Ebden, Purcell triumph at Wimbledon as Djokovic downs Kyrgios
Self-styled 'M & Ms' - Matt Ebden and Max Purcell - are the first Aussie duo to win the Wimbledon men's doubles crown whereas lucky semi-finalist Australian Nick Kyrgios was outgunned by grand slam maestro Novak Djokovic in the men's final.
Two days after saving five match points in the semi-finals, Ebden and Purcell battled for four hours, 11 minutes on Saturday to defeat Croatia's defending champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (3-7) 4-6 6-4 7-6 (10-2) in an equally epic title match.
They become the first dual-Australian men's Wimbledon doubles champions since "The Woodies" aka Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge - in 2000. The M&Ms were runners-up to "Special Ks" - Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis - in the Australian Open final in January.
Before the "The Woodies" dominated, the "Super Macs" - Paul McNamee and Peter McNamara - claimed two Wimbledon titles in 1980 and '82.
The "Super Macs" and "Woodies" were the last of an incredible batch of Australian pairings that dominated on the hallowed London grass courts post-World War II.
Between 1948 and McNamara and McNamee's first victory, famous teams like Quist and Bromwich; Sedgman and McGregor; Hoad and Rosewall; Emerson and Fraser; and Newcombe and Roche won a staggering 20 Wimbledon doubles titles for Australia. Ebden and Purcell can't believe they've joined such an esteemed club, especially after fending off three match points in their tournament opener against Ben McLachlan and Andre Goransson, as well as the five they saved against top seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the semis.
Purcell confessed they were stunned to win:
"I thought we were out of here first round. "We were love-40 down in the fifth, three match points, and then we just won Wimbledon - how good's that?"
An initially speechless Ebden atoned for his Wimbledon mixed doubles final defeat with veteran Aussie great Samantha Stosur on Thursday:
"Speechless ... Won Wimbledon.
"People say as a kid they dreamed of winning Wimbledon. I don't even know if I did that."
Prior to his match against Djokovic, Kyrgios was among the first to congratulate Ebden and Purcell on Twitter.
"Very solid effort. Guess I don't mind M&M's anyway.
Djokovic beat the unseeded Australian Nick Kyrgios in four sets to claim a seventh Wimbledon crown and 21st grand slam singles title.
Djokovic defied heatwave conditions, a fierce early barrage and 30 Kyrgios aces to coolly clinch a seventh Wimbledon crown and grand slam No.21 with a steely 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) victory on Sunday. Djokovic said after holding up the Challenge Cup once again:
"I'm lost words for what this tournament, what this trophy means to me, to my team and my family. "I've said this many times - it always has been and will be my most special tournament in my heart, the one that motivated me and inspired me to start playing tennis in a small, little mountain resort in Serbia. "My parents used to run the restaurant and I was four-and-a-half, five years old and I saw Pete Sampras win his first Wimbledon in 1992 and I asked my mum and dad to buy me a racquet and my first image of tennis was grass and Wimbledon. "I always dreamed of coming here, just playing in this court and then of course realising this childhood dream and winning this trophy. "Every singles time it gets more and more meaningful so I am very blessed and grateful."
After a rollercoaster, controversy-laden run to the final, Kyrgios had been bidding to become Australia's first men's grand slam singles winner since Lleyton Hewitt reigned at the All England Club in 2002.
He looked on track after taking the opening set with a scintillating display of tennis underpinned by some typically huge serving but also showcasing his trademark tweener and cheeky under-arm serve.
After fining Kyrgios $US14,000 ($A20,500) for spitting on their hallowed grass courts and calling an umpire a disgrace during a tempestuous first week of the championships, All England Club poobahs must have been squirming at the prospect of having to welcome tennis's most volatile star in as a new member.
Djokovic, though, drew on all his vast experience and champion qualities to wear down Canberra's erratic showman physically and mentally in temperatures nudging towards 40 degrees on the sport's most famous centre court.
Kyrgios had been on his best behaviour early on in front of a royal box featuring the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Australian greats Rod Laver and John Newcombe, and a raft of other royals and luminaries.
But, after dropping serve for the first time in his career against Djokovic to fall behind 3-1 in the second set, he grew frustrated.
The hot-head was even more agitated after being unable to break back in the ninth game despite holding four break points and having Djokovic 0-40 down as the Serb levelled the match at one set apiece.
Kyrgios threatened to unravel after being given a code violation for swearing in the fifth game of the pivotal third set after claiming to have been distracted while serving by a mouthy spectator in the crowd.
He angrily condemned chair umpire Renaud Lichtenstein's decision as "a joke" and demanded the woman be removed.
"She's drunk out of her mind ... so kick her out," Kyrgios pleaded with the French official.
"The one that looks like she's had about 700 drinks, bro," he added when asked which
spectator it was.
Even young Prince George, sitting between William and Kate, was bemused by Kyrgios's behaviour.
