Djokovic over the moon

LONDON - A jubilant Novak Djokovic said his mental strength was the key to winning Wimbledon for a second time, describing his five-set victory over the seven-times champion Roger Federer on Sunday as the “best grand slam final I have played in my career”.

The Serb, who let slip a two-sets-to-one and 5-2 lead as Federer forced a deciding set, held his nerve in the final set to clinch a 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 victory, giving him a seventh grand slam title and denying Federer what would have been a record eighth win at the All England Club.

Djokovic, who become world No 1 when the rankings were are updated yesterday, said he had been through the mill, mentally, as Federer hit back in the fourth set, winning five straight games to clinch it and take the match into a deciding set.

“That’s why this victory meant so much to me,” Djokovic told the BBC. “First of all, because it was against a great rival on his court and also considering the fact that I had lost three out of [his past] four grand slam finals.”

Having failed to serve out for the title at 5-3, Djokovic had match point on the Federer serve at 4-5 but the Swiss held firm and then broke again to extend the match before Djokovic recovered his poise to edge Federer in the fifth thanks to one break, in the 10th and final game.

“I would be lying if I said it was not in my mind,” he said, of his poor run, having lost five of his past six grand slam finals.

“Of course it started playing with my confidence and I had some doubts. Of course people told me things, trying to help, but I managed to overcome this and I was the one to find a way. Today was a huge test, a mental challenge. We pushed each other to the limit and I could not drop concentration throughout the whole match to win it. That’s why it was extra special.”

Djokovic remained calm throughout, keeping his focus and concentration even when Federer threatened to become the oldest winner in the Open era, at 32.

The Serb, with his coach Boris Becker watching on, snatched victory and now sits alongside such asJohn McEnroe, Mats Wilander and John Newcombe on seven grand slams. Playing in the same era as Federer, who has 17, and Rafael Nadal, with 14, it is an incredible achievement. – Agencies

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