Djokovic wins after four hours and 57 minutes on Centre Court – the longest men’s singles final, eclipsing the 2008 final between Federer and Rafael Nadal
Novak Djokovic saved two championship points and won a historic final-set tie-break to defeat eight-time champion Roger Federer and claim his fifth Wimbledon title and 16th Grand Slam.
The world No 1 beat the 37-year-old 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) at the end of a classic contest which lasted four hours and 57 minutes – the longest men’s singles final at the All England Club.
Djokovic, who has now won four of the last five majors, faced defeat trailing 40-15 at 8-7 in the fifth set on the Federer serve but denied the Swiss a 21st Grand Slam title as he successfully defended his title for the second time.
The Serb, who eventually sealed victory at the end of a final set which lasted two hours and two minutes, is now within two Grand Slam titles of Rafael Nadal (18) and four behind Federer, with the US Open at Flushing Meadows to come next month.
The 48th meeting between the top two seeds, of what has become an era-defining rivalry, saw Federer open the match with an ace as the Swiss started confidently, following his semi-final win against Nadal.
Federer squandered a break point opportunity with a forehand unforced error in the fourth game as the Swiss sought to mix up the pace and length of his shots, while Djokovic was content to trade from the baseline.
Both players, renowned for producing some of their best tennis under pressure, then recovered from 0-30 on their serve in consecutive games to force a fascinating first set into a tie-break after 49 minutes.
Federer was well placed to close in on winning the first set at 5-3 but Djokovic hit back to win four points in a row to take the initiative after 58 minutes.
But there was a quick drop off in intensity from the Serb and the world No 1 was punished by Federer, who raced into a double break lead with a forehand winner.
Federer, who won his first title at the All England Club in 2003, was the dominant force and produced a deft drop shot against a seemingly disinterested Djokovic, who was broken for the third time in the second set to love after a double fault.
Djokovic, who took a toilet break after the one-sided second set which lasted just 25 minutes, returned re-engaged and the third set was of a high standard from both players.
Federer, who was yet to face a break point in the match, brought up a set point with Djokovic serving at 5-4 in the third, with a remarkable half-volley winner, but sent a backhand return wide.
In the tie-break, Djokovic jumped out to a 5-1 lead and clinched the set when Federer netted a forehand as unforced errors proved costly.
Djokovic sensed his opportunity to seize full control of the match against Federer, who had never won a Grand Slam final from two sets to one down, but he then played two poor service games to enable his rival to even up the match once again.
Federer was then broken for the first time in the match on the second of two break points, but the crowd favourite made no mistake second time around to force a decider.
Two forehand errors offered two break points for Djokovic in the fourth game but Federer showed composure to save them both, before an ace saved a third chance as he eventually held serve.
Djokovic then overcame a fright as he avoided dropping serve himself, having been taken to deuce from 40-0, before securing the breakthrough in the very next game with a backhand passing shot.
The tension was evident as the match reached a crescendo and a double fault from Djokovic offered an immediate break-back point, only for Federer to make a forehand unforced error, but the match was back on serve at 4-3 when the Serb went long with a forehand.
With the score locked at 5-5, Djokovic, trailing 15-30 after a double fault, made a diving volley winner as he showed resolve to hold serve, before Federer responded with his own gutsy hold.
A forehand unforced error from Djokovic brought up a break point for Federer, who converted it with a cross-court forehand winner.
Federer had the match on his racket serving at 40-15, but Djokovic saved two championship points – the second with a forehand passing winner – before he consolidated the break to lead 9-8.
Federer brought up a break point in the 23rd game with a forehand winner, but Djokovic saved it and a second which followed shortly after on his way to a spirited hold, before Federer held serve to love to force a final-set tie-break at 12-12.
And, as with the other two tie-breaks, it was Djokovic who proved the stronger and more consistent on the pressure points to conclude a memorable encounter.