Novak DJOKOVIC was “pushed to the limit” in a record-breaking clash with Juan Martin del Potro, but warned there will be no ill effects when he bids for a second Wimbledon title tomorrow.
This year’s championships will live long in the memory, with major upsets complemented by exquisite tennis.
Yesterday’s semi-final between Djokovic and Del Potro was arguably the best of the bunch and, at four hours and 44 minutes, it knocks the 1989 last-four clash between Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl out of future record books.
After seeing off a mammoth fight from Del Potro, world number one Djokovic eventually eked out a 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7/2) 6-7 (6/8) 6-3 victory to put a seventh grand slam crown within striking distance.
“I’ve had some epic matches in my career and some long five-setters,” said the 2011 Wimbledon champion. The one that especially stands out is the final against [Rafael] Nadal at the Australian Open a few years ago. It went for six hours. But I have the experience of playing long matches, and I know that I have been pushed to the limit today, as my opponent was also. It was one of the most thrilling matches that I have ever played, especially here in Wimbledon.
Djokovic promised whoever he faces that his semi-final exertions will not have an adverse impact on his performance tomorrow.
“Physically, even in the fifth set, there was a lot of falls, sliding, running, long exchanges, and I still feel I’m okay,” he said.
“Of course, I’ll be a little bit more tired than I was after my previous matches.
“It’s not the first time I’ve been in this situation. I’ve been in worse situations actually before, like in the Australian Open in 2012, or on several occasions where I managed to recover.
“I’m ready and I’m looking forward to that.”