Novak Djokovic sent a message of appreciation to his great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal after equalling their joint Grand Slam record at Wimbledon.
Djokovic picked up his 20th major title with a fightback win over Matteo Berrettini on Centre Court, matching Federer and Nadal’s hauls.
It was his sixth Wimbledon title and third major win of this year and it led to a poignant moment where three of the greatest players of all time were left level on the same number of Slam titles.
‘It means none of us three will stop,’ joked Djokovic in his on-court interview. ‘That’s what I think it means.
‘I’ve mentioned this before many times. I have to pay a great tribute to Rafa and Roger. They are legends of our sport and the two most important players I faced in my career.
‘They’re the reason that I am where I am today. They’ve helped me realise what I need to do to improve, to get stronger mentally, physically, tactically.
‘When I broke into the top-10 for the first time, I lost for three or four years most of the big matches I played against these two guys.
‘Something shifted end of 2010, 2011. Last 10 years has been an incredible journey that is not stopping here.’
Most would expect Djokovic to be ahead of his rivals by the end of the year. He is targeting a Calendar Slam at the US Open after already winning the Australian and French Opens.
He added: ‘I could definitely envision that happening. I’m hoping – I’ll definitely give it a shot.
‘I’m in great form and obviously playing well and playing my best tennis at Grand Slams is the highest priority I have at this stage of my career. Let’s keep going.’
Berrettini was beaten on the day but gave a good account of himself as the first Italian in a Wimbledon singles final.
‘It’s unbelivable feelings,’ said Berrettini. ‘Maybe too many to handle.
‘For sure, Novak was better than me. He’s a great champion. Well done once again. He’s writing the history of this sport.
‘It’s been a great two weeks. And at Queen’s before. I couldn’t ask for more.’ He paused and smiled before adding: ‘Well, maybe a little bit more.’
Djokovic was full of compliments for Berrettini – who he also beat at Roland Garros – after his display.
‘It was more than a battle,’ said Djokovic. ‘I’d first like to extend congratulations for Matteo, his family and team. Not the best feeling losing in the final and as he said this is just the beginning.
‘He’s very powerful. A true Italian hammer. I felt that on my skin in Paris and also today.
‘What to say? I love you too, thanks. Winning Wimbledon was always the biggest dream of mine as a kid.
‘I have to remind myself how special this is and not take it for granted and enjoy, be aware this is a huge honour and privilege. Today standing with a sixth Wimbledon. It’s incredible. It’s amazing.’
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