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Novak Djokovic of Serbia - Wimbledon 2011

Novak Djokovic of Serbia - Wimbledon 2011

Clive Mason

Novak Djokovic of Serbia - Wimbledon 2011

Novak Djokovic admits being crowned world number one will count for nothing if he goes home tomorrow without being crowned Wimbledon champion.

Djokovic reached his first Wimbledon final yesterday with a hard-fought four-set victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The win also meant that the Serbian will become world number one when the ATP rankings are updated on Monday, regardless of whether he overcomes Rafael Nadal in the final.

Djokovic's record of losing just one of his 47 matches this year is an incredible feat, but the Belgrade-born star is aware that he will not be regarded in the same league as Nadal and Roger Federer - who have 26 grand slams between them - until he starts winning majors on a regular basis.

Djokovic has so far won two Australian Open titles, but has failed to win any other major tournament.

He admits winning Wimbledon, the tournament he grew up watching as a child, is something he wants more than most, and concedes his place at the top of the rankings will be just a consolation if he does not win tomorrow's final.

"Being number one is good but I have to make it count now, of course," Djokovic said.

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"Being in the final at Wimbledon is something that I always dreamed of.

"Right from when I started playing tennis I was always trying to imagine myself being there on the last Sunday. Being in the Wimbledon final is the thing for me."

Just how much the victory meant to Djokovic was clear when he slumped to the floor and kissed the Centre Court turf upon completing his 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 6-7 (9/11) 6-3 win.

He added: "When I kissed the turf it felt unbelievable. I didn't know how to show my emotions.

"It was one of those moments where you can't describe it with the words. All you've worked for throughout your career and your childhood has come true.

"When you know you're going to be the best in the world and you're reaching the finals of your favourite tournament, it's something special."

Becoming number one is all the more remarkable given that Djokovic is competing alongside Nadal and Federer, two players considered among the all-time greats.

"They don't give you a lot of chances to become number one," Djokovic said with a smile. "I guess you need to lose only one match in seven months to get there."

Djokovic had to dig deep to make it through to his first final at SW19, with Tsonga reeling off huge serves and forehands to send his opponent scurrying around the court.

Tsonga was on course to take the first set with an early break before Djokovic broke back, eventually winning a tie-break and coasting to victory in the second set.

Tsonga then clinched a thrilling 20 points tie-break in the third, with Djokovic squandering two match points, but the Serb hit back to take the fourth set 6-3.

Djokovic admitted that Tsonga, seeded 12th, provided him with a very tough game.

"He's a kind of player that feeds from the energy of the crowd and when he has momentum, he can really be unstoppable at times," Djokovic said.

Tsonga thinks Djokovic deserves his place at the top of the rankings.

"Since the beginning of the year, he has been the best. He beat every player maybe twice or three times," the Frenchman said.

"He won the Australian Open, got to the semis in Roland Garros and now he's in final so maybe he is the best."


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