Serbia's Novak Djokovic poses with the trophy as he celebrates winning the final against Switzerland's Roger Federer. Picture: REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

London -  Novak Djokovic again proved the toughest of nuts for Roger Federer to crack as he repelled everything the Swiss could throw at him to claim his fifth Wimbledon title in the first All England Club final to be decided by a tiebreaker on Sunday.

The defending champion was outshone at times on Centre Court and saved two match points deep into a gripping decider, but he dredged his tank of mental and physical resilience to claim a thrilling 7-6(5) 1-6 7-6(4) 4-6 13-12(3) win.

Nothing could split the players in an intoxicating final set and the match was already the longest Wimbledon singles final in history when the club's new rule stipulating a tiebreak at 12-12 in a deciding set was deployed for the first time in singles.

As he had done in the day's two other tiebreaks, the top-seeded Djokovic showed nerves of steel to crush Federer's hopes of claiming a ninth title and becoming the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title in the professional era.

Djokovic moved 6-3 ahead and, after the final point had to be replayed following a Hawkeye challenge, he could celebrate victory when a weary Federer framed a forehand.

Victory took the 32-year-old Serbian level with Bjorn Borg in fourth place on the all-time list of men's winners at Wimbledon and increased his Grand Slam tally to 16 -- four behind Federer. 

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the final against Switzerland's Roger Federer. Picture: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Factbox on the champion:

Born: May 22, 1987 in Belgrade, Serbia (age 32)

Grand Slam titles: 16 (Australian Open 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019; French Open 2016; Wimbledon 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019; U.S. Open 2011, 2015, 2018)

EARLY LIFE

* Began playing tennis aged four.

* His father was a professional skier and wanted his son to follow in his footsteps or play professional soccer but changed his mind when Djokovic excelled at tennis from an early age.

PLAYING CAREER

* First full year on tour in 2005. Made Grand Slam debut as a qualifier at the Australian Open, losing to Russian Marat Safin in the first round. Finished as the youngest player (18 years, five months) inside the top 100.

* In 2006, he won his first ATP tour title at Amersfoort.

* Retired in the 2006 French Open quarter-finals against Nadal when trailing by two sets, and again a year later due to blisters in the Wimbledon semi-final against the same opponent.

* Won five titles in 2007 (Adelaide, Miami, Estoril, Montreal and Vienna) and reached his first Grand Slam final at the U.S. Open, losing to Roger Federer.

* Beat Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win his maiden Grand Slam title at the 2008 Australian Open -- becoming the first Serbian man to win one of the four majors.

* Failed to defend his title in Melbourne the following year after pulling out of his quarter-final against American Andy Roddick citing heat exhaustion.

* Led Serbia to their first Davis Cup title with victory over France in Belgrade in December 2010.

* Began 2011 by winning the Australian Open, beating Briton Andy Murray in the final, to end his three-year wait for a second Grand Slam title.

* Won his next six tournaments in Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Belgrade, Madrid and Rome. Did not lose again until June 3 when Federer ended his 41-match winning streak in the French Open semi-finals.

* Secured the number one spot on July 4, 2011 by beating Tsonga in the Wimbledon semi-finals, then beat Nadal to clinch his first Wimbledon crown, his first title on grass.

* Saved two match points to beat Federer in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open then defeated Nadal in the final to become the seventh man to win three Grand Slam titles in a year since tennis turned professional in 1968.

* Won his third Australian Open title in 2012 by beating Nadal in five hours and 53 minutes.

* Began 2013 by beating Murray to become the first man in the professional era to win three successive Australian Open titles.

* Beat Federer in a five-set Wimbledon final in 2014.

* Reached all four Grand Slam finals in 2015. Began the year by capturing a fifth Australian Open title, then missed out on the French Open again -- his third loss in the title match --after falling to Stan Wawrinka in the final.

* Five weeks later drew level with his coach Boris Becker's Wimbledon haul of three titles by defeating Federer in the All England Club final. Beat Federer in U.S. Open final, giving him three Grand Slam titles in a year for a second time.

* Beat Murray in the 2016 Australian Open final to win his 11th Grand Slam trophy.

* Beat Murray again in the French Open final that year to finally win the claycourt major at his 12th attempt. The win not only completed his Grand Slam collection but he also became only the third man -- after Don Budge and Rod Laver -- to hold all four majors at the same time.

* Advanced to his 21st Grand Slam final overall at the 2016 U.S. Open but was beaten by Stan Wawrinka.

* Retired in the 2017 Wimbledon quarter-finals against Tomas Berdych and ended his season on July 26 with a right elbow injury.

* Returned from a six-month injury absence at the Australian Open last year. Had elbow surgery following a last-16 exit to South Korean youngster Chung Hyeon.

* Beat Kevin Anderson in the 2018 Wimbledon final to seal his 13th Grand Slam.

* Capped off the year in style by beating Juan Martin del Potro to win the U.S. Open crown for a third time.

* Defeated Nadal in their 53rd career meeting to claim his 15th major and seventh Australian Open title.

* Djokovic's 26-match winning streak in Grand Slams ended with a loss to Dominic Thiem in the French Open semi-final.

* Defeated Federer to claim his fifth Wimbledon title. 

Reuters