Defending champion Novak Djokovic claimed his fifth Wimbledon title on Sunday beating eight-time champion Roger Federer 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 13-12 (7/3) in the longest ever final and settled by a historic tie-break.
The 32-year-old Serbian saved two match points as he took his Grand Slam tally to 16, four off Federer’s overall record.
Djokovic’s victory extends to 11 successive Grand Slams won by the big three, himself, Federer and Rafael Nadal.
At 4 hours and 57 minutes, it was the longest final at Wimbledon.
Stan Wawrinka was the last player outside the trio to win a Grand Slam, the 2016 US Open beating Djokovic.
The last player to win a Grand Slam aged under 30 was Andy Murray, who won the 2016 Wimbledon title aged 29.
Here’s the full text of Roger Federer’s post-match press conference after the Wimbledon final.
Where do you think it went wrong for you? Two match points, perhaps?
Yeah, I mean, one shot I guess. So don’t know which one to pick. Your choice.
In that situation, what is going through your mind? Did you think you’d lost it after those two match points?
No. I mean, really, look, I was still happy to be at 8-all, 9-all. I don’t remember what it was. You try to see the positives, you try to take it as a good thing, I guess, that you’re not down a break or that the match is not over yet. If I could have picked it before the match to be at 9-all in the fifth, that wouldn’t be a terrible thing. You just always try to push yourself to see things on the better side. But, yeah, it was definitely tough to have those chances.
You kept changing the pace with your slice backhand. Novak was solid off the backhand. Were you surprised how solid he was dealing with your slice?
No, I mean, look, he’s been doing that very well against me in the past. I played him with a lot of slices, as well, in Paris. He handles that one very well time and time again. He’s able to go down and make sure he sets himself up nicely and puts himself in position. He gives away, anyway, very little unforced errors. You got to push him to do those. If you can’t, then you have to play aggressive yourself. I did that. I thought I had a good mix. Obviously, Novak was also playing very well.
You won 14 more points today. Does that make you feel like you were the better player or no?
It really doesn’t matter actually. I know what I did well, how close I was. I don’t need to feel that way. I think I can be happy about my performance.
However you and Rafa might feel about it, he’s spent a lot of time being the No 3 guy, trying to crack through.
That was a long time ago, though (smiling).
Still, people hold you and Rafa in high regard. Do you think this changes that in the public’s eye?
You got to go to the streets and ask those people and the fans. I mean, look, we know how strong Novak is and has been for many, many years as well. Yeah, of course, every win, every other extra win, every other streak all adds to the tally, no doubt about it.
You have these two guys behind you who are trying to catch you in the all-time list of slam wins. Is that element of the sport exciting? Is it irrelevant? Is it stressful?
Well, I mean, used to be a really, really big deal, you know, I guess when you were close. I guess two behind, then eventually you tie, then eventually you break. That was big. It’s been different since, naturally because the chase is in a different place.
I take motivation from different places, you know. Not so much from trying to stay ahead because I broke the record, and if somebody else does, well, that’s great for them.
You can’t protect everything anyway. I didn’t become a tennis player for that. I really didn’t. It’s about trying to win Wimbledon, trying to have good runs here, playing in front of such an amazing crowd in this Centre Court against players like Novak and so forth. That’s what I play for. Yeah, so things are different now. But I’m very happy with my level of play nowadays still.
What have been the most important factors in your ability to come back from defeats like this when you’ve been so close and the stakes have been so high and both players have played so well?
So your question is?
What have been the most important factors for your ability to bounce back from defeats like this?
Yeah, I mean, similar to getting broken when serving for the match: take it on your chin, you move on. You try to forget, try to take the good things out of this match. There’s just tons of it. Like similar to ‘08 maybe, I will look back at it and think, Well, it’s not that bad after all. For now, it hurts, and it should, like every loss does here at Wimbledon. I think it’s a mindset. I’m very strong at being able to move on because I don’t want to be depressed about actually an amazing tennis match.
It’s the first time that a tiebreak has been played in a final here. Were you looking forward to the tiebreak or would you have preferred it to go open-ended?
It is what it is. I respect whatever the rule is. You play with it. I don’t know if I was looking forward to it or not. I was feeling good about either scenario. Yeah, so really it is what it is, you know.
You played a lot of tennis coming into Wimbledon this year compared with the last two seasons. Do you think that’s paid off in terms of your fitness, endurance? How do you see it panning out for the rest of the season? Will you take time off or keep up that momentum?
Yeah, I think it definitely maybe helped me to play the clay, to stay match fit, match tough. In practice, you can only do so much. If I’m going to do the same exactly next year? I don’t know yet on the clay. I’m happy I played as good and I felt as good as I did throughout The Championships and also Halle right now, and also now sitting here.
There’s a lot of positives to take away from the journey I’ve been for the last few months. Looking ahead, we had decided in the team I was going to skip Montreal anyway already a week ago, just give myself enough time. I wish I had more, but I don’t. I’m just going to take enough time off what I can and prepare for Cincinnati and get going from then on again.
How tough is a loss like this to take? Would it have been easier if it was a straight-set affair? Is it easier to recover from that and move on?
It’s hard to tell. I don’t know if losing 2-2-2 feels better than this one. In the end, it actually doesn’t matter to some extent. You might feel more disappointed, sad, over-angry. I don’t know what I feel right now. I just feel like it’s such an incredible opportunity missed, I can’t believe it. It is what it is, you know.
Some said it was like tennis at its very best. Even though you just stepped off the court, talk about a match like this, what it shows about tennis, what a great sport it is.
I mean, all of us working in this sport, we know what a great sport it is. I don’t think we need the matches, per se. Maybe we need them to sometimes cross over to other sports, maybe get to the fans in the streets and so forth. If that’s the case, that this match did something like this, I think that’s great. Yeah, I think it was a great match with wonderful points played. It had everything. Novak played also amazing today. So I hope it resonates in a big way. So, yeah, I don’t know if I answered the question or not. I forgot what you asked actually.
You had a pretty big fan of yours in the audience today, John Bercow. Did you have any time to catch up with him?
No, but I heard he’s a big fan. I met him a few times back at the World Tour Finals. But no.
It’s a little early, but comparisons with 2008, the level of play. Your feelings about the quality of the match?
Well, this one is more straightforward maybe in some ways because we didn’t have the rain delays, we didn’t have the night coming in and all that stuff. But sure, epic ending, so close, so many moments. Yeah, I mean, sure there are similarities. But you got to go dig, see what they are. I’m the loser both times, so that’s the only similarity I see (smiling).
(With inputs from AFP)