WIMBLEDON, England—At the French Open last month, Novak Djokovic was disgusted. He lost to an unseeded opponent, the type of player Djokovic would normally destroy. The defeat hurt so much that he had no idea what he would do next.
“I don’t know if I’m going to play on grass,” Djokovic said after the loss. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
A little more than a month later, Djokovic has accomplished what few expected: He’s now the Wimbledon champion for the fourth time in his career and playing like the Djokovic of old.
Djokovic on Sunday defeated Kevin Anderson in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(3). He crouched to the ground after hitting a service winner to clinch the match. Anderson, 32 years old, was playing the second Grand Slam final of his career. Last year he lost to Rafael Nadal in the U.S. Open final.
For Djokovic, 31, this is his fourth Wimbledon title and the 13th major title in all, but likely his most satisfying. From 2011 to 2016, Djokovic was the best player in the world. He won 11 out of the 24 Grand Slam events he entered, and in 2015 fell one victory short of a full Grand Slam season, which was last achieved by Rod Laver in 1969. He did, however, accomplish a feat that neither Roger Federer or Nadal have done. Djokovic won four straight Grand Slam finals from Wimbledon in 2015 to the French Open in 2016. After that rare streak, everyone thought Djokovic would continue to dominate.