NOVAK DJOKOVIC overcame his personal demons and the greatest champion in tennis to win the Wimbledon title last night.
"I managed to not just win against my opponent but against myself as well and find the inner strength that got me the trophy today," said the 27-year old Serb after defeating Roger Federer in three hours 56 minutes on Centre Court.
Djokovic, who had won just one of his past six grand slam finals, celebrated by reprising his 2011 post-match routine of eating the grass before heading to thank Boris Becker, his coach, and his team in the player's box. He said of the Wimbledon turf: "It tastes like the best meal I have had in my life."
As the new world No.1 headed to a series of media conferences, Federer was comforted in the locker room by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who had watched a spectacular match in which the Swiss player had saved a championship-winning point in the fourth set.
Djokovic, who has now won seven grand slams, said yesterday's victory was the one that gave him the most pride. "It's very special, the most special grand slam final I've played," he said. "At the time of my career for this grand slam trophy to arrive is crucial, especially, as I said, after losing several grand slam finals in a row. I started doubting a little bit.
"I needed this win a lot. I'm going to try to use it in the best possible way and for my confidence to grow for the rest of my season and the rest of my career."
Djokovic dedicated his title to his first coach Jelena Gencic who died aged 76 last June and his fiancee Jelena Ristic, who is pregnant with the couple's first child.
Asked for his immediate plans, he said: "Straight to practice. Roehampton hard court tomorrow morning. No, I'm going to take some rest. There are few important things coming up: getting married and, of course, in a few months becoming a dad. I think I can close the chapter of my tennis career just for little bit now."
Federer was gracious after he just failed to win his 18th grand slam and his eighth Wimbledon title.
He said of his comeback from being a championship point down in the fourth set: "I kept believing and kept trying to play offensive tennis. I'm happy it paid off in some instances. I'm very disappointed not being rewarded with victory. Novak deserved it at the end clearly, but it was extremely close."
He was asked if this could have been his last grand slam final.
The 32-year-old, who is the second oldest Wimbledon finalist in the open era after 39-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1974, replied: "You could have asked me exactly that question in 2003. You don't know. Totally the unknown. That's the disappointment of an Olympic result, of a World Cup result, Wimbledon result, whatever it is. You've just got to wait and see. There is no guarantee that you're going to be ever there again or not. Or maybe there's much more to come. It's really impossible to answer that question."
He revealed he met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge moments after he came off court. "I wasn't in a great state. I was unbelievably sad at that moment just when I left the court, so it was a difficult moment for, I think, the three of us," he said.
"But they were very sweet to comfort me and wish me well, that they enjoyed the match and all these things. It makes me very happy to see them being supportive of my game and supportive of tennis."