If the Roger Federer of the Wimbledon 2015 semifinal was an other-worldly being making us humans, including the great Andy Murray, look average, the Roger Federer of the Wimbledon 2015 final was definitely more human; the fallible version that we have seen in recent years as father time has started to catch up. And, when you play human tennis against the robot, who goes by the name of Novak Djokovic, the robot is always going to win.
In a repeat of the 2014 final, Djokovic proved to be too strong for the master again, winning his second consecutive Wimbledon title, and third overall, with a set to spare – 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (10-12), 6-4, 6-3.
Federer, looking for his eighth title at the All-England Club, could not find his range with the serve in this most important of matches, with the backhand completely deserting him, while the forehand was not at its usual flowing best either – he only had 14 aces, while hitting 35 unforced errors.
Djokovic was Djokovic in this final – irrepressible, impenetrable and unconquerable. Every time Federer thought he had a winner, the ball would come back, forcing the Swiss to go for another big shot, which inevitably led to an unforced error.
The brilliance of Djokovic is not that he has this amazing defence; it is that from that defence he is able to hit offensive shots; from improbably positions, he can turn the point around and suddenly be the aggressor, and that, right now in the men's game, is an unparalleled quality.
Federer certainly faced the brunt of Djokovic's defence-into-attack-in-the-blink-of-an-eye brilliance, and, unfortunately, for the majority of the Centre Court crowd, he could not find a potent-enough answer.
After trading breaks in the first set, it went into a tie-break, where there was only one player in it really. It was one of the easiest tie-breaks that Djokovic would have won in his career, and the momentum was with the Serbian heading into the second set.
But then, this is Federer we are talking about – arguably the greatest men's player to ever pick up a racquet. The 17-time Grand Slam champion stayed with Djokovic for the majority of that second set, pushing it to a tie-break, where he was again overwhelmed by the Serbian's ability to just find the right shots at the right time in the big points.
However, try as he might, Djokovic, who had 46 winners and only 16 unforced errors, could not go past the finish line. Seven set points Federer saved in that tie-breaker, before amazingly winning his own to level the match.
Djokovic berated himself at losing the set he never should have by banging his racquet onto his shoes a few times, but once the third set began it was back to robot mode for the world number one.
Federer saved a couple of break points in the first game, and it was always an uphill battle on his serve in this most crucial of sets, with Djokovic breaking the great man in the third game to nose ahead.
The Swiss master was given an opening with the third set at 3-2 to Djokovic as rain delayed the match for about 20 minutes, allowing Federer to gather his thoughts and find a way to solve the Djokovic puzzle.
However, after the rain, Djokovic stepped up a gear, went for the kill, wrapped up the third set with ease and then completely overwhelmed Federer in the fourth to win his ninth Grand Slam title in shake-of-the-head-how-does-he-do-it-so-easily style.