Boris Becker, the three-time Wimbledon champion who began coaching Djokovic this season, called the new champion "the biggest competitor" and praised "his sense of not giving up, giving it always another try."
"It could've gone either way in the fifth set," said Becker, whose former rival as a player, Stefan Edberg, coaches Federer. "Novak finds another way. He digs deep and finds another way."
Djokovic built a 5-2 lead in the fourth set and served for the championship at 5-3. But Federer broke there for the first time all afternoon, smacking a forehand winner as Djokovic slipped and fell on a patch of brown dirt.
Djokovic took a nastier tumble in the second set, hurting his left leg and prompting the first of two medical timeouts; he got his right calf massaged by a trainer in the fifth.
With Federer serving at 5-4 in the fourth, he double-faulted to 30-all, then netted a backhand for 30-40 — handing Djokovic a match point.
Federer hit a 118 mph (190 kph) serve that was called out, but he challenged the ruling, and the replay showed the ball touched a line for an ace. That was part of Federer's five-game run to force a fifth set. It would be another 42 minutes until Djokovic again stood so close to triumph.
"Can't believe I made it to five," Federer said. "Wasn't looking good there for a while."
In truth, after so much drama, the ending was anticlimactic. Trailing 5-4 but serving, Federer missed four groundstrokes, pushing a backhand into the net on Djokovic's second match point.
Victory his, Djokovic knelt on the most hallowed tennis court in the world, plucked a blade of grass and shoved it in his mouth, just as he did after his 2011 Wimbledon title. He dedicated this victory to his pregnant fiancee "and our future baby," and to Jelena Gencic, his first tennis coach, who died last year.
"This is the best tournament in the world, the most valuable one," Djokovic said. "The first tennis match that I ever (saw) in my life, when I was 5 years old, was Wimbledon, and that image stuck (in) my mind."
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