NOVAK Djokovic said his epic Wimbledon final victory over Roger Federer was his most “mentally demanding” match; and he even had to tell himself the partisan crowd was cheering for him.
Djokovic, 32, retained his title with a 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) win over the eight-time champion, 37.
Lasting four hours 57 minutes, it was the longest Wimbledon singles final.
“When the crowd is chanting ‘Roger’ I hear ‘Novak’,” said the Serb. “It sounds silly, but it is like that.”
Djokovic – now a five-time Wimbledon champion – added: “Mentally this was different level. It was probably the most demanding, mentally most demanding, match I was ever part of. It was a huge relief in the end. You work for, you live for these kind of matches.”
“They give sense and they give value to every minute you spend on the court training and working to get yourself in this position and play the match with one of your greatest rivals of all time,” he said.
Djokovic saved two match points on his way to beating Federer in the first 12-12 final-set singles tie-break used at the All England Club.
He credited mental training and visualization in helping him through the epic that unfolded on Centre Court, adding it was more difficult for him than the physical toll on his body. (BBC)