When Federer got his first break-point opportunity -- more than 90 minutes into the match -- Djokovic responded with a 119 mph body serve that hit the back line of the box and forced Federer to hit a wide forehand. At deuce, the Serb ripped a 125 mph ace down the middle. On set point, he outmaneuvered Federer and his second overhead found the open court.
Federer was broken in the fourth game of the fourth set but stirred up the crowd -- and himself -- when he broke Djokovic right back. And then Djokovic broke him, fatally, again for a 5-2 lead. Or so it appeared.
But Federer ran off in a championship flurry and won the last five games of the set. And the match was level.
There were some scattered whispers that this might be Federer's farewell performance at Wimbledon, but he quashed those at the end of his on-court interview when he told the fans, "See you next year."
Later, Federer said nothing was guaranteed.
"You could have asked me the same thing in 2003," Federer said, referring to his first Wimbledon title. "You don't know. Totally the unknown.
"I'm very happy to see that with feeling normal I can produce a performance like I did the last two weeks. That clearly makes me believe that this was just a steppingstone to many more great things in the future."
Said Djokovic, "In the important moments, he come up with his best shots. After dropping a fourth set, it wasn't easy to regroup.
"This is the tournament that I always dreamed of winning. This is the first tennis match that I ever [saw] in my life, when I was 5 years old. That image stuck in my mind. I'm so grateful for this opportunity and to hold this trophy."