Djokovic to intensify pursuit of Fed’s records
Novak Djokovic plans to intensify his pursuit of Roger Federer - and the Swiss maestro's records - after mastering mental demons and a partisan Wimbledon crowd to climb higher into the grand slam stratosphere.
Djokovic, 32, has closed to within four majors of Federer's record 20 after a pulsating 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) victory over the Swiss in a match already celebrated as the greatest of all time.
Djokovic, who has already spent 260 weeks at world No.1, covets Federer's 310-week record at the top of rankings and, armed with a massive point lead of 4470 points over nearest pursuer Rafael Nadal, is closing in fast.
Then there is the ultimate grand slam record - the overall number of majors.
Federer, 37, could have almost iced the GOAT - greatest of all time - debate with a 21st major at Wimbledon but, after holding two match points on his own serve, has left the door ajar.
And Djokovic is ready to march through it.
"It seems like I'm getting closer, but also they're (Federer and Nadal) winning slams. We're kind of complementing each other," he said.
"We're making each other grow and evolve and still be in this game.
"I mean, those two guys, probably (are) one of the biggest reasons I still compete at this level.
"The fact that they made history of this sport motivates me as well, inspires me to try to do what they have done, what they've achieved, and even more.
"Whether I'm going to be able to do it (catch and pass Federer and Nadal) or not, I don't know.
"I mean, I'm not really looking at age as a restriction of any kind for me at least.
"What I said on the court, I really meant it: Roger really inspires me with his effort at his age.
"It just depends how long I'm going to play, whether I'm going to have a chance to make historic No.1 or slams. It depends not only on myself, it depends on circumstances in life.
"I'm not just a tennis player, I'm a father and a husband. You have to balance things out. "
Djokovic said the pro-Federer centre court crowd made competing with the most popular contemporary player even more challenging.
"It was probably the most demanding, mentally most demanding, match I was ever part of," he said.
"I had the most physically demanding match against Nadal in the finals of Australia (2012) that went almost six hours.
"But mentally this was different level, because of everything.
"I'm just obviously thrilled and overjoyed with emotions to be sitting here in front of you as a winner.
"It was one shot away from losing the match, as well.
"This match had everything. It could have gone easily his way.
"But, in these kind of moments, I just try to never lose self-belief, just stay calm, just focus on trying to get the ball back, return, which wasn't serving me very well today.
"But in the most important moments, all three tiebreaks I guess, if I can say so, I found my best game."
MEN'S ALL-TIME GRAND SLAM TITLES LEADERBOARD
20: Roger Federer (SUI)
18: Rafael Nadal (ESP)
16: Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Australian Open: 7 (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019)
French Open: 1 (2016)
Wimbledon: 5 (2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019)
US Open: 3 (2011, 2015, 2018)
14: Pete Sampras (USA)
12: Roy Emerson (AUS)
11: Rod Laver (AUS), Bjorn Borg (SWE)
10: Bill Tilden (USA)