The then world No.1 probably knew that Federer’s level was a notch higher than his throughout most of the match, but he also knew it didn’t matter. He stepped up in the three tiebreaks and walked away with a 16th Grand Slam crown.
“That was one thing that I promised myself coming on to the court today, that I need to stay calm and composed, because I knew that the atmosphere will be as it was,” said Djokovic, who faced a sell-out Centre Court crowd that was heavily in Federer’s favour.
After winning the last point of the match, his celebration was contained, as he looked towards the spectators, almost taunting them – his small grin showcasing how proud of himself he was to prove them all wrong.
“When the crowd is chanting 'Roger' I hear 'Novak',” Djokovic told reporters with a smile.
“It sounds silly, but it is like that. I try to convince myself that it's like that.
“It was probably the most demanding, mentally most demanding, match I was ever part of. I had the most physically demanding match against [Rafael] Nadal in the finals of Australia that went almost six hours [in 2012]. But mentally this was different level, because of everything.”
Djokovic would go on to add two more titles in 2019 – the Masters 1000 tournament in Paris (Rolex Paris Masters) and the ATP 500 event in Tokyo – to end the season with five in total. He ended the year at No.2 in the rankings behind Nadal, and one spot ahead of Federer, who is still leading the race for most Grand Slams won with his men’s all-time record haul of 20.
The Swiss was in a state of shock when he addressed the press after the Wimbledon final, unable to grasp how he walked off Centre Court with the smaller trophy.
“I just feel like it's such an incredible opportunity missed, I can't believe it,” said Federer.
He later added: “I'm very strong at being able to move on because I don't want to be depressed about actually an amazing tennis match.”
That it certainly was!