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Top Moments of 2019, No. 2: The Wimbledon final-set tiebreak

Top Moments of 2019, No. 2: The Wimbledon final-set tiebreak

In the "mentally most-demanding" victory of his career, the Serbian saved his best for last in a historic finish at the All England Club.

In a decade to remember, 2019 didn't disappoint as the closing act. Click here to review the Top 10 moments from the final season of the 2010s.


It was 12-12 in the fifth set of the men's final at Wimbledon, and the sport was about to see something it had never seen before—a tiebreak to decide a Grand Slam men's singles championship. 

A 26-24 fifth-set men's semifinal the year before had led to the introduction of a tiebreaker in deciding sets at the Championships, and Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic were now going to play one for the title.

They had been playing for more than four and a half hours. Djokovic had break points in the fifth set. Federer was serving for it and had match points. But they were still tied at 12-12, and just like the first two tiebreaks of the contest, Djokovic did not produce a single unforced error the rest of the way, winning, 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 13-12 (3), to claim his 16th Grand Slam title and fifth at Wimbledon.

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Sitting there with the trophy, the Serbian would call it his "mentally most-demanding" victory in a career with plenty to choose from. From daring winners to sinew-stretching defense to rock-solid consistency, he has won every which way a tennis match can be won.

As for Federer, at 37, he had just played nine sets against his two biggest rivals and won five of them, defeating Rafael Nadal in four sets in the semifinals. It would have been one of the finest tournament victories of his career. Instead, it was something quite different but no less weighty.

It was the best defeat of his career.