Novak Djokovic paid rich tribute to Roger Federer, after defeating the seven-time Wimbledon champion in an epic final.
Djokovic held his nerve to win one of the all-time great Wimbledon finals with a 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-4 victory over seven-time champion Federer in front of an enthralled Centre Court crowd.
It was a cathartic victory for the Serbian world number two, who had lost five of his last six Grand Slam finals and his last three in a row.
Djokovic celebrated by getting down on his knees to eat a few blades of grass, as he had after winning Wimbledon the first time in 2011.
And the 27-year-old, thinking of the life-changing moments he has experienced over the last 12 months, was unable to contain his emotions any longer as the tears flowed before his on-court television interview.
An emotional Djokovic wept tears of joy as he dedicated his epic triumph to his former coach who died last year.
This was Djokovic’s first Grand Slam title since his first coach Jelena Gencic, the woman he described as a second mother, died aged 76 last June.
Djokovic remembers holding aloft a pretend Wimbledon trophy after practice sessions with Gencic as a child and he was also quick to dedicate his latest All England Club victory to his fellow Serb and his fiancee Jelena Ristic, who is pregnant with the couple’s first child.
“I dedicate this to my future wife and our future baby. I’m going to be a father soon. It’s a great joy of life,” Djokovic said.
“I can only say congratulations to Novak. It’s well deserved.” Despite his disappointment, Federer insisted that retirement is not on his mind.
“I felt the love out there. Thanks a lot. See you next year.”