Novak Djokovic raced to a fourth Wimbledon title and 13th career Grand Slam crown on Sunday when he defeated a battling but exhausted Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).
World number 21 Djokovic added the 2018 title to his wins in 2011, 2014 and 2015 as he became the lowest-ranked champion since Goran Ivanisevic in 2001.
It also took his Slam total to within one of Pete Sampras and just four behind the 17 of Rafael Nadal who he defeated in the semi-finals.
“It’s more special as it’s the first time I can hear my little boy say ‘daddy, daddy’,” said Djokovic whose son Stefan was up in the players box.
“I would like to congratulate Kevin, he had an incredible run. He had quite a few hours on the court.
“In his first Wimbledon final he didn’t play his best in the first two sets, but in the final set he was a better player and I was quite lucky to get through.”
This time last year, Djokovic’s career was in turmoil after he retired in the quarter-finals with an elbow injury which required surgery and forced him off the tour for the rest of the year.
“It’s easy to talk now. I had to really trust the process. I had to trust in myself,” he said.
“I had a surgery, faced for the first time this kind of severe injury. There were many moments of doubts.
“I didn’t know if I could come back to this level to compete.”
Anderson, the eighth seed, was the first South African in the final in 97 years and was bidding to become the first man from his country to be crowned Wimbledon champion.
However, he had spent 21 hours on court getting to the final and that marathon effort came back to haunt him at the worst possible time despite a late rally when he had five set points in the third set.
Victory was 31-year-old Djokovic’s first at the majors since he completed the career Grand Slam at Roland Garros in 2016.
It also came just a month after he threatened to skip Wimbledon after a quarter-loss exit in Paris and with his ranking at its lowest in over a decade.
Anderson had needed five sets and saved a match point to beat Roger Federer in the last-eight.