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Djokovic, Kvitova Crowned Wimbledon Champions


The Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic is back to number one in the world after winning Wimbledon yesterday. He defeated Roger Federer in five sets. Also winning her second Wimbledon title was Petra Kvitova. Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim was at the tournament. He joins us now from London. Hi, Jon.


INSKEEP: So on the men's side, when you read the coverage of this win by Djokovic, you kind of sense the disappointment.

WERTHEIM: You know, Andy Murray won the title last year - the British player. And I think the reception Roger Federer got from the crowd and the support was commensurate. He's really the fan favorite. I think some of that is his history here, some of that is his sensibility. And for Djokovic, it really must have felt like a road game. And there was palpable - there was definitely disappointment when Djokovic ended up prevailing. When Federer staged this comeback in the fourth set, Centre Court was as loud as I've ever heard it.

INSKEEP: Wow. So Federer was going for - if I'm not mistaken - his eighth Wimbledon title in his early to mid-thirties, but didn't quite have enough - almost did but not quite.

WERTHEIM: Yeah, that's exactly right. And this would've been his eighth. Wimbledon would have been his 18th major. And I think some of this is just a general affinity for Federer. But some of it, too, is sort of sentimentality. He had his daughters there. He's almost 33 years old. And you have this "Lion In Winter" theme. And he came quite close. I mean, he played a terrific match. He played a terrific tournament and just ran out of steam a little bit at the end, which happens in sports and tennis in particular to older athletes. But he leaves with his head high. I mean, this was really a terrific performance. And he won Wimbledon for the first time 11 years ago so the fact that he's still playing at this level is really something.

INSKEEP: How did Djokovic prevail?

WERTHEIM: Djokovic prevailed with this really sort of valorous effort. I mean, he had a championship point. He was a point away from winning the title in the fourth set, and squandered that and squandered the 5-2 lead. And he enters the fifth set with a specter of a huge choke. I mean, I don't know how he was able to overcome that. As he put it I thought very eloquently to Tennis Channel after the match, he said my conviction was greater than my doubt. But this was really - I thought this was really a sensational mental effort because had he lost that match, it was the kind of defeat that sends careers spiraling.

INSKEEP: Now what about the women's final?

WERTHEIM: The women's final was sort of everything the men's was not. There was not a lot of suspense. There was not a lot of length. Petra Kvitova, who won this event three years ago and hasn't done a whole lot since, came out and just played a terrific tennis match and then dominated her opponent, Genie Bouchard. And it was really a command performance but it wasn't a particularly dramatic match.

INSKEEP: Is this another match, like on the men's side, where there was more attention to the ultimate runner-up than to the champion?

WERTHEIM: That's an interesting question. Genie Bouchard is a 20-year-old Canadian. And I think for a number of reasons - some of them having to do with tennis, some of them extra tennis, she's become very popular very quickly. I mean, you talked about Federer being the fan favorite. I think here the fans may have been pulling for Bouchard. And I think the question for her - she will have a lot of attention, she will have a lot of commercial opportunities now. And I think the question is what impact will this have on her tennis? She's going to face a lot of attention and a lot of exposure very quickly now.

INSKEEP: Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated. Thanks very much.

WERTHEIM: Anytime. Thanks, Steve.

INSKEEP: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.