Novak Djokovic finally got back in the Grand Slam win column. After losing his last three finals since the 2013 Australian Open, Djokovic regained his winning form to win a second Wimbledon title and 7th overall Slam following a dramatic 5-set thriller over 7-time champion Roger Federer.
The Serb, who has now beaten Federer at every Slam, failed to close it out at 5-2 in the fourth allowing the Swiss to run five straight games. But Djokovic rebounded at the end, saving break points then breaking Federer at the end to win the match.
Thanks to his second career grass title, Djokovic also returns to the No. 1 ranking.
Afterward, he spoke to the press.
Q. You looked very surprised to me at the end that you won. Were you? Was it different than other wins in that respect?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was just overwhelmed with the emotions, positive emotions, that I was experiencing in the match. I was not surprised, I was just trying to enjoy the moment, rethink what I’ve been through during the match.
Sincerely, this has been the best quality Grand Slam final that I ever been part of. I’ve had a longest final against Nadal in the Australian Open 2012.
But quality-wise from the first to last point, this is definitely the best match.
Roger played very well, I thought, in a very high level. He showed why he’s a champion. He showed a fighting spirit, composure in important moments when he was a break down.
When I was serving for the match, he came in and played his best game. I didn’t think I did much wrong there.
Was disappointing losing the fourth set after being so close to win it and match point. But the only way I could have won the match today is by believing that I can make it all the way until the end and staying mentally strong. That’s what I’ve done.
I didn’t allow my emotions to fade away, as it was probably the case in Roland Garros final a couple, three, four weeks ago.
Just very glad to win a Grand Slam final after losing the last three out of four.
Q. What were you thinking and what were you feeling when you weren’t able to close it out in the fourth set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, those are the critical moments that a tennis player goes through in his own mind. Obviously the moment shifted to his side. He started playing better. Crowd got involved.
It was important to start well in the fifth, consolidate my service games, try to put pressure on him. I was the first serving in the fifth set, so he was always behind and trying to catch up.
That’s something mentally that was in my mind. Just hold your serve and work your way through in the return games and try to wait for the opportunity. When it’s presented, you have to grasp it.
I had 4-3, 15-40, but again he played some great shots, great points. Didn’t do much wrong there.
But I was very close in several occasions, even in the fourth, to win the match. But, you know, I could have easily lost my concentration in the fifth and just handed him the win.
But I didn’t, and that’s why this win has a special importance to me mentally. Because I managed to not just win against my opponent but win against myself as well and find that inner strength that got me the trophy today.
Q. How has the flavor of the grass changed in the three years since you last dined on Centre Court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Very good question (smiling).
It didn’t change much. Actually I didn’t feel anything, to be honest. So I had a nice bite. I thought that there was less grass today than it was few years ago, so I had a little bit of a spoil, as well.
But nevertheless, it tastes like the best meal that I ever had in my life probably.
Q. I read a tweet by Ivo Karlovic who said you should have won all the sets you played today. Do you agree with him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Ivo has always the best comments. Very criticizing over me. I’m kidding.
But, yeah, I felt like all the sets were very close for me to take. But, again, first set, you know, could have gone either way but went his way. He deserved to win it because it was just one or two points that decided the winner of the first set.
Second set I felt like that break that I made and held it towards the end very well.
The third, again, was very close. Won in a tiebreak.
In the fourth, should have won but he came back.
All in all, it was just incredibly high quality of tennis from both of us. We didn’t give too much one to another. We didn’t make a lot of unforced errors, so I think there was a lot of winners.
He served very efficiently, was using all the angles, was making it difficult for me to return.
5-4 in the fifth set he made I think only one first serve in in the whole game. That obviously helped me to prevail.
Q. Given everything you said about the mental side of it and how the match went today, is this the Grand Slam title you’re most proud of?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, yes, definitely. Very special. Most special Grand Slam final I’ve played. At the time of my career for this Grand Slam trophy to arrive is crucial, especially, as I said, after losing several Grand Slam finals in a row. Started doubting of course a little bit. I needed this win a lot.
I’m going to try to use it in the best possible way and for my confidence to grow for the rest of my season and the rest of my career.
Q. At the end of the match on court you said to Roger, Thank you for letting me win. Sounded like it was a joke; also sounded a little bit apologetic. Was it partially because the crowd was so in his favor, or was it respect for your opponent?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, first of all it was a joke. I think we didn’t have that kind of agreement before the match. Let me assure of that (laughter). Especially 6 4 in the fifth set, first of all. If we had that agreement, it would be much shorter.
No, as I said on the court, I respect him and his achievements, his career. He’s a great champion on and off the court.
To be able to win against him as one of my greatest rivals on this occasion on a court that he’s been dominating for so many years makes it a very special trophy for me. I had tears of joy. I was overwhelmed by the moment and the occasion.
And the second question was? Sorry.
Q. How did you feel about the crowd?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: The crowd? It’s normal to expect that after so many years of dominance and success that he had on this court, and courts around the world, for the person he is, to have the majority of the support.
But I wasn’t focusing on that. I was focusing on what I need to do on the court. I was also hearing the positive support that I got, as well, from the crowd, which I thought was not a small number.
All in all I thought the crowd was enjoying this match. It was a fantastic match to be a part of.
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