Touching motivation behind Djokovic’s triumph
NOVAK Djokovic has revealed the mental and physical anguish behind a fourth Wimbledon victory and his primary motivation - his three-year-old son Stefan.
The Serb said he was depressed and impatient after undergoing elbow surgery in February, doubting if he would ever contend at a major again.
"There were several moments where I was frustrated and questioning whether I can get back on desired level or not," he said after claiming his 13th grand slam title with a 6-2 6-2 7-6 (7-3) win over Kevin Anderson.
"But that makes this whole journey even more special for me.
"It's easy to talk now and look back at it and be kind of grateful … to go through this kind of mixed emotions, turbulences as well mentally, moments of doubt and disappointment and frustration, anger.
"It was a long journey, especially considering that elbow injury that took me out from the tour for six months."
Watched by the surgeon who performed the operation, Djokovic revealed he defied advice to play and "so I had to learn the lessons in a hard way."
When he was rolled by Marco Cecchinato at the French Open, Djokovic hinted about bypassing the grass-court season.
But after quelling gusty Anderson, exhausted after a 6hrs,36mins semi, the former world champion jubilated at the sight of his son in the players' box.
"It was one of, if not the biggest, motivation I've had for this Wimbledon this year," Djokovic said.
"I was visualising, imagining this moment of him coming to the stands, cherishing this moment with my wife (Jelena) and me and everyone. It's hard to describe.
"I never had him in the box watching the tennis match. I was hoping that Wimbledon can be that tournament because he's big enough now I think to stay quiet maybe for 30 minutes or so.
"There are special rules here so we have to respect them. He's under five years old, and you're not allowed if under five to be present.
"Roger (Federer) I think had his girls and his boys as well I think last year and the years that he won at the trophy ceremony, so I was hoping I can have Stefan, too.
"He was not there till the very moment when I was walking to get an interview. He walked in. So that was just a moment that I will carry inside of my heart forever."
With a French, six Australian, four Wimbledon and two US crowns, Djokovic is in fourth place overall behind Federer (20), Rafael Nadal (17) and Pete Sampras (14).
While he would not be drawn on the long-term ramifications of the win, he has clearly regained self-belief.
"This is going to be a huge confidence boost and springboard for whatever is coming up," he said.
"I really can't see the future. I don't know what's going to happen. But I like to play on hard courts.
"US Open was always successful tournament for me. I haven't played it last year because of injuries. I'm looking forward to also go out there and play my best and see where it takes me.
"There were several moments where I was frustrated and questioning whether I can get back on desired level or not. But that makes this whole journey even more special for me."
Anderson believes Djokovic is primed to return to the top.
"I'm not surprised that he's been able to come back. He obviously is such a high-quality player," Anderson said.
"If you look at the year (2015-16) he's had before he was injured, it was one of the most dominating years of all time. If he can match that, it would be an amazing effort. I don't think that's a fair benchmark to set to anybody.
"Obviously he's just won a grand slam again, his 13th. I think guys at the top can expect to see him on the other side of the net quite frequently."