Novak Djokovic again proved the toughest of nuts for Roger Federer to crack to claim his fifth Wimbledon title on Sunday.
It was the first All England Club final match to be decided by a tiebreaker.
The Serbian repelled everything the Federer could throw at him in an epic final worth every minute.
The defending champion was outshone at times on Centre Court and saved two match points deep into a gripping decider.
But he dredged his tank of mental and physical resilience to claim a thrilling 7-6(5) 1-6 7-6(4) 4-6 13-12(3) win.
Nothing could split the players in an intoxicating final set and the match was already the longest Wimbledon singles final in history.
So, the club’s new rule stipulating a tiebreak at 12-12 in a deciding set was deployed for the first time in singles.
As he had done in the day’s two other tiebreaks, the top-seeded Djokovic showed nerves of steel to crush Federer’s hopes of claiming a ninth title.
The Swiss would have become the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title in the professional era.
Djokovic moved 6-3 ahead and, after the final point had to be replayed following a Hawk-eye challenge, he could celebrate victory when a weary Federer framed a forehand.
Victory took the 32-year-old Serbian level with Bjorn Borg in fourth place on the all-time list of men’s winners at Wimbledon.
It also increased his Grand Slam tally to 16 ——- four behind Federer.