Roger Federer overcame a first-set shock to beat grand slam debutant Sumit Nagal at the US Open and insisted he had always expected a tricky start.

The 20-time major champion was in fleeting danger of a sensational first-round exit at Flushing Meadows when he dropped the opener to unheralded Indian Nagal, before recovering for a 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-4 triumph.

However, the third seed had anticipated it would be tough to adapt to the hard courts, having entered only one tournament since an epic Wimbledon final defeat to Novak Djokovic.

Federer was beaten by Andrey Rublev in the third round at the Western & Southern Open, his bye through the first stage meaning he played just twice, impacting his New York preparations.

"You can see that way that I haven't played so much," Federer said. "But I feel like I played a lot this year. I don't want to say like I feel my body.

"It's just a switch, again, from the clay and grass over to now the hard courts. I think it just requires different tempo in the shots.

"Also maybe sometimes going up again, sort of spinning the ball at times. I don't think it plays particularly fast, especially it also was slower tonight, it was night session again.

"I'm playing a clay-courter, who is comfortable to just rally, keep the ball in play. He actually does a really good job, especially on the inside-out, how he gets around. That was impressive.

"I knew I could struggle, to be quite honest, especially with the rhythm.

"You will be in trouble if you serve as poorly as I did in the first set. That puts the pressure on because he had the upper hand from the baseline.

"It was up to me to be able to change that. Yeah, I'm happy."

Federer found his form by the end of the fourth set to close out the victory but suggested the match with Nagal was an example of the demanding nature of a five-set contest.

"You feel like you're down and out, then all of a sudden you feel energy again, momentum," Federer said.

"The crowd gets into it. You [Nagal] forgot completely you actually lost the last two sets 6-1 6-2.

"That's why the score system in tennis is genius. You have to get over the finish line. I got that the hard way in Wimbledon [against Djokovic].

"He did a good job to stay with me. I had to close it out. That was a tough last game. Maybe exactly the kind of service game I needed to serve it out."

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer moved through at the US Open, but the stars advanced from contrasting matches on Monday.

Djokovic, the world number one and defending champion, had few problems against Roberto Carballes Baena at Flushing Meadows.

But Federer survived a surprise scare against Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal before getting through in New York.

The superstar pair progressed on what was a good day for the seeds in the men's draw, with only three making exits.

 

DJOKOVIC DELIGHTS

Djokovic did not face a break point on his way to a 6-4 6-1 6-4 victory over Carballes Baena on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The Serbian star mixed 25 winners with 30 unforced errors, breaking four times in a commanding win.

Djokovic will next face Juan Ignacio Londero after the Argentinian got past Sam Querrey 3-6 6-1 7-6 (7-3) 7-5.

FEDERER FIGHTS THROUGH

Federer, a 20-time grand slam champion, was well below his best in a 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-4 win against world number 190 Nagal.

The Swiss star finished with 57 unforced errors – and 61 winners – as he won through in two hours, 29 minutes.

Federer will hope for an improved display when he faces Damir Dzumhur, who recorded a 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-0 win over Elliot Benchetrit.

ONE STEP AT A TIME FOR MEDVEDEV

Kei Nishikori advanced as Marco Trungelliti retired on Monday, before the Japanese reeled off a list of names he believes are capable of challenging the 'Big Three', potentially starting at Flushing Meadows.

Nishikori named himself, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Nick Kyrgios and also Daniil Medvedev. "I think things are starting to change a little bit now," he said.

But fifth seed Medvedev, who defeated Prajnesh Gunneswaran in straight sets, while appreciative of Nishikori's words, is not ready to talk of titles just yet.

"At this moment of my career, I haven't even been in the quarters of a slam yet," he said. "So that's the first step to make.

"If I make this step, then I can talk about bigger goals and bigger achievements."

Stan Wawrinka, the 2016 champion and 23rd seed, battled through, overcoming Jannik Sinner 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-3.

Only three seeds exited, with Fabio Fognini (11), Guido Pella (19) and Taylor Fritz (26) departing.

Roger Federer rallied from a set down as the third seed survived a big scare against grand slam debutant Sumit Nagal in the US Open first round.

