Djokovic: I'm starting to feel the love
Novak Djokovic feels he is finally starting to win the type of unwavering adulation from tennis fans enjoyed by Roger Federer after beating the very same man to claim his second Wimbledon title.
All England Club darling Federer was the clear object of the Centre Court crowd's affections during Sunday's thrilling five-set final.
I'm no Loo-ser
- Novak Djokovic has revealed a timely toilet break was the key to his five-set Wimbledon final win against Roger Federer.
- After Federer had taken the match into a decider, Djokovic decided to take a quick time-out - just as Andy Murray had done when the Scot beat him in the 2012 US Open final.
- "It's like Andy in the US Open," said Djokovic. "I needed time to refocus and forget about what happened in the fourth set, forget about the missed opportunities and move on. I had positive words of encouragement to say to myself.
- "You go through different emotions during such an important match. There is disappointment which brings with it fear and doubt and all these different demons inside.
As if dealing with the psychological ramifications of losing five of his previous six grand slam finals wasn't enough, Djokovic had to cope with overwhelming support from those in attendance in favour of his opponent as the crowd chanted "Roger, Roger".
But Djokovic went on to deny Federer what would've been a record eighth Wimbledon crown as he made amends for his final defeat to Andy Murray last year - where he was also up against a partisan Centre Court crowd as they roared their home favourite on to ending Britain's 77-year wait for a male singles champion at SW19.
"Playing Andy Murray last year in the final, how could I expect the majority of the support?" Djokovic said. "It is normal that they all support their home favourite and the hero. And on the other hand, yesterday against Roger, probably the most loved player in the world, he deserves it [support] for being so many years who he is, and successful as he is.
"I have no complaints. It is something I expected and, in my opinion, totally normal. I need to work more, establish myself for many more years, but I already feel that the love I am getting from the people around the world is increasing each year gradually."
Djokovic's Wimbledon triumph has seen him rise once again to No.1 in the world rankings, but he insists he still has plenty of work to do to keep earning the support of the fans.
"I know I have to earn love and respect," he added. "Playing tennis is not just being successful but representing the game as a top player in a proper way and representing myself as a person in a proper way. People want to see you not only as a tennis player but also the human side.
"I don't take tennis as a job, an obligation or commitment. I take it as a love and something I enjoy. Having a racquet in my hand is remarkable.
"This passion and positive emotion is something I bring on the court. I am always trying to be sincere and respectful of the game and of my opponents. I don't take anything for granted, I'm grateful for every match I play, every opportunity that I have and I believe that this kind of mindset and also the past that I have in my childhood has made me appreciate and value what I have right now even more."