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Djokovic Had Vowed to Skip Wimbledon. Good Thing He Didn't

Serbian star comes back after early French Open exit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 15, 2018 11:28 AM CDT
Serbia's Novak Djokovic lifts the trophy after winning the men's singles final match against Kevin Anderson of South Africa, at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, Sunday July 15, 2018.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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(Newser) – Novak Djokovic was disconsolate and injured when he left Wimbledon a year ago, quitting during his quarterfinal because of a painful right elbow that would need surgery, the AP reports. Djokovic was so dispirited by his upset exit at the French Open last month that he vowed, in the heat of the moment, to skip the grass-court circuit. Good thing he didn't stick to that. Just look at him now, back at his best and Wimbledon's champion for the fourth time. Djokovic ended a Grand Slam drought that lasted more than two seasons, grabbing a lead in Sunday's final right away against a weary Kevin Anderson and holding off a late challenge to win 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (3).

Anderson nearly managed to extend the match, five times standing just a point away from forcing a fourth set. Djokovic held steady on each one, then was as superior in the tiebreaker as he was most of the sun-drenched afternoon. It is Djokovic's 13th major trophy, the fourth-highest total in the history of men's tennis, trailing only Roger Federer's 20, Rafael Nadal's 17, and Pete Sampras' 14. But it's also Djokovic's first since he completed a career Grand Slam at the 2016 French Open. During that time, he struggled with the first major injury of his professional career, one that forced him off the tour for the last half of 2017. He eventually had an operation this February, and as his losses accumulated, his ranking fell out of the top 20 for the first time in more than a decade. At No. 21, Djokovic is the lowest-ranked Wimbledon titlist since Goran Ivanisevic in 2001.

(Read more Wimbledon stories.)

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