Kevin Anderson admitted nerves stopped him playing his best tennis from the start of the Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic.
Eighth seed Anderson spent close to 11 hours on court in his two previous matches, five-set victories over Roger Federer and John Isner in the quarter-finals and last four respectively.
The South African's major final debut came at last year's US Open when he was beaten in straight sets by Rafael Nadal, and he lamented being unable to use that experience to his advantage.
"It was a tough start for me. You always have high hopes. Going into the match, I was hoping to draw on some previous experiences, playing at the US Open in the finals, obviously playing Federer a couple days ago," said Anderson, whose total time on court at the All England Club this year was greater than 21 hours prior to Sunday's meeting.
"I didn't really find my form the way I wanted to. Of course, my body didn't feel great. I don't think you're going to expect it to feel great this deep into a tournament when you've played so much tennis.
"But I was definitely quite nervous starting out the match."
Anderson failed to convert any of the five set points that came his way in the third and Djokovic took full advantage by completing a 6-2 6-2 7-6 (7-3) triumph.
"In the third set, I was able to actually pick it up a little bit. I would have loved to have gone to a fourth set," he said.
"I don't know how I would have felt as the match progressed. Novak is very tough to match physically.
"I think even when I played Federer going down two sets to love, I felt I found my form much quicker.
"I felt I played really good tennis [in the third set against Djokovic]. I definitely had more opportunities than he did."
It means so much for me to have played in the @Wimbledon final. There are so many positives and great memories I will be taking with me. Thanks to everyone from South Africa and around the world for your support and messages. It has been an incredibly special fortnight. pic.twitter.com/WxKGvl6bho— Kevin Anderson (@KAndersonATP) July 15, 2018
Djokovic's triumph brought his first major title in over two years – his 13th overall – and Anderson expects the Serbian to continue challenging, having overcome a persistent elbow injury and a crisis of confidence.
"I'm not surprised that he's been able to come back. He obviously is such a high-quality player. Playing him today, you can definitely see the improvements he's made since coming back from injury," said the runner-up.
"I think his match with Nadal was a big exclamation point. I think he struggled with his serve coming back after the elbow … the serve was there today, how quick he was hitting it.
"If you look at the year he's had before he was injured, it was one of the most dominating years of all time. If he can match that, it would be an amazing effort. I don't think that's a fair benchmark to set anybody.
"I think guys at the top can expect to see him on the other side of the net quite frequently."
20 de agosto 2018
|Kenedy escapes further action over Camarasa kick|
|England´s Bairstow suffers ´small fracture´ to finger|
|Gonalons joins Sevilla on loan from Roma|
|Modric, Ronaldo and Salah final UEFA Player of the Year nominees|
|Tottenham to play opening Champions League home match at Wembley|
|Karius´ Champions League blunders did not lead to Alisson signing - Klopp|
|Leeds considered €20m Conte offer before turning to Bielsa|
|Modric, Rakitic lead new era for World Cup finalists Croatia|
|Storm´s Chambers banned for three weeks, Smith injury not serious|
|Porte to race Vuelta after recovering from Tour crash|
|The Career Golden Masters: A run-down of Djokovic´s magnificent record|
|Japan send home four basketball players from Asian Games amid prostitution scandal|
|Rugby tackle bags helping Liverpool´s Alisson with Premier League life|
|Federer raring to go at US Open after Djokovic defeat|
|Chelsea boss Sarri plans to give up smoking|
|Alonso´s Toyota team stripped of Silverstone victory|
|Ceballos: No issue with former Real Madrid boss Zidane|
|MLS Review: Martinez equals single-season goalscoring record|
|Astros avoid sweep with win over Athletics|
|Seppi advances, Paire exits Winston-Salem|
|Bale feeling good as Madrid eye sweep of trophies|
|You can´t leave a house three-quarters built – Neville urges United to back Mourinho|
|Dodgers slugger Machado leaves game after being struck by pitch|
|Harden says Carmelo will ´be a good fit´ for Rockets|
|Morata: I never considered Chelsea exit|
|Gavrilova kicks off title defence in New Haven|
|Lopetegui pleased with Bale and Real Madrid after LaLiga opener|
|It´s a very special moment – Djokovic revels in Golden Masters achievement|
|Sorrentino thanks Ronaldo for support after injury|
|Twins place Santana on DL with finger injury|
|Yankees´ Gregorius suffers ´pretty significant´ heel bruise|
|Snedeker ends PGA Tour drought with Wyndham Championship win|
|Spalletti unconcerned despite Inter´s underwhelming start|
|Djokovic makes history with Masters clean sweep in Cincinnati|
|Real Madrid 2 Getafe 0: Bale gives Lopetegui first LaLiga win|
19 de agosto 2018
|IndyCar driver Wickens taken to hospital after crash|
|Sherman calls for NFL to scrap ´idiotic´ helmet rule|
|Sassuolo 1 Inter 0: New-look Nerazzurri given early reality check|
|Hughton: Shock United win does not alter scale of Brighton´s task|
|Navas keeps place as Courtois waits on Madrid debut|
|Ndidi signs long-term Leicester City contract|
|Pandya tears through feeble England to put India in command|
|Alonso creates motorsport history with victory at Silverstone|
|Kovacic: Chelsea and Sarri believe in me|
|Brighton loss a big lesson for United – Pogba|
|Mistakes hit United´s confidence - Mourinho|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 3 Manchester United 2: Murray lifts Seagulls to another win over Mourinho|
|Quickfire Moon treble sets up Rhinos win|
|Manchester City celebrate win with Silva´s son|
|Brentford 2 Sheffield Wednesday 0: Maupay stars as Bees buzz by Owls|
|Guardiola delighted with fit and firing Aguero|
|Waring marks 200th event with maiden title in Gothenburg|
|Guardiola dismisses Mourinho´s ´disrespectful´ accusation|
|Hulkenberg proud to survive in F1´s pay driver era|
|It´s here, it´s real, get on with it - Dyche dismisses Europa League excuse|
|Grujic agrees Liverpool extension, joins Hertha on loan|
|Martial starts as Lukaku, Young return for Manchester United|
|Fury-Wilder to be staged in November or December - Warren|
|Manchester City 6 Huddersfield Town 1: Aguero hits hat-trick as champions triumph|
|Burnley 1 Watford 3: Hornets end away day woes as Deeney leads destructive display|
|McFarland cleared to leave Scotland and join Ulster|
|Simeone wants ´only the best´ for Filipe Luis amid PSG links|
|PSG signing Boateng rated ´50-50´ by Bayern president|
|Cipriani a positive influence, insists Gloucester head coach|
|Bayer Leverkusen´s Bailey signs contract extension|
|Jesus and Aguero start for City as Mahrez misses out|
|Federer unsure what to expect from Djokovic duel|
|Chievo goalkeeper suffers broken nose, whiplash in Ronaldo collision|
|Simmons lauds influence of ´big brother´ LeBron|
|PSG´s Cavani selected by Uruguay as Coito fills in for Tabarez|