The men’s tennis season came to a fitting end Monday night as the two greatest players in the world battled for the final prize of the year in front of a packed crowd at the O2 arena in London. And what a battle it was.
Novak Djokovic denied Roger Federer a hat trick of World Tour titles by beating him in two sets 7-6 (8-6), 7-5, thrilling the capacity crowd for a little over two hours. Those lucky enough to have had seats at the former Millennium Dome witnessed a titanic battle between these two giants of the game, both players putting on an astonishing display of skill and athleticism throughout the match. It was Federer who came out guns blazing and he broke Djokovic’s serve to go 3-0 up inside of 8 minutes. His remarkable talent was evident from the get go however his opponent is as resilient as they come and the first set went to a tie-break. The crowd were on their feet when Federer played a spectacular forehand winner with the ball very nearly having already passed him but Djokovic took the set moments later with winner following a Federer error.
The second set played out in much the same fashion with Federer taking the early lead, however unforced errors from both players began creeping in and made the play somewhat messy. Having said that, an indication as to how closely fought each point was, virtually every game went to deuce. At 5-4 on the Federer serve, the crowd could almost taste the deciding set and the possibility of later having to rush for the last tube trains of the night and at 40-15, the Swiss, who was going for a record seventh season-ending title, had two set points. But Djokovic refused to budge, cranked up the pressure and forced Federer into making errors levelling the set a 5-5. He then held serve and then broke Federer once more to win the match and hoist the trophy for the second time (his first win being in 2008). It was an unbelievable display of tennis from both men but as with all sports, there can be only one victor and last night that was Novak Djokovic. The Serbian began the 2012 season as the number one player in the world and, save for the 17 weeks from July to November when Federer once again took the top spot, he has ended the season as the number one player in the world. True champs both.
Roll on next season. More of the same please gentlemen.