2021 Wimbledon Tennis Final
If there was any 'Next Gen' member in the rather ''weak" draw of the tournament in question who could have hindered the relentless pursuit of the man on the ultimate mission in tennis, it was Matteo Berrettini.
Novak Djokovic proved to be too strong, capturing his 20th Major crown to finally draw level with his arch-rivals and 'Big 3' counterparts Rafael Nadal of Spain and Roger Federer of Switzerland in a journey that saw him having to fight through and majorly conquer the sport against overwhelming odds and let's say at times, just difficult ones and sending forth a statement that he will only be extending his stupendous records and the history he has written soon, which by the end of this year could very well include the virtually impossible 'Golden Slam.'
Anyways, as straightforward the Sunday afternoon might seem for the Serbian phenomenon, it was not, at least not entirely. Many thought before the match that it would be one of those routine victories. The first set looked like this after Berrettini folded to give an early break, only to worsen the situation by spraying too many unforced errors and playing with relatively low intensity. But something clicked for Berrettini after he held his serve in a crucial game in what was perhaps the culmination point of the first set, where he saved a set point. He carried the momentum to close out the very set in his favor in the tie-break, creating a possibility of a substantial upset all of a sudden. However, he could not capitalize, and unfortunately for him, the guy on the other side of the net was too good not to do just that! Probably not many people would argue against the "strategy" that was quite conspicuous from Novak's end, which more or less was to push the ball on the other side of the net, try and make the Italian play an extra ball and squeeze an unforced error. It mostly worked, but Berrettini did have a trick up his sleeve to neutralize that. It was the brute strength he showcased at times or, in other words, the number of winners he struck. In the aftermath of the match, the difference of winners and unforced errors in favor of the Italian and the Serb respectively was surprisingly identical. So what exactly accounted for Berrettini's loss? The answer to this also helps explain why the gulf in men's tennis between a couple of dominant players of the past decade and more and the 'Next Gen' eagerly looking to make a breakthrough is still vast. Look, a best-of-five Grand Slam final is not the same as a round-robin match of the ATP Finals, and neither does it bring the same mentality when it comes to both the finalists in question. Both found them at a place in stark contrast to the one of the other, with Berrettini playing in his very first Major Final and Djokovic his thirtieth! As a result, on the most pivotal moments of the game, Djokovic just did that little bit extra, returning to his 'clutch' self and putting a bit more pressure on Berrettini's second serve. The young challenger felt his nerves. Even though he resisted well in the game's final stages, it was too late with Djokovic arriving at a familiar destination, and the rest is history.
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