Novak Djokovic fulfilled his childhood prediction on Sunday that one day he would become arguably the greatest player in the history of the sport by clinching a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam crown.
The World No. 1 drew level with his great rivals, Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who he has chased ever since he captured his first major crown at the 2008 Australian Open, in a historic 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 final victory over seventh-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini at The Championships, Wimbledon.
“It was more than a battle,” said Djokovic. “Winning Wimbledon was always the biggest dream of mine as a child. I know how special this is and I don’t want to take this for granted. I was a seven year old boy in Serbia, constructing a Wimbledon tennis trophy with improvised materials in my bedroom and now I am standing here with six titles. It’s incredible.”
When asked what it means to win a 20th Grand Slam title, Djokovic added, “It means none of us will stop [playing]. I have to pay a great tribute to Rafa and Roger as legends of our sport, the two most important players in my career and why I am the player I am today. They made me realise what I needed to improve, mentally, physically and tactically.
“When I first broke into the Top 10, for three or four years, I lost most of the big matches against these guys and something shifted at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. The past 10 years have been an incredible journey and it’s not stopping here.”
Djokovic, who has already clinched his ninth Australian Open crown (d. Medvedev) in February and a second Roland Garros title (d. Tsitsipas) last month, will now stake his claim for the calendar-year Grand Slam after earning his sixth trophy at the All England Club.
Only four men in the sport’s history have arrived in New York City with the season’s first three major championships in their bags, and in a couple of months’ time the 34-year-old Djokovic will hope to emulate Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) in winning all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single season.