Federer was far from his free-flowing best but he recovered from a slow start to eventually move past Indian qualifier Nagal 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-4 at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

The 20-time grand slam champion – who suffered a shock defeat last time out at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati – will next meet Damir Dzumhur in his pursuit of a first US Open title since 2008.

Nagal was not overawed under the bright lights on Arthur Ashe, where Federer looked comfortable in the opening two games but that was until errors started to creep in – the Swiss star recording 19 unforced errors in the first set.

World number 190 Nagal – aggressive from the baseline – benefitted from a couple of errors and a backhand shank to earn a pair of break points. Federer saved the first, but a double fault handed the break straight back to his unheralded opponent.

It did not get any better for Federer, who shanked another backhand as Nagal broke at 15-40 for a 5-4 lead before sensationally serving out the set.

Nagal continued to delight the Arthur Ashe crowd with his forehand winners down the line. But while Federer continued to spray some of his shots either wide or long, he managed to break after a marathon second game.

It was a confidence-boosting game for Federer, who slowly began to find his feet as he moved clear 4-0, much to the relief of his box and supporters.

Federer had six chances to win the set and level the match but he struggled to close it out, though he was not to be denied at the seventh time of asking thanks to a Nagal error.

Nagal was unable to keep up with Federer, who broke twice in a relatively comfortable third set to move ahead in the match for the first time and he never looked back, despite fending off four break points before serving it out.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN 
Roger Federer [3] bt Sumit Nagal 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 
Federer – 61/57
Nagal – 17/32

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 
Federer – 12/7
Nagal – 0/4

BREAK POINTS WON 
Federer – 7/13
Nagal – 3/13

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE 
Federer – 60
Nagal – 64

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE 
Federer – 71/48
Nagal – 59/46

TOTAL POINTS 
Federer – 130
Nagal – 108

Novak Djokovic says Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have made a "great impact" since rejoining the ATP player council and welcomed a shorter meeting with the legendary duo in New York on Friday.

Federer and Nadal returned to the council this month in what has been a turbulent year politically on the men's tour.

Djokovic revealed in June that he considered joining a mass player council exodus because the governance structure is so inefficient and he feels seven-hour meetings are "unacceptable".

The world number one and head of the council has welcomed Federer and Nadal's decision to step up after they held talks ahead of the US Open.

Djokovic said at Flushing Meadows: "The impact is already great because they are the legends of our sport and two big names joining the council.

"There's already been a big impact on the rest of the players in the council, of course the larger group of tennis players in general, knowing that these two guys are willing to contribute, to come in to help out, to support, to participate in discussions and some decision-making.

"It was interesting. It has never happened that you have one, two, and three of the world in [a] council group that is [a] group of 10 players. So, all I hear from other players is positive comments about it.

"And it went well. They were very engaged. So, I'm looking forward to working with them."

Asked if it was not another seven-hour meeting, he added: "It wasn't and actually, that's why it was very surprising, to be honest.

"Because the last two before last night, the last two meetings we had were six and seven hours. And this [on Friday] was two, two hours 15 minutes. Because it was well prepared prior to the meeting, and we still didn't go through a full agenda. Of course, that's what happens most of the time.

"It's good that we at least are doing also work prior to sitting down so we could have a more efficient meeting."

There stood Roger Federer, already among the greats and with a fifth straight US Open title secured.

It was 2008 and the Swiss star had just passed Roy Emerson on the all-time list of major winners, securing his 13th and continuing his dominance at Flushing Meadows with a straight-sets victory over Andy Murray in the final.

Novak Djokovic had won his first grand slam in Melbourne at the start of the year and Rafael Nadal was still unbeaten at Roland Garros, the Spaniard then going on to clinch his first Wimbledon title.

It marked the third straight year in which the 'Big Three' had swept the grand slams, a feat they are looking to repeat 11 years later.

How little has changed entering the 2019 US Open, which starts on Monday.

Federer (three), Nadal (four) and Djokovic (four) have won the past 11 majors and still we wait for the 'Next Gen' to break through as the three greatest male players of all-time continue to dominate.

Murray's career-interrupting hip injury reduced the 'Big Four' to the 'Big Three' and there is no sign of anyone taking the three-time grand slam champion's place of being a consistent challenger at majors.

