Novak Djokovic’s Staggering Act for Nick Kyrgios After Wimbledon Final
By Sam Goodwin
Novak Djokovic has paid an incredibly classy tribute to Nick Kyrgios after the Wimbledon final, declaring the Aussie star is destined to challenge for more grand slam glory.
Djokovic had to pull out all stops in a pulsating 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) comeback victory on Sunday to claim a seventh Wimbledon crown and 21st grand slam title overall.
Kyrgios threatened to become the first unseeded player since Djokovic’s now coach Goran Ivansevic defeated Pat Rafter in the 2001 final to win tennis’ greatest prize, taking the first set in a huge boilover.
But not for the first time in his glittering career, Djokovic staged a tenacious fightback to prevail after three hours and one minute to crush Kyrgios’ dreams.
Speaking in his victory speech, Djokovic heaped praise on Kyrgios.
“Nick, you’ll be back. Not just Wimbledon, but finals,” he declared.
“It’s hard to find consolation words after such a tough loss but you showed why you deserve to be one of the best players in the world, particularly on this surface.
“Congrats to you and all your team for an amazing tournament. I wish you all the best, man. I really do.
“I really respect you a lot. I think you’re a phenomenal tennis player and athlete, an amazing talent. I mean, you’ll be hearing that for many years.
“But now everything is starting to come together for you and I’m sure we’re going to see much of you in the later stages of the grand slams.”
Considering their once frosty relationship, Djokovic said he never envisaged lavishing Kyrgios with such compliments on the sport’s biggest stage.
“I never thought I’m going to say so many nice things about you considering the relationship,” he laughed.
“Okay, it’s officially a bromance,” the Serb said to gales of laughter from the centre court crowd as he agreed to the pair’s pre-match social media deal that Sunday’s winner owed the loser a dinner.
“I don’t know if we’re going to make it happen tonight or some other night but, hopefully, this is the start of a wonderful relationship – off court as well.”
Novak Djokovic overcome after seventh Wimbledon title
Djokovic also paid tribute to his family and entourage after lifting the Challenge Cup once again.
“I’m lost words for what this tournament, what this trophy means to me, to my team and my family,” he said.
“I’ve said this many times – it always has been and will be my most special tournament in my heart, the one that motivated me and inspired me to start playing tennis in a small, little mountain resort in Serbia.
“My parents used to run the restaurant and I was four-and-a-half, five years old and I saw Pete Sampras win his first Wimbledon in 1993 and I asked my mum and dad to buy me a racquet and my first image of tennis was grass and Wimbledon.
“I always dreamed of coming here, just playing in this court and then of course realising this childhood dream and winning this trophy.
“Every single time it gets more and more meaningful so I am very blessed and grateful.”
Kyrgios was also classy in his runner-up speech.
“He’s a bit of a god, I’m not going to lie. I thought I played well,” the Aussie said.
“I’d like to congratulate Novak. He’s won this championship I don’t even know how many times anymore.”
At the age of 27, the supremely gifted but combustable Kyrgios was finally contesting his maiden grand slam final.
But the exhausted runner-up said his breakout run hadn’t necessarily whet his appetite for more shots at major glory.
“Absolutely not. I’m so tired, honestly. Myself, my team – I think we’re all exhausted,” he said.
“I’ve played so much tennis. I definitely need a well-earned vacation after this one.
“I’m just really happy with this result, probably the best of my career and hopefully maybe one day I’ll be here again – but I don’t know about that.”