Rafael Nadal vowed to take the fight to Novak Djokovic and warned the new world number one not to expect his golden spell to last forever.
Djokovic took his rightful place at the head of men's tennis this morning after yesterday defeating Nadal 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-3 to clinch his first Wimbledon title.
It capped a dream seven months for the Serb, which began with a first Davis Cup triumph last December and also included the Australian Open and four Masters Series titles.
Djokovic has won 50 of his last 51 matches, losing only to Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the French Open, and yesterday's victory was his fifth of the season against Nadal.
The Spaniard knows exactly how his rival is feeling after his stunning year in 2010, where he won three successive grand slams, completing his set with a US Open final triumph over Djokovic last September.
Nadal said: ‘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 aggressive. I have to have less mistakes. Yes, that's what I have to do.
‘I lost because I am playing against the best player of the moment, and I am the second. And when you play against these players and they are playing unbelievable, the normal thing is to lose. That's what happened the last few times.
‘My experience says this level is not forever. Even for me, when I was last year winning three grand slams, my level of last year is not forever. Probably the level of Novak is not forever.
‘I'm going to be here fighting all the time, waiting for my moment. I don't have to wait a lot, because I already won three tournaments this year and one grand slam. But waiting my moment to beat him another time.
‘I understand the sport like this. When one player is better than you, at this moment the only thing you can do is work, try to find solutions, and try to wait a little bit for your time.
‘The last five times wasn't my time. I'm going to wait and I'm going to try to win the sixth time. And if the sixth doesn't happen, to the seventh. It's going to be like this. That's the spirit of the sport.’
Djokovic has certainly had to wait for his moment to break the monopoly of Nadal and Federer, who prior to this season had won 21 of the previous 23 grand slam titles.
Djokovic, with his Australian Open victory of 2008, and 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro were the only other men to prevail, but it was a challenge that made the Serb the player and the competitor that he is today.
He said: ‘Sometimes it did feel a little bit frustrating when you get to the later stages of a grand slam and then you have to meet them. They always come up with their best tennis when it matters the most.
‘But it's a process of learning, a process of developing and improving as a tennis player, as a person, and just finding the way to mentally overcome those pressures and expectations and issues that you have.
‘I always believed that I have the quality to beat those two guys. I always believed I have the quality to win grand slams, and that was the only way I could be here in this position.
‘I have full respect for those two guys, what they have done. Any time I play them, it's a great match. But the mental approach has to be positive - I have to win this match. There's no other way.’
And, having worked so hard to get to this position, Djokovic is hungry for more.
He added: ‘I will definitely come for some more Wimbledons, more grand slam trophies. This is what I'm born for. I want to be a tennis champion. I want to win more grand slams.
‘I will definitely not stop here, even though I have achieved the two biggest things in my life in three days.’