The years 2006 to 2008 marked the years of Federer and Nadal, and 2018-19 have been Djokovic's. The Serbian could finish this year having won three grand slams in a season.

In between, anticipated contenders have come and gone (Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic are 28) or come and been consistent without breaking through (Kei Nishikori is 29).

Stan Wawrinka was a regular star and won three grand slams before his injury woes, while Marin Cilic and Juan Martin del Potro took their chances at Flushing Meadows in 2014 and 2009 respectively.

Another so-called 'Next Gen' – the likes of David Goffin (28) and Jack Sock (26) – has been replaced, while Dominic Thiem (25) looks the likeliest challenger to Nadal at Roland Garros.

Now emerges another group in Daniil Medvedev (23), Alexander Zverev (22), Stefanos Tsitsipas (21), Karen Khachanov (23) and Borna Coric (22).

Yet it remains hard to see the final verdict on 2019 not simply echoing that of 2008 as the 'Big Three' bid to complete another major sweep.

Rafael Nadal does not believe he has an advantage heading into the US Open after he was drawn away from Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

World number two Nadal was placed in the bottom half of the draw, and cannot meet Federer or Djokovic until the final should he get that far.

However, the Spaniard shrugged off any suggestion he holds an edge going into the final grand slam of 2019.

"I don't know. I have to win my matches to have an advantage because I only can meet them after the semi-finals," Nadal said.

"I have plenty of work before that to know if I have an advantage or not. So let's see if I am able to do my work.

"That's not an advantage or disadvantage. That's part of the draw. That's part of the things that happen when you are No.1, No.2 and No.3.

"For example, at Wimbledon it was the other way. They changed. Now here is the opposite. Let's see what's going on."

Second seed Nadal opens his campaign against John Millman, who knocked Federer out in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows in 2018.

Thanasi Kokkinakis, who also upset Federer last season, and Fernando Verdasco are potential second and third-round opponents. 

Dominic Thiem – seeded fourth – could meet Nadal in the semi-final, in what would be a repeat of the French Open final, as well as an epic quarter-final from last season's US Open.

"He is the No.4 now. Every year he's improving," Nadal said of the 25-year-old Austrian.

"Already this year he won a Masters 1000 on hard. He played again the final in Roland Garros. Every day he is a very solid, and every year is more solid.

"He has everything to win important events. He already is winning important events. He's a very, very hard worker. Just a question of time that he achieve all his goals."

Roger Federer thinks being "knocked down" by Andrey Rublev in the Western & Southern Open prompted him to get his "act together" and could enhance his chances of winning the US Open.

Russian Rublev consigned the 20-time grand slam singles champion to a straight-sets defeat in the third round in Cincinnati last week.

Federer believes that early exit in his last tournament before the final grand slam of the year could prove to be a blessing in disguise as he eyes a first Flushing Meadows triumph for 11 years after losing a classic Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic last month.

"What I'm very proud of is I've had a very consistent last year and a half, two years, ever since my back locked up on me in Montreal. I struggled here as well, struggled for quite a while." said the Swiss legend.

"I've been playing well. Playing well in slams recently, which has been great. I think also the win over Rafa [Nadal] in the semis was big for me. Also the finals, the way I played that in Wimbledon, is going to give me some extra confidence.

"I'm happy where my game is at. Cincinnati might be a good thing that I lost early, who knows. It's maybe one of those things that sometimes needs to happen, like when I won at the Australian Open, went to Dubai, lost first round in 2017, then went on to win Indian Wells and Miami.

"Maybe the same thing, I played a great Wimbledon. Needed to get knocked down in Cincy, get my act together, train hard. That's what I did. I'm ready for the US Open. The draw is out, see which qualifier I will play.

"It's going to be a tough tournament to win, no doubt about it. I feel like I'm part of that group who can do it."

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova face a mouthwatering first-round tie at the US Open, while Novak Djokovic is on the same side of the men's draw as Roger Federer.

Williams will be a heavy favourite given her 19-2 head-to-head record over Sharapova, though it will be the first time the rivals have gone up against each other in New York.

The pair last met on court in the 2016 Australian Open quarter-finals, where Williams was victorious, with a last-16 tie at the 2018 French Open a non-starter due to the American suffering a pectoral injury.

