Game 8: It’s a hold at love for Djokovic to get us to 4-4 as we head to the business end of the set.
Game 7: Another spiffy hold for Federer, capped by a gorgeous running backhand volley at the net. 4-3, Roger, still on serve.
After dropping the first set, Djokovic responded in the second and third sets.
Game 6: A little intrigue here, as a missed line call gets in the way of Federer’s pursuit of a 0-30 edge. The point is replayed, and Djokovic wins it for 15-15, then claws out a hold. 3-3.
Game 5: Both players continue to move very well on this slippery court. It feels like they’re racing each other to see how fast they can hold. Federer does it at love again and it’s 3-2, Roger. On serve in the third.
Game 4: Djokovic. Routine. 2-2.
Game 3: Federer holds at love as both players start off the set in quite a rhythm. 2-1, Roger.
Game 2: Easy hold for Djokovic, finished with a crafty backhand pass as Federer charged the net. It’s 1-1 in the early stages of the third.
Game 1: Federer opens with the serve again, but no adventures this time. Straightforward hold for 1-0.
Game 10: Federer gets his first break point chance of the match at an opportune time, but Djokovic quickly salts it away with a strong serve-forehand combo. An ace puts Djokovic at set point, and an overhead on the next point secures it. We’re going at least four sets today.
Game 9: Very easy hold at love for Federer. Djokovic seems content to let his dominating serve finish this one off.
Game 8: Quick hold for Djokovic for 5-3. He’s in a great spot here.
Game 7: Routine hold for Federer, but he’s running low on time to get back in the second. 4-3, Novak.
Game 6: A quick hold for 4-2 for Djokovic, who will be perfectly happy with that routine the next couple of service games in this set.
Game 5: Federer returns to his first-set service form and holds easily for 3-2, but he’ll need a break here to get back in the set.
Game 4: Djokovic calls for the trainer before the game, then continues to show no ill affects in jumping out to a quick a 40-0 lead. Federer — who also slips and falls during the course of this game — manages to scratch his way back to a couple deuces, but Djokovic holds on to back up the break. 3-1, Novak.
Game 3: Federer, meanwhile, is now struggling mightily with the serve that has been so reliable for him all tournament long. Djokovic jumps out to a 0-30 lead, then gets another break point look. Federer tries an ill-advised serve-and-volley and Djokovic smacks a backhand pass cross-court for the break.
Game 2: If Djokovic is injured at all after his tumble in the last game, he’s found a good way to get around it — impeccable serving. He blows Federer off the court in this game for 1-1.
Game 1: Djokovic shows no signs of being deflated, seizing the first break point of the match right away on Federer’s first service game of the set. But on a second-serve return, Djokovic can’t find the zone and misses long. He rifles a backhand pass up the line on the next point to secure another break point. A long rally ensues, and a Djokovic forehand clips the tape and sails wide. Back to deuce. Another rally, and on this one Djokovic slips on the dusty baseline area and falls to the ground, helping Federer win the advantage. Djokovic pops back up and manages to win the next point with another backhand up the line to bring us back to deuce. Federer wins the next two points and can breathe a sigh of relief as he holds for 1-0.
Tiebreak: Federer nabs a mini-break on the opening point, then wins a long rally and cracks an ace for a 3-0 lead. Djokovic wins the next two on his serve easily. Federer holds the first point of his next set of serves and they change ends with Federer still holding a 4-2 edge.
Djokovic gets the mini-break back on the next point, then holds his pair of serve points to grab his first lead of the breaker at 5-4. Federer wins the next after an entertaining rally, but then Djokovic hits a great return to get a mini-break and earn himself a set point. But back comes Federer — he takes advantage of a second serve, stretches the court and levels the breaker at 6-6.
Federer stabs a backhand return weakly into the lower part of the net to fall back behind 7-6. A Federer ace out wide off the line makes it 7-7, then a blistering serve up the middle makes it 8-7, Roger. With the serve back in Djokovic’s hand, Federer gets him into a rally and coaxes another backhand error out of the serve. First set to Federer, 9-7 in the tiebreak.
Game 12: Federer holds comfortably. A tiebreak will determine the first set.
Game 11: Federer coaxes the game to deuce, but Djokovic holds him off. Federer will serve to send us to a tiebreak.
Game 10: More sterling returning gives Djokovic a 15-30 edge. The next two points yield lengthy rallies, with Federer winning both as Djokovic hits two into the tape. Federer tries the serve-and-volley on the next point but errs. Another highlight-reel rally ends with Federer pushing Djokovic off court and winning the point. A strong serve on the next point makes it 5-5. Gritty hold for Federer to stay in the set.
Game 9: At 15-15, Djokovic gets overzealous on what should’ve been an easy forehand putaway and floats it long to give Federer his first whiff of a break chance. But three smoking serves in a row make sure those dreams die quickly. It’s 5-4 Djokovic, on serve.
Game 8: For the second time, Djokovic works his way to a deuce opportunity. A blistering serve out wide and a gorgeous forehand on a sharp angle help Federer quickly erase any thoughts of a break. It’s 4-4.
Game 7: Aside from a double fault, Djokovic has another easy time of it on the serve. He’s lost just two points on his serve so far despite hitting only about half his first serves in so far — a good sign for him.
Game 6: At 15-0, Federer double faults for just the sixth time in the whole tournament, then brushes it off to win the next to points. At 40-15, a serve-and-volley try goes awry when Djokovic crushes the return up the line for a pass. Could be a harbinger of things to come for Roger. Here, he holds for 3-3.
Game 5: Another clean hold at love for Djokovic. Federer’s not even getting into the points on the return. 3-2, as we stay on serve.
Game 4: Federer breaks out the serve-and-volley at 30-15 and finishes with an acrobatic backhand overhead. He gets the next point too for an easy hold. On serve at 2-2.
Game 3: A quick, efficient hold at love for Djokovic. We’re on serve, but if you have to give an early edge, it’s to Novak.
Game 2: Federer had only been broken once in the tournament headed into this match, but the dogged defense of Djokovic creates a deuce opportunity early on here. Federer quickly brushes it aside with two strong serves that the Serb can’t handle well and it’s 1-1 early as the players feel each other out.
Game 1: Djokovic wins the coins toss, elects to serve and produces a smooth hold to start out the 35th career meeting between these two giants of the generation.