"I barely slept on Friday night", he said.
"Seeing the doctors, seeing the podiatrist for my feet".
"I really worked hard, and came within a point of pushing us to the fourth set". "He's a true champion in the sport so congratulations to him and his team".
Just his earning a random point, even via a Djokovic miscue, was reason to roar, it seemed. "That was the goal", he said.
During that time, he struggled with the first major injury of his professional career, one that forced him off the tour for the last half of 2017.
"So seeing that I made top five, I'm incredibly proud of that achievement, especially if I look back where I was just 15 months ago, around No. 80".
"I hope this is a sign for Grand Slams to change".
"The main thing is if I look at the improvements I'm making, I feel like it's getting better". What it will do though, now that he is firmly back from the beyond, is to ensure that everyone regards him as a serious contender - starting with the U.S. Open in August.
"If you asked me this time a year ago, I don't think I could sit here and say I really believe that I can win a Grand Slam".
"My body didn't feel great". "I have a lot of belief I can put myself into another one of these matches, and hopefully have the result that I'm looking for".
"If you told me six months ago I would be in the Wimbledon final, I would take it right away", said Djokovic, who started playing tennis when he was four before leaving for Germany when he was 12 to escape the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bombs ripping Belgrade apart.
At No. 21, Djokovic is the lowest-ranked Wimbledon titlist since Goran Ivanisevic in 2001.
The fifth set alone lasted 91 minutes before Nadal finally buckled and a rejuvenated Djokovic advanced to his first Grand Slam final for two years in which he will be favourite against South African eighth seed Kevin Anderson.
The last men's semifinal to be finished on Saturday was in 2007, also between Nadal and Djokovic.
The 32-year-old Anderson is the first South African man to reach the Wimbledon final for 97 years.
Perhaps unsurprisingly after Anderson spent 21 hours on court just to get to the final, it nearly wasn't necessary for Djokovic to go the extra mile.
Djokovic broke early again and was unthreatened on serve until he was serving for the set at 5-2. It also was just the second time in the Open era that both men's semifinals at Wimbledon went to five sets. Anderson advanced Friday with a 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24 victory over John Isner - a match that took 6 hours, 36 minutes to play, a record for a Wimbledon semifinal. "Until the last shot I didn't know if I was going to win".
Having arrived in the final with 172 aces to his name, he managed just 10 on Sunday. But he would go on to double fault three times in the game, riding out the challenge with an interesting mix of cleverness, chance and chutzpah.
Djokovic's rediscovered warrior spirit averted a crisis at 7-7 when he saved three break points, the third with an angled forehand victor past the net-charging Nadal.
The second set followed, Djokovic again breaking in the first and fifth games and fighting off the only break point he faced in the eighth game. We're out there playing for seven hours.
In the 2015 French Open semi-finals, he was castigated for taking an eight-minute medical time-out after dropping the third set against Andy Murray.