Sharapova has not defeated her illustrious foe in a match since 2004 and faces a monumental challenge against Williams, who was beaten in the final 12 months ago by Naomi Osaka.

Top seed Osaka's bid to defend her title at Flushing Meadows begins against Anna Blinkova, while Kiki Bertens is a potential quarter-final opponent.

Second seed Ashleigh Barty, who made a major breakthrough at Roland Garros, opens up against Zarina Diyas and faces a potential last-eight meeting with Williams.

Karolina Pliskova (3) and Simona Halep (4) each face qualifiers in round one, the latter on a potential last-eight collision course with Petra Kvitova (6). 

Defending men's champion Djokovic, aiming to win a third slam of 2019, faces the unheralded Roberto Carballes Baena first but could be set for a daunting run at Flushing Meadows.

Fifth seed Daniil Medvedev, a man in form having reached the finals in Washington and Montreal while also winning the title in Cincinnati, is Djokovic's projected quarter-final opponent, while Federer may stand in the way in the semis.

Five-time champion Federer faces a qualifier first up, while on the other side of the draw Rafael Nadal has a tricky first-round tie with John Millman – who upset Federer in round four a year ago.

Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev could all prove potential road blocks for Nadal in the latter stages.

The final grand slam tournament of the year is almost here, as the US Open begins at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

Novak Djokovic, the dominant force in men's tennis, will hope to defend his title, while Naomi Osaka is looking to rediscover her best major form at the scene of her first triumph.

Meanwhile, veterans Roger Federer and Serena Williams have records in their sights in New York.

With the help of Opta, we take a look at the key numbers heading into this year's US Open.

 

Men's singles

4 - Djokovic has won four of the past five grand slams – Rafael Nadal claiming the only other title at this year's French Open.

2 - World number one Djokovic is bidding to become just the second man, after Federer (2004 to 2008), to defend his Flushing Meadows title in the 21st century.

35 - The oldest men's US Open champion in the Open Era was Ken Rosewall in 1970 at 35 years, 10 months and 11 days. Federer will be 38 at Flushing Meadows.

5 - Three men have won the tournament a record five times since the sport went professional: Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Federer.

8 - Djokovic only has three US Open titles but has played the joint-most finals in the Open Era (eight, along with Ivan Lendl and Sampras).

0 - The US Open is the only one of the four men's grand slams that has not seen a player claim the title without dropping a set in the Open Era.

61 - At least one of Djokovic, Federer or Nadal has made the semi-finals of every major since Wimbledon 2004, a streak of 61 tournaments.

 

Women's singles

3 - Having won back-to-back majors in the shape of last year's US Open and then the Australian Open, Osaka has not been past the third round at her past two grand slams, losing her opener at Wimbledon.

1 - But across the previous 16 grand slams, Osaka is the only female to have won consecutive titles.

33 - Williams, like Federer in the men's tournament, is aiming to become the oldest women's US Open champion of the Open Era at 37. The record belongs to 2015 champion Flavia Pennetta at 33 years, six months and 18 days.

2 - Simona Halep could become the first European since Kim Clijsters (2010 US Open and 2011 Australian Open) to win consecutive grand slams.

24 - Williams has 23 grand slam crowns, the most of the Open Era, and another would see her draw level with all-time record holder Margaret Court.

10 - However, the American has not won any of the past 10 majors - her longest run without victory since 2002.

17 - The women's championship has been won without dropping a set on 17 occasions in the Open Era, most recently by Williams in 2014.

Roger Federer crashed out of the Western & Southern Open after a "perfect" performance from Andrey Rublev, while Novak Djokovic moved through.

Federer, a seven-time champion in Cincinnati, was stunned by Rublev in his first meeting with the 21-year-old Russian.

Djokovic, meanwhile, had no such troubles, keeping his title defence on track with a comfortable win over Pablo Carreno Busta to reach the quarter-finals.

 

FEDERER FALLS TO PERFECTION

Rublev, a qualifier at the ATP Masters 1000 event, stunned Federer 6-3 6-4 in just over an hour.

The Swiss 20-time grand slam champion praised Rublev, who converted three of four break points in his win.

"If I play Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, I know more or less what they are going to do or can do. That's different with a player you play for the first time," Federer said, via the ATP Tour website.

