Carlos Alcaraz defeated seven-time champion Novak Djokovic to claim his first Wimbledon title on Sunday, shattering the Serb’s dream of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam crown.
World number one Alcaraz recovered from dropping the first set and saving a set point in the second to win 1-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 after four hours and 42 minutes on Centre Court.
It was the 20-year-old Spaniard’s second major triumph after winning the US Open last year, and he became Wimbledon’s third youngest men’s champion.
The outcome will also fuel conjecture about the beginning of a generational change, with the 36-year-old Djokovic carrying the torch of the ‘Big Three’ now that Roger Federer has retired and Rafael Nadal has been sidelined, maybe forever.
Djokovic had been attempting to equal Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles and to match Margaret Court’s all-time total of 24 Slams.
Alcaraz was three months shy of his fifth birthday when he won his first major at the Australian Open in 2008.
Djokovic was in his ninth Wimbledon final and 35th major final, whereas Alcaraz was only in his second Slam final after winning the US Open.
The Serb came into the match having not lost on Centre Court since losing to Andy Murray in the 2013 final, and he hit with unrelenting precision in the first set.
Alcaraz, who had been crippled by body cramps in his semi-final loss to Djokovic in the French Open in June, was unable to settle and let a break point slip away in the seven-minute first game.
Djokovic took advantage and raced into a 5-0 lead on the back of a double break before the Spaniard got on the board.
It was too little, too late as Djokovic claimed the opening set with a smash.
But Alcaraz finally freed himself of his shackles and broke for 2-1 in the second set.
Djokovic hit straight back in the third game before saving a break point in the fourth, coming out on top of a 29-shot rally.
The Serb was hit with a time violation in the tie-break before seeing a set point saved.
Alcaraz didn’t need a second invitation to equalize the match with a backhand winner after carving out and converting a set point.
The lengthy set had gone 85 minutes, ending Djokovic’s record of 15 major tie-break victories in a row.
Alcaraz broke in the third set’s first game and again after a tiring 26-minute fifth game that stretched to 13 deuces and saw Djokovic survive six break points before breaking on the seventh.
Alcaraz followed it up with a lightning-fast service game that took only two minutes in comparison, and he broke again to lead the defending champion by two sets to one.
Djokovic complained with umpire Fergus Murphy about his shot clock monitoring and did little to please the audience by taking a lengthy toilet break before the fourth set.
The break, however, worked wonders as the Serb broke twice in the set, tying the match thanks to Alcaraz’s sixth double fault of the match.
Djokovic squandered a wonderful opportunity to break for 2-0 in the decider with a wayward smash, and Alcaraz punished him by breaking for 2-1.
Before falling 3-1, Djokovic received another penalty fault for breaking his racquet against the net post.
Alcaraz was not to be denied and he claimed a famous victory when Djokovic buried a forehand in the net.