The world of tennis witnessed a five-set thriller between two giants of the sport in Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on Saturday as the duo battled it out to book a place in the final of Wimbledon.
They did not give an inch to outlast one another and the crowd present inside Centre Court, as well as millions watching worldwide, were treated to some scintillating action in the middle.
It was Djokovic who ultimately reigned supreme as he won the tie with the scoreline 6-4, 3-6, 7-6[11-9], 3-6, 10-8.
The Serb has had an underwhelming couple of years and it seems like he has finally turned the corner this summer after dealing with several matters off the court – splitting from his team and later with coach Andre Agassi and addressing injury issues since last year.
However, one particular act from his rival Rafael Nadal has earned plenty of praise on the back of the epic contest.
The Spaniard waited for Djokovic before leaving the court after losing the match, yet, stopped by to address the fans who were waiting and signed autographs for them.
The gesture of the world number one has earned him plaudits from all quarters, praising him for the initiative and acknowledging the fans who were there to support him throughout the match.
Speaking about Djokovic’s victory, Australian tennis legend Pat Cash hailed the attitude of Nadal in defeat.
“I don't know if I would be in the mood to sign some autographs like Rafael Nadal did after a match like that," said Cash, as per the Express. "What a gent!
“When Novak locks in and starts hitting that ball so consistently, so flat, it is very difficult for a guy, even as good as Rafael Nadal, to throw some spanners in the works.
“He tried so much with slice and angles, but Novak Djokovic was just irresistible.”
Djokovic was visibly emotional after reaching the final and also spoke of his upcoming showdown with Kevin Anderson.
He said: “Hopefully we can both play! It's been a roller-coaster for him in the last couple of rounds, but he had a day off and that means a lot. I wish I had one.
“It's incredible for me to be in the Wimbledon final, I am trying to digest that first.
“It's hard to pick the words, I am just going through things that flash back - the last 15 months, everything I have been through to get here, to win against the best player in the world in one of the longest matches I ever played. I am overwhelmed.
“It's very special. It really could have gone either way. It was clear very few things separated the two players. Until the last shot I didn't know if I was going to win. I believed it, but he was very close.
"These kind of matches you live for and work for.”
Djokovic had to withdraw due to an elbow injury in the quarter-finals one year ago but the 31-year-old has the chance to win his 13th Grand Slam title and his fourth Wimbledon crown on Sunday.
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