A Dream Three Days
by James Buddell|
Two childhood goals became a reality for Novak Djokovic at The Championships this year, when he lifted the famous golden Wimbledon trophy above his head on Sunday - just 12 hours before he will be officially crowned the 25th player to rank No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.
The Serbian, who has won 48 of his past 49 matches this year, was lost for words when he was asked to sum up his feelings after he beat Spaniard Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 in the final on Centre Court.
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"I can't find words to describe the feeling that I have right now," said Djokovic, shortly after he captured the third Grand Slam championship title of his eight-season professional career. "I managed to achieve a lifetime goal and I managed to make my dream come true, all in three days' time. It's just an incredible feeling that I'm never going to forget. This is the best day of my tennis career.
"Any athlete in the world dreams of being No. 1 of the world. So finally when you really do it and when you know that you're the best, it's just an amazing achievement.
"This success kind of makes you rewind [to] the old days. [It] makes you come back to your childhood and remember what you've been through to get to this stage."
Djokovic, who now has a 3-2 record in major finals, admitted at times in the past few years he was "a little bit" frustrated when Roger Federer and Nadal were at the top of men's professional tennis, but he now realises it has been part of a learning process as a sportsman.
"They have been the two most dominant players in the world the last five years," said 24-year-old Djokovic. "They have won most of the majors we are playing. So sometimes it did feel a little bit frustrating when you kind of get to the latter stages of a Grand Slam. They always come up with their best tennis when it matters the most.
"But it's a process of learning, a process of developing and improving as a tennis player, as a person, and just finding the way to mentally overcome those pressures and expectations and issues that you have. I always believed that I had [the] quality to beat those two guys. I always believed I had [the] quality to win majors.
"After the Davis Cup win [in December versus France] I was full of life, full of energy, eager to come back to the tennis court, eager to play some more, win some other tournaments. In a sentence, I lost my fear. I believed in my abilities more than ever. Australia was one of the best tournaments I played in my life."
The Belgrade native now has a 12-16 lifetime record against Nadal, including victories in his past five matches over the Mallorcan star. Only two other men in the Open Era (since 1968) have won their first career grass-court titles at Wimbledon – Michael Stich in 1991 and Andre Agassi in 1992.
"Obviously [today], it was the best tennis match on grass courts that I've played ever," said Djokovic. "It came [at] the right moment. I think most of the tennis players rate this Grand Slam as the most important tournament in our sport."
Djokovic is now ready to capture more major championships. "This is what I'm born for. I want to win more Grand Slams. I will definitely not stop here."
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