Novak Djokovic pays tribute to long-standing rivals Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal and says THEY are the reason he has excelled to reach 20 Grand Slam titles… but world No 1 vows his ‘incredible’ journey is ‘not stopping here’ after winning sixth Wimbledon
Novak Djokovic believes the success of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal has made him the player he is today after the world No 1 equalled his rivals’ record of 20 Grand Slam titles.
Djokovic capped off a fine two weeks at Wimbledon by leaving with the title following a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 win over Italy’s Matteo Berrettini.
Victory meant Djokovic lifted his sixth Wimbledon title and his 20th overall in what adds to a sensational 2021 where he has already won both the Australian Open and the French Open.
When pushed on the impact Federer and Nadal have had on his ambition to win every single event he enters, Djokovic was full of praise for the Swiss and the Spaniard.
‘Winning Wimbledon was always the biggest dream, I can’t take this for granted,’ he said.
‘Going from a seven-year-old boy in Serbia constructing a Wimbledon trophy in his bedroom to this, it’s incredible.’
On equalling the record of 20 Slams, he added: ‘It means none of us three will stop, I have to pay tribute to Roger and Rafa, they are legends and the two most important I faced in my career.
‘They are the reason I am where I am today.
‘When I broke into the top 10 I lost most of my big matches against these guys. It’s been an incredible journey and it’s not stopping here.’
Djokovic, who is registered for the Tokyo Olympic Games later this month, is now one Grand Slam away from a famous ‘Golden Slam’ – winning all four majors in a single calendar year.
‘I could definitely envision that happening (the calendar Grand Slam),’ he added with a smile.
‘I’m going to give it a shot. I’m in great form and playing my best tennis at Grand Slams is my priority so let’s keep it going.’
Berretini, who impressed on his Grand Slam debut, said in defeat: ‘It was an unbelievable feeling, almost too much to handle.
‘(Djokovic) is writing the history of this sport. I’m really happy for the final, hopefully it won’t be my last one. For me it’s not the end, it’s the beginning of a great career.’