Novak Djokovic vows to bounce back at Wimbledon following defeat to Rafael Nadal at French Open

The world number one lost in the semi-finals at Roland Garros

When you are a winner, finishing just short is no consolation.

Novak Djokovic is such an individual, having won seven grand slams in what is a golden age for men's tennis.

Still only 26, he collected a fourth Australian Open crown earlier this year and so far only one grand slam has so far eluded him, the French Open.

Last year he lost a rain-affected final to Rafael Nadal, who would once again prove the scourge of Djokovic this time around.

In what was possibly the best of their 35 meetings, this year's semi-final swung from Nadal to Djokovic before the Spaniard finally secured a remarkable five-set victory after four hours and 37 minutes of jaw-dropping play.

"It's been an unbelievable match to be part of, but all I can feel now is disappointment," Djokovic said afterwards.

"I congratulate my opponent, because he showed the courage in the right moments and went for his shots and when he was a break down in the fifth he made some incredible shots from the baseline.

"That's why he's a champion. That's why he's been ruling Roland Garros for many years, and for me it's another year."

Nadal lived up to his "champion" title by going onto win an unprecedented eighth French Open crown against David Ferrer, leaving Djokovic to plot revenge at the first available opportunity: Wimbledon.

"It's not the first (and) it's not the last loss in my career against this particular player," the Serbian said.

"I wanted this title so much, so I am disappointed. That's it. That's the way I feel.

"I don't think it's going take the toll on me in the future because I have been in these particular situations before.

"So hopefully I can use this next period that is coming up to recover, mentally get motivated and get inspired again to play my best tennis in Wimbledon."

Djokovic heads to the All England Club as bookmakers' favourite to retain the title he won in style against old foe Nadal in 2011.

The Spaniard is unable to dominate in south west London like he does on the clay at Roland Garros. In fact, nobody has been able to in recent years.

The last three editions have involved five different finalists and seen separate winners each time - Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer.

All three are amongst the front runners for this year's crown, as is home favourite Andy Murray and French Open finalist Ferrer.

It is Djokovic that leads the chase, though, highlighting his incredible rise over recent years.

Just two years after winning the 2008 Australian Open, people had begun questioning whether the then 22-year-old's best days were already behind him.

How wrong they were. Belief, drive and the masterstroke of switching to a gluten-free diet have helped Djokovic rise to the top of the men's game.

The Davis Cup and six grand slams have all come his way as broke the duopoly Federer and Nadal enjoyed at the top of the men's game.

Djokovic now heads to Wimbledon top of the world standings and, with the finest backhand there is and incredible return game, you would not put it past him adding to his impressive trophy cabinet this summer.

PA

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

Escape from Everest base camp

Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

Gossip girl comes of age

Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

Goat cuisine

It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls