Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Novak Djokovic: I'm glad Andy Murray won Wimbledon

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07:  Andy Murray of Great Britain poses with the Gentlemen's Singles Trophy next to Novak Djokovic of Serbia following his victory in the Gentlemen's Singles Final match on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 7, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Andy Murray of Great Britain poses with the Gentlemen's Singles Trophy next to Novak Djokovic of Serbia following his victory in the Gentlemen's Singles Final match on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 7, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic said he is glad Andy Murray beat him in the Wimbledon final because of how much the victory means to both the Scotsman and the nation.

The world's number one tennis player said he has already achieved all his dreams, adding: "Today is a new day."

Speaking at a gala dinner for the Novak Djokovic Foundation in London, the 26-year-old tennis star from Serbia said: "I thought he was just a better player on the court, and in the end, of course not happy that I lost, but in the end in a way glad that he won the title that he was dreaming of.

"And I know how much it meant to him, and how much it meant to the whole nation. It was obvious.

"A better player won and he absolutely deserved it."

A remarkable fortnight at the All England Club reached a fitting finale yesterday when Murray ended Britain's 77-year wait for a men's singles champion in SW19.

But tennis was not on the 2011 Wimbledon champion's mind tonight, as he was joined by a host of Hollywood stars, royalty and sporting legends for a gala dinner in aid of his charity.

He founded the Novak Djokovic Foundation in 2007 in a bid to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children - especially in his native Serbia - who may be affected by a lack of nutrition or education, illness or loss of family.

"It is very important because everybody should take their free time, as little as it is, to contribute to a change to better many people's lives around the world," he said.

The star said he has been fortunate to have got so far having come from a country which has been torn apart by war and with no tennis tradition.

He said: "I've achieved all my dreams, to be number one in the world, to win Wimbledon, to be playing the sport I love with all my heart, and to be surrounded by people I love, and to travel around the world.

"I can afford many things in life, but unfortunately not many, the majority of the kids actually in Serbia, don't have this privilege and this opportunity, so this is where we step in.

"The goal of our foundation is to allow these kids to dream, to dare to dream, and to have all the opportunities to grow up in very stimulative surroundings and to respect their environment, and to hopefully one day become a tennis champion."

Reflecting on yesterday's events, the star, who signed autographs for waiting fans outside the Roundhouse in Camden, did not seem too disappointed.

"I'm good. Today is a new day. Of course I played the finals at Wimbledon.

"What more can I ask for? Of course a title would be even better but there was another player who was better than me on the court.

"That's sport. You cannot win all the matches," he said.

Looking forward to the night ahead, Djokovic said: "I've moved on and congratulated my opponent, and tonight I will focus on this beautiful evening."

The stars arriving at the trendy venue, and the heavy press presence, attracted an excited crowd eager to get a glimpse of a famous face.

All of the guests joining the six times Grand Slam champion sang his praises and spoke about how enjoyable the final served up by him and Murray turned out to be.

Hollywood's finest turning out for the star-studded event included actress Goldie Hawn and her daughter Kate Hudson, while pin-up and eager Murray fan Gerard Butler showed his support for the opposition.

Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson joined the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson and her daughter Princess Beatrice, while former tennis stars Tim Henman and Boris Becker were also in attendance.

Bringing even more style to the occasion was supermodel Naomi Campbell whose arrival perhaps caused the biggest frenzy among curious onlookers and photographers.