After getting his hand on the real Wimbledon trophy for the fourth time, Novak Djokovic revealed he used to make "improvised" versions of it as a boy.
Djokovic ended a painful wait of over two years to add to his haul of 12 major titles, finally hitting the top again after a persistent elbow injury forced him to adapt his game.
The former world number one, who arrived at the All England Club ranked 21st, overcame Rafael Nadal in a five-set epic in the semi-finals, before brushing aside Kevin Anderson in straight sets in Sunday's final.
Djokovic confessed he rushed his comeback this year and suffered more as a result, but felt Wimbledon was the perfect setting for his return to the highest level.
"It was a long journey, especially considering the elbow injury that took me out from the tour for six months. When I started training again, came back on the tour, played Australia, but I played with the pain," said Djokovic.
"It was inevitable for me to go on a table and have surgery, even though I was trying everything to avoid it, to be honest.
"I got back to the court too fast. I wasn't ready to compete. Indian Wells, Miami were not great. It took me several months really to regain the confidence, go back to basics, start to hit as many balls on the practice court as possible so I can feel comfortable playing on the high level.
"It took me many tournaments. I couldn't pick a better place, to be honest, in the tennis world to peak and to make a comeback. Wimbledon has been always a very special tournament to me, and to many players obviously.
"I dreamed of winning it when I was a seven-year-old boy. I made a lot of improvised Wimbledon trophies from different materials. I really always dreamed of winning Wimbledon."
Djokovic's three-year old boy Stefan was on Centre Court for the post-match celebrations for the first time, and the champion explained how his son inspired him at Wimbledon.
"I didn't talk about it, but it was one of, if not the biggest, motivation I've had for this Wimbledon. I was visualising, imagining this moment of him coming to the stands, cherishing this moment with my wife and me and everyone. It's hard to describe," he said.
"I never had him in the box watching a tennis match. I was hoping that Wimbledon can be that tournament because he's big enough now to stay quiet maybe for 30 minutes or so. Maybe...
"There are special rules here so we have to respect them. He's under five years old, and you're not allowed to be present if under five.
"Roger, I think, had his girls and his boys last year, so I was hoping I can have Stefan, too.
"He was not there till the very moment when I was walking to get an interview. He walked in. So that was just a moment that I will carry inside of my heart forever."
17 de octubre 2018
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