In arguably one of the greatest upsets in tennis history, American and Southern California native Sam Querrey shocked world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 7-6 (6), 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (5) on Saturday in Wimbledon’s third round.
Djokovic entered Wimbledon having held all four Grand Slam titles and was looking to compete the first men’s calendar-year slam since Rod Laver in 1969 after having won the year’s first two majors. Djokovic also had a 30-match winning streak in Grand Slam events before his loss to Querrey.
Querrey, who grew up in Thousand Oaks, said it was an “unbelievable win” in a post-match interview.
“To do it here at Wimbledon is really special,” he said. “I served well the whole time, played a great tiebreaker at the end to get the win.”
Djokovic congratulated Querrey for playing a “terrific match.”
“He serves very well, as he usually does,” he said. “I think that part of his game was brutal today. He made a lot of free points with the first serve. Just well done. He just overpowered me.”
Querrey used his booming serve to his advantage. In the first set, Djokovic, arguably the world’s top returner, only managed to win three points off of Querrey’s serve. Huge servers have given Djokovic trouble at Wimbledon. Last year, Kevin Anderson took the first two sets off of Djokovic, like Querrey, before Djokovic came back to win a five-set thriller.
Querrey won the first two sets off of Djokovic on Friday before rain suspended the match until Saturday. Djokovic took the third set and seemed like he was going to pull off a repeat of his five-set comeback over Anderson when he broke Querrey in the fourth set to go up 5-4 and was serving to take the match into a decisive fifth set. But Querrey broke Djokovic right back and eventually won the fourth set in a tiebreak.
Querrey now faces Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, who is one of the few players in the modern age who routinely serves and volleys, in the fourth round.
This was Djokovic’s earliest exit from a Grand Slam event since his third-round exit at the 2009 French Open.
After the match, Querrey’s coach gave reporters a memorable quote:
Quote from Sam Querrey's coach Craig Boynton after he beat Djokovic "sometimes a blind squirrel finds a nut." 😊#Wimbledon
— Gigi Salmon (@gigi_salmon) July 2, 2016