There was no let-up, though, as Kyrgios let rip at his box after despairingly being broken at 4-4 from 40-0 up to gift Djokovic the opportunity to serve out the third set.
The top seed duly did so, collected his gear and departed for a toilet break as Kyrgios was left to wonder how the final had so quickly turned.
There were no service breaks in a tense, hour-long fourth set as Djokovic sealed victory in a tiebreaker after three hours, one minute to capture his seventh Wimbledon crown, equalling American great Pete Sampras and Britain's 1880s champion William Renshaw. Roger Federer, with eight titles at London's SW19, is the only man to have won more.
It's Djokovic's first grand slam triumph since defeating Matteo Berrettini from a set down in last year's Wimbledon final.
The 35-year-old was deported from Australia on the eve of the Melbourne Park major in January for not having the necessary visa and lost to Rafael Nadal in last month's French Open quarter-finals.
Once the fiercest of adversaries, Novak Djokovic has lavished praise on Nick Kyrgios after denying the Australian his maiden grand slam title at Wimbledon.
Confirming their unlikely, blossoming "bromance", Novak Djokovic has hailed Nick Kyrgios a potential Wimbledon champion in waiting after crushing the Australian's hopes in a gripping final at the All England Club. Djokovic graciously declared:
"Nick, you'll be back. Not just Wimbledon, but finals. "It's hard to find consolation words after such a tough loss but you showed why you deserve to be one of the best players in the world, particularly on this surface. "Congrats to you and all your team for an amazing tournament. I wish you all the best, man. I really do. "I really respect you a lot. I think you're a phenomenal tennis player and athlete, an amazing talent. I mean, you'll be hearing that for many years. "But now everything is starting to come together for you and I'm sure we're going to see much of you in the later stages of the grand slams." Considering their once frosty, fractious past, Djokovic said he never envisaged lavishing Kyrgios with such compliments. "I never thought I'm going to say so many nice things about you considering the relationship.
"Okay, it's officially a bromance," said the Serb, to gales of laughter from the centre court crowd as he agreed to the pair's pre-match social media deal that Sunday's winner owed the loser a dinner, "I don't know if we're going to make it happen tonight or some other night but, hopefully, this is the start of a wonderful relationship - off court as well."
ALL-AUSTRALIAN WIMBLEDON MEN'S DOUBLES CHAMPIONS 1919: Pat O'Hara and Ronald Thomas 1935: Jack Crawford and Adrian Quist 1948: John Bromwich and Frank Sedgman 1950: John Bromwich and Adrian Quist 1951: Frank Sedgman and Ken McGregor 1952: Frank Sedgman and Ken McGregor 1953: Lew Hoad and Ken Rosewall 1954: Rex Hartwig and Mervyn Rose 1955: Rex Hartwig and Lew Hoad 1956: Lew Hoad and Ken Rosewall 1959: Roy Emerson and Neale Fraser 1961: Roy Emerson and Neale Fraser 1962: Bob Hewitt and Fred Stolle 1964: Bob Hewitt and Fred Stolle 1965: John Newcombe and Tony Roche 1966: John Newcombe and Ken Fletcher 1968: John Newcombe and Tony Roche 1969: John Newcombe and Tony Roche 1970: John Newcombe and Tony Roche 1971: Roy Emerson and Rod Laver 1974: John Newcombe and Tony Roche 1977: Ross Case and Geoff Masters 1980: Peter McNamara and Paul McNamee 1982: Peter McNamara and Paul McNamee 1993: Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge 1994: Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge 1995: Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge 1996: Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge 1997: Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge 2000: Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge 2022: Matt Ebden and Max Purcell
All-time men's grand slam titles leaderboard after Novak Djokovic's seventh Wimbledon victory.
All-time men's grand slam titles leaders: 22: Rafael Nadal (ESP) - 2 Australian, 14 French, 2 Wimbledon, 4 US 21: Novak Djokovic (SRB) - 9 Australian, 2 French, 7 Wimbledon, 3 US 20: Roger Federer (SUI) - 6 Australian, 1 French, 8 Wimbledon, 5 US 14: Pete Sampras (USA) - 2 Australian, 7 Wimbledon, 5 US 12: Roy Emerson (AUS) - 6 Australian, 2 French, 2 Wimbledon, 2 US 11: Rod Laver (AUS) - 3 Australian, 2 French, 4 Wimbledon, 2 US 11: Bjorn Borg (SWE) - 6 French, 5 Wimbledon 10: Bill Tilden (USA) - 3 Wimbledon, 7 US 8: Andre Agassi (USA) - 4 Australian, 1 French, 1 Wimbledon, 2 US 8: Jimmy Connors (USA) - 1 Australian, 2 Wimbledon, 5 US 8: Ivan Lendl (CZE) - 2 Australian, 3 French, 3 US 8: Ken Rosewall (AUS) - 4 Australian, 2 French, 2 US 8: Fred Perry (GBR) - 1 Australian, 1 French, 3 Wimbledon, 3 US