WIMBLEDON, England — Canada’s Daniel Nestor tossed his racket up into the Centre Court crowd in celebration, then Nenad Zimonjic pulled off his shirt and wristbands and did the same.
Nestor and Serbian partner Zimonjic captured their second consecutive doubles title at Wimbledon on Saturday, defeating rival American twins Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6 (7), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), 6-3.
“It was a great feeling to come back to the club and see our names on the plaque,” Nestor said. “Nenad is one of the best doubles players on grass. I’m fortunate to be playing with him.”
Toronto’s Nestor and Zimonjic defeated the Californians for the sixth time in seven meetings to run their record against the top-ranked Bryan brothers to 6-3, with all of their clashes coming in title matches.
The title was Nestor’s sixth major. He now has 61 career doubles titles and an estimated US$7,863,905 in career prize earnings.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” said Nestor. “I thought we played pretty well from start to finish. Those guys are obviously a great team.”
Zimonjic served out the winner in two hours 42 minutes with a pair of aces making the Canadian-Serbian duo the first pair to retain the doubles title since Jonas Bjorkman and Todd Woodbridge in 2004.
“It’s just huge to play in front of a crowd like this,” Zimonjic said. “I was surrounded by great champions starting with my partner as well as the Bryans.”
The second-ranked Nestor, 36, and Zimonjic, 32, won their past two meetings at Monte Carlo and Rome this past spring, while the Bryans opened the year by defeating their rivals in the Sydney final.
Nestor and Zimonjic are playing in only their second full season together, joining forces after Nestor split with longtime partner Mark Knowles.
“We came together to play as a team because we thought we had chances to win Grand Slams,” Nestor said. “Winning back-to-back Wimbledons is just unbelievable.”
The Bryan brothers, who have won seven major titles together, entered the match on Centre Court without having dropped a set at the All England Club this year. Despite holding serve throughout the first three sets, the brothers were broken in the second game of the fourth set and Nestor and Zimonjic held the rest of the way.
“We’ve had so many tough matches against these guys,” said Nestor. “It’s the first time we played them in a Grand Slam final. It’s obviously special to beat them. You know, we’ve been the best team for the last 18 months. Last year we were No. 1. They’ve been No. 1 this year, so pretty much for the last 18 months it’s been back and forth.”
Nestor and Zimonjic now own a leading six titles this season. The victory boosts their Grand Slam record to 29-6 and 12-0 at the All England club.
The duo defeated Bjorkman and Kevin Ulyett in last year’s Wimbledon championship making Nestor the first Canadian to collect a winner’s trophy on Centre Court at Wimbledon.