The elegant sport of Tennis has been dominated by either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal since the turn of the century. They have managed to win 20 and 17 Grand Slams, respectively – accounting for 58% of all available Grand Slam triumphs. However, in the past 10 years, there has been one other person who has proved to be a constant threat to their preeminence. Serbian tennis player, Novak Djokovic, known for his on-field antics and off-field whimsy, has managed to win 14 Grand Slams during this period. On 19th August, 2018, he managed to defeat his arch-nemesis, Roger Federer to win his first Cincinnati Open. He also managed to become the first player in history to win all nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments.
Djokovic came strongly into the tournament, riding high on his Wimbledon victory earlier in 2018. The Serb faced tough matches leading up to the final of the tournament. In the quarterfinals, he defeated Canadian Milos Raonic (5-7; 6-4; 3-6) in three sets, in a tightly contested match. Facing Croatian Marin Cilic in the semifinals, Djokovic managed to edge out by winning 6-4; 3-6; 6-3 to set up the clash with Roger Federer in the finals. Yet again, it was the clash of the legends in the final.
The final held important significance for both the players. For Federer, a victory would have bought him his 99th career trophy. However, the Serb was adamant to fight his long-time nemesis down to the wire. He managed to put Federer on the backseat from the beginning, as the later saved two break points before winning the first game. Djokovic eventually managed to break Federer’s serve for 4-3, and hold on to win the opening set. In the second set, Djokovic fell behind 2-0 to a strong Federer, before managing to fight back to level at 2-2. At 3-3. He earned another decisive break to make it 4-3. In an hour and 24 minutes, he managed to earn championship point before serving for a well-deserved victory. In the end, the five-time runner-up at the event managed to defeat seven-time champion at 6-4; 6-4.
By doing so, Djokovic managed to become the first player in history to win all nine ATP World Masters 1000 tournaments. The tournament is held annually across nine cities in the world. Djokovic has previously won the remaining eight, at least two times. However, a victory eluded him at the Cincinnati Open. A win in all nine tournaments demonstrates the versatility of the Serb, who is known to adapt to any playing conditions quickly. The runners-up, Roger Federer, congratulated him by saying, “Congratulations to Novak for your amazing effort, not just this week, but throughout your whole career, it is an amazing achievement.”
Djokovic is also the first player to hold all four Grand Slams on three different surfaces simultaneously, achieving the feat in 2015-2016. Yet he remained humble in his speech, mentioning, “It’s a very special moment. It’s the first time I get to stand with a winning trophy in Cincinnati.” He will now look to take his confidence and form into the US Open, having won the last two titles of the Grand Slam.