Rafael Nadal makes no excuses for defeat despite hairline fracture | The Australian
Although The Times has learnt that Nadal had a hairline fracture in the left foot that he hurt against Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round and may not play for six more weeks, he put up no excuses for his defeat, his third in five Wimbledon finals.
This was unashamedly Djokovic's day, one he described as "beautiful". It comes at the end of many beautiful days, for he has been beaten only once in 51 matches since leading his nation to their inaugural Davis Cup triumph on home soil in December.
His lone defeat was by Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the French Open last month.
Djokovic said last month that his ambition was to become the best player in the world and his dream was to win Wimbledon - both have happened in 24 hours. “I am never going to forget this,” he said.
“We all know about the careers of Federer and Nadal, we don't need to spend those words again, they have been the dominant players in the world over the last five years. They always came up with their best tennis when it mattered most.
“It is a process for me of learning, of developing, just finding a way mentally to overcome the pressures and the expectations you have. I always believed I had the quality to beat those guys, to win the majors and the mental approach had to be positive. There is no other way.
“This success makes you rewind to the old days. You come back to your childhood and remember what you've been through to get to this stage. I guess that's necessary in order for you to fight for what you want to achieve.”
As ever with Nadal, he accepted defeat with humility and honesty, although he was hurting inside.
The 25-year-old would have won his eleventh grand slam and moved to within five of Federer's total of 16 had he won. Now he has to accept that he is second best in ranking terms again.
“We can analyse that my game is not bothering him,” Nadal said. “We have to find how I can bother him. I did in the past. He's in the best moment of his career. I am in one of the best moments of my career, but still not enough for him. I have to play longer. I have to play more aggressively. I have to have less mistakes.
“Seriously, I lost because I am playing against the best player of the moment, the best player of the world tomorrow (Tuesday), and I am the second. And when you play against these players and they are playing unbelievably, the normal thing is (to) lose. That's what happened the last few times.”
Nadal added that fathoming out a plan to beat Djokovic is now his priority.
“Even last year when I was winning three grand-slams, I knew my level was not for ever,” he said.
“Probably the level of Novak today is not for ever. I'm going to be here fighting all the time, waiting for my moment to beat him.”
Nadal had already decided that he would not play in the Davis Cup World Group second-round tie away to the United States in Texas this week, but if he has to take six weeks off, he will have little practice on hard courts before he opens his US Open title defence next month.
"Federer has to beat Nadal(if he wants) to be considered the greatest ever, certainly in my book." Pete Sampras