"It's maybe a small advantage to have over us, but regardless, you've still got to hit the corners, hit the lines, keep it going. He did exactly that. He was really perfect today. It was a great performance."

Rublev next meets fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev after the ninth seed thrashed Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2 6-1.

DJOKOVIC DOMINATES

Djokovic made it eight straight wins at the tournament by brushing past Carreno Busta 6-3 6-4 in 90 minutes.

The Serbian controlled the first set before being tested in the second, but Carreno Busta failed to take his chances, losing to Djokovic for the third time in as many meetings.

Djokovic will face Lucas Pouille, who upset eighth seed Karen Khachanov 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-2.

BAUTISTA AGUT, GOFFIN INTO LAST EIGHT

Roberto Bautista Agut, the Spanish 11th seed, needed just an hour to thrash Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1 6-2.

He will meet Richard Gasquet after the 33-year-old Frenchman proved too good for Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

The other quarter-final is between David Goffin and Yoshihito Nishioka after their wins over Adrian Mannarino and Alex de Minaur respectively.

Meanwhile, there will be a doubles showdown between the Murray brothers after Andy and Feliciano Lopez moved into the quarter-finals, where Jamie and Neal Skupski await.

Roger Federer slumped out of the Western & Southern Open as the world number three suffered a shock defeat to qualifier Andrey Rublev.

A beaten finalist in Cincinnati last year, Federer had breezed past Juan Ignacio Londero in the previous round but the 38-year-old turned in a below-par performance on Thursday.

Rublev, who had already knocked out Stan Wawrinka at the tournament, broke the seven-time Cincinnati champion twice in the first set, with some exquisite shots keeping the 20-time grand slam winner out of his rhythm.

Federer improved in the second set, but it was Rublev who forced the first crucial break to take a 4-3 lead, with the 21-year-old holding his nerve to serve out a famous victory.

Federer started badly by losing his opening service game and while he converted a third break point to get back on level terms, Rublev repeated the trick to go 3-1 ahead.

Federer rallied to hold serve but could not handle Rublev's power, the Russian wrapping up the first set within 29 minutes.

Swiftly realising he had to up his level, Federer was clinical on serve at the start of the second set, though he could not force an opportunity to break his opponent.

The world number 70 took full advantage, eventully breaking Federer to edge himself 4-3 ahead.

Federer held his opponent off in the next game, yet Rublev did not let the opportunity of an upset slip from his grasp, clinching a 6-3 6-4 victory on the first of two match points before shedding tears on court.

Rublev will now face Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals after the world number eight's win over Jan-Lennard Struff, while Federer's exit paves the way for world number one Novak Djokovic to retain his crown.

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev were surprise second-round casualties at the Western & Southern Open, where Andrey Rublev set up a showdown with a seven-time champion.

Tsitsipas was sent packing following a shock defeat to Jan-Lennard Struff, while Zverev was surprisingly upstaged by Miomir Kecmanovic in three sets.

Fellow seed Kei Nishikori also exited the ATP Masters 1000 tournament but Rublev earned a meeting against Roger Federer.

 

STRUFF STRUTS HIS STUFF IN TSITSIPAS UPSET

Tsitsipas was tamed by Germany's Struff, who claimed a 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (8-6) victory after two hours, 14 minutes in Cincinnati.

The Greek fifth seed managed to save three match points from 6-3 down in the third-set tie-break, but Struff was not to be denied his fifth win in his past 10 matches against top-10 opposition.

Struff's reward is a last-16 clash against Daniil Medvedev, who beat Benoit Paire 7-6 (7-2) 6-1.

 

ZVEREV TALLIES 20 DOUBLE FAULTS IN EXIT

World number six Zverev surrendered a lead as he went down 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-4 to Kecmanovic.

Zverev struggled after winning the opening set, recording a career-high 20 double faults to fall to 0-5 at the Masters event.

Kecmanovic, who reached his maiden Masters quarter-final in Indian Wells, will play 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut for a spot in the last eight.

Spaniard Bautista Agut outlasted Frances Tiafoe 6-3 3-6 6-1. Meanwhile, sixth seed Nishikori lost to fellow Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.

