Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic taken 'to the limit' in record-breaking semi-final
Novak Djokovic admitted his thrilling five-set defeat of Juan Martin del Potro at Wimbledon pushed him "to the limit".
Last Updated: 05/07/13 9:25pm
By the time the No 1 seed booked a place in Sunday's final he and del Potro had been on court four hours and 44 minutes - longer than any other semi-finalists in the tournament's history.
A backhand winner eventually took Djokovic through 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7/2) 6-7 (6/8) 6-3 in front of an enthralled Centre Court.
And afterwards the 2011 champion said: "I've had some epic matches in my career and some long five-setters.
"The one that especially stands out is the final against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open a few years ago. It went for six hours.
"But I have the experience of playing long matches, and I know that I have been pushed to the limit today, as my opponent was also.
"It was one of the most thrilling matches that I have ever played, especially
here in Wimbledon.
"It was a very high quality of tennis from the first to the last point. There were not many unforced errors. I think there was a lot of winners. We both tried to dictate the play.
"I did have opportunities in the fourth set when I was a break up and match points in the tie-breaker to end the match earlier.
"But credit to him, because he showed his fighting spirit. From the back of the court he came up with some amazing flat backhands and forehands that you cannot say anything but congratulate him on and move on. But I managed to hang in there, stay tough, and I'm really glad to win."
Despite his exertions, Djokovic is confident his body will hold up in Sunday's final as he attempts to win a seventh grand slam title.
He said: "Physically, even in the fifth set, there was a lot of falls, sliding, running, long exchanges, and I still feel I'm okay.
"Of course, I'll be a little bit more tired than I was after my previous matches, but it's not the first time I've been in this situation.
"I've been in worse situations actually before, like in the Australian Open in 2012, or on several occasions where I managed to recover, managed to win the title in the final, managed to feel fresh and play another six hours. I'm ready and I'm looking forward to that."
Del Potro said: "What I experienced in there on the court was special, it had been a long time since I had played like thatd.
"I think the crowd enjoyed the match a lot. Amazing, I really enjoyed watching them as well. When I was down at moments in the match, I saw the crowd, they were clapping me, and that helped me a lot for sure.
"For me it was fantastic, because losing two sets to one against the No 1 in the world, if the crowd doesn't cheer me, it's tough to come back.
"They helped me a lot to fight, to keep trying, keep going. Of course I'm sad now, but in couple of days I will see how big the match was."