Novak Djokovic plans to push his limits in the quest for tennis immortality after retaining his Wimbledon crown and ending Roger Federer’s bold bid to become the sport’s oldest grand slam champion.
In a captivating climax to the championships, Djokovic denied the sentimental favourite for the second straight year with a 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (10-12) 6-4 6-3 win to secure his third title at the All England Club.
Djokovic’s supreme shot-making and iron will also earned the 28-year-old a ninth career major, elevating him above Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi, Ken Rosewall and Fred Perry into outright eighth place on the all-time grand slam leaderboard.
Only Federer (17), Rafael Nadal (14), Pete Sampras (14), Roy Emerson (12), Bjorn Borg (11), Rod Laver (11), Bill Tilden (10) have won more.
But Djokovic says he’s far from done.
“There is no reason not to be satisfied with what I have achieved,” he said after adding more Wimbledon silverware to his five Australian Open trophies and a US Open title.
“I’m thrilled and very proud with all the success that I’ve had so far in the career, everything I reached.
“If you would ask me as a 14-year-old back in Serbia trying to find my way that this is how I’m going to end up at 28, of course I would sign the deal and take it right away.
“But I’m going to keep going. I’m 28. I feel good. I don’t feel old. I have hopefully many more years in front of me.
“I’m going to try to push my own limits and see how far I can go really with titles and with myself playing on this high level.”
Humble in defeat, Federer felt there was no telling where Djokovic might rank when the Serb’s career was done.
“He’s clearly making a big name for himself, having won as many times now as he has in these different slams,” the Swiss ace said.
“But also his streak at world No.3, 2, 1, keeping it up, keeping it going, winning a lot of titles time and time again.
“Staying injury-free now for him is crucial. Clearly he’s going to be one of the top guys.
“Where, we’ll still have to wait and see. I’m sure he still has many more great years ahead of him.”
Borg and Laver were among the legends marvelling from the Royal Box on Sunday as Djokovic levelled his career series with Federer at 20 wins apiece in an another enthralling title showdown between the sport’s two premier players.
Djokovic showed why he is world No.1 as he bounced back from his deflating loss to Stan Wawrinka in last month’s French Open final, a shattering slip-up that denied the Serb from completing a cherished career grand slam sweep.
“From this perspective now, it’s actually good that we have Wimbledon just few weeks after Roland Garros,” Djokovic said.
“I had pretty much two years the same situation, where I lose in four set in a tough match in the finals of Roland Garros, against Nadal last year, against Wawrinka this year.
“Obviously, (I was) disappointed and heartbroken.
“But if there is one thing that I learned in the sport it is to recover fast and to leave things behind me and move on.”
Federer showed why he is regarded as the greatest ever with another breathtaking grasscourt display a month shy of his 34th birthday.
Alas, the father of four was unable to add the strawberries and cream to an unparalleled career with an unprecedented eighth Wimbledon men’s singles crown.
While Federer struck 58 winners to Djokovic’s 45, the 17-times major champion’s 35 unforced errors to the Serb’s 16 proved telling as the second seed’s silky groundstrokes deserted him too often on pressure points.