 

FEDERER AWAITS RUBLEV AFTER WAWRINKA WIN

From one Swiss to another. Russian Rublev dispatched Stan Wawrinka 6-4 6-4 to book a date with Federer.

Rublev saved all five break points against three-time grand slam champion Wawrinka.

The 21-year-old can now look forward to a first meeting with last year's runner-up Federer.

The likes of Karen Khachanov, David Goffin, Alex de Minaur and Richard Gasquet also progressed to the last 16.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have joined fellow legend Novak Djokovic on the ATP player council.

Jamie Murray, Sergiy Stakhovsky and Robin Haase stepped down from the council following a meeting at the All England Club prior to Wimbledon.

Djokovic also acknowledged he considered joining the walkout but decided to stay on to try and resolve unfinished business.

The world number one will now be joined by fellow stars Federer and Nadal, who along with Jurgen Melzer, have replaced Stakhovsky, Murray and Haase.

"They will begin their roles with immediate effect and will serve until the end of the existing term which runs through to Wimbledon 2020," an ATP statement read.

"The position of coach representative, following the resignation of Daniel Vallverdu, is to be determined in due course."

Tim Henman believes Novak Djokovic can top Roger Federer's record grand slam haul after the Serbian beat the Swiss great in a historic Wimbledon final.

Djokovic retained his title at the All England Club with a 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) victory last Sunday.

The world number one saved two match points before winning the longest singles final in the grass-court grand slam, in the first edition of the tournament since deciding-set tie-breaks were introduced at SW19.

Djokovic has won four of the last five major titles to move four behind Federer's record tally of 20 and two short of Rafael Nadal's total.

Henman, a six-time grand slam semi-finalist, thinks 32-year-old Djokovic could go on to surpass Nadal and Federer's haul of major triumphs.

The Brit, a HSBC ambassador, told Omnisport: "It's going to be very interesting to watch. He's [Djokovic] five years younger than Federer so he's got much more time on his side.

"The level of play that Djokovic is at right now, it really wouldn't surprise me if he did overtake Federer in the future."

Henman feels Federer, who turns 38 next month, has at least one more grand slam victory in him.

Asked if he thinks the epic final in London was Federer's last chance to win another major, he said: "I don't think so. I think it's very difficult to write these guys off that are playing at such a high level.

"Federer's not going to be around forever but I think it's important we all enjoy him while he's still playing."

Henman does not consider the classic showdown last weekend to be the greatest final he has seen, even if it ranks high up with his favourites.

He said: "It's got to be up there as one of the best finals of all time. I still think for me the 2008 Wimbledon final [between] Nadal and Federer was probably the best match I've ever seen but this was a close second."

 

- Tim Henman was talking on behalf of The Open patron HSBC. HSBC are once again offering free golf to children and their friends via the HSBC Hour which are taking place at over 500 clubs in the UK and Ireland. For more information, please visit: https://www.theopen.com/patrons/hsbc

Novak Djokovic has described his sensational Wimbledon final victory over Roger Federer as "a match to remember forever".

Djokovic claimed his 16th grand slam title on Sunday, overcoming fellow great Federer in the longest men's singles final at the All England Club.

For the first time, a fifth-set tie-break at 12 games all was required to determine the winner, with the defending champion eventually prevailing after saving two match points earlier in the contest.

In an Instagram post on Tuesday, Djokovic wrote: "It was a match to remember forever. [A] match that had everything in it. [A] match that transcends our sport. I am eternally grateful to be part of it. Major respect to Roger for a titan fight."

After struggling for form and fitness in the wake of his 2016 French Open triumph, which ensured he held all four slam titles at once, Djokovic has dominated at the highest level once again since winning Wimbledon last year.

He has now won four of the last five slams, only failing to succeed at Roland Garros.

"It has been quite a tennis journey for me in the last 12 months. Coming back from injury and trying to get to the level of tennis which would allow me to compete for slams," Djokovic added.

"Self belief, resilience, dedication and major support from my closest people in life allowed me to be where I am today. I am blessed and I am aware of it.

"Wimbledon, it has been a great pleasure to make history and share the court with [a] legend of our sport once more. I will keep on dreaming to still be part of these memorable moments in the future. By the way, grass tasted like never before."

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