Novak Djokovic has credited blissful family life for his domination of men’s tennis after celebrating his first wedding anniversary with a third Wimbledon triumph.
The world No.1 was already a superstar but has been nigh on unbeatable since tying the knot with long-time girlfriend Jelena Ristic on July 12 last year, just a week after he claimed his second title at the All England Club.
“One year ago, I won the trophy and on this day we got married in the church, started a new life together,” Djokovic said after his 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (10-12) 6-4 6-3 victory over Roger Federer on Sunday.
“It’s really an amazing chapter of my life that I’m trying to enjoy as much as I can.”
Djokovic said the birth of son Stefan was another crucial motivation.
“Of course, becoming parents in October was another great dimension of love and energy for us. Got us even closer together,” he said.
“So obviously when you’re going for annual holidays with the Wimbledon trophy, it’s slightly different than when you’re not.
“But I think whether I’m winning or losing, she’s always there. Family’s always there.”
Since Stefan was born, Djokovic has taken his game to even higher levels, accruing nine trophies – including his eighth and ninth grand slam titles – and winning 65 of 69 matches.
“When I go back home, I’m not a tennis player anymore. I’m a father and a husband,” the Serb added after denying Federer for the second year in a row at the All England Club.
“That’s a kind of balance that I think allows me to play this well.
“Ever since I got married and became a father, I haven’t lost many matches, I won many tournaments.
“I suggest that to every player: get married, have kids, let’s enjoy this.”
But while he attributed his off-court joys for his on-court deeds, Djokovic dedicated his successful Wimbledon title defence to Boris Becker after matching his German coach’s haul of three victories at the All England Club.
In a fitting piece of symmetry, the world No.1’s latest triumph came 30 years after Becker won the first of his Wimbledon titles.
And the 28-year-old was quick to salute Becker’s contribution to his achievements since hiring the six-time major winner in December 2013.
“It’s definitely been a long run since we started working together,” Djokovic said.
“It took a while to understand each other. He is German, I’m Serbian, so there are a significant differences.
“We managed to find a common ground and the right chemistry. This is his trophy as much as mine.”
With three major titles since joining forces with Becker, the German’s impact can’t be denied, but Djokovic joked that his coach no longer had the bragging rights since they now have the same number of Wimbledon wins.
“No, he doesn’t,” Djokovic smiled. “I have to say thank you to him, my wife and all my team.
“We’ll have a glass of beer or a glass of wine tonight.”