London (AFP) - Novak Djokovic described his second Wimbledon title as the most special of his career with his epic triumph over Roger Federer topping even his record-breaking 2012 Australian Open battle against Rafael Nadal.
The top-seeded Serb, who will regain the world number one spot on Monday, claimed his seventh Grand Slam title with a 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-4 win over seven-time champion Federer in a final which touched close to four hours.
It gave him a second All England Club trophy after his 2011 win but it came after the 27-year-old had lost three of his last majors and five out of the last six.
"Sincerely, this has been the best quality Grand Slam final that I have ever been part of," said Djokovic, who famously defeated Nadal in the 2012 Australian Open final in a five-set marathon which lasted almost six hours.
"I've had a longest final against Nadal in the Australian Open. But quality-wise from the first to last point, this is definitely the best match. It's the most special Grand Slam final I've played."
Even when he had squandered a 5-2 lead in the fourth set and saw Federer save a match point with a successful challenge over an ace which had been called out, Djokovic insisted that he was confident he could pull through.
It was especially pleasing, he said, due to his poor record in recent Grand Slam finals, most recently his defeat to Rafael Nadal in the French Open final in June which once again prevented him from completing the career Grand Slam of all four majors.
Another defeat on Sunday would have made him just the fourth man to lose four successive majors alongside Ivan Lendl, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray.
"I didn't allow my emotions to fade away, as was probably the case in the Roland Garros final. I am just very glad to win a Grand Slam final after losing the last three out of four," he said.
"Roger played very well, I thought, in a very high level. He showed why he's a champion. He showed a fighting spirit, composure in important moments when he was a break down."
"But I managed to not just win against my opponent but win against myself as well and find that inner strength that got me the trophy today."
Sunday's win also Djokovic's first Grand Slam title since his first coach Jelena Gencic, the woman he once described as a "second mother", died aged 76 last June.
Djokovic remembers holding aloft a pretend Wimbledon trophy after practice sessions with Gencic as a child and he was also quick to dedicate his latest All England Club victory to his fellow Serb as well as to his fiancee Jelena Ristic, who is pregnant with the couple's first child.
"I dedicate this to my future wife and our future baby. I'm going to be a father soon. It's a great joy of life," Djokovic said.
"And last but not least to my first coach, who taught me all the basics of tennis, how to behave and everything I know about tennis, Jelena Gencic."