Wimbledon, England:Lower back pain, tennis shoes without traction and a feisty opponent were no match for Novak Djokovic.
The fourth-seeded Serb reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon for the first time on Thursday, stumbling and tumbling on the grass court before beating 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt 7-6 (8), 7-6 (2), 4-6, 7-6 (5) in the fourth round.
"I did some slipping, sliding, whatever," said Djokovic, a French Open semifinalist. "So it was a bit dangerous. I can say that I was supposed to change my shoes ... I'll take care for next time."
Djokovic fell to his knees after winning, then got up, took off his shirt and pounded his chest with his fist while looking at his parents, who were hugging and cheering in the players' box.
"It was one of the best matches in this year's Wimbledon," Djokovic said. "So this win means a lot to me. It's probably (the) most valuable win I ever had on this surface."
Djokovic, who saved two set points in the first-set tiebreaker, broke Hewitt when the Australian was serving for the fourth set at 5-4. That led to another tiebreaker.
"It's pretty interesting how many tiebreaks I won in my career and how many I lost," said Djokovic, who has won 45 of 61 tiebreakers in his three years on tour. "I have much more success in tiebreaks, which is very encouraging and positive thing for me, considering the fact I'm only 20 years old."
Djokovic, who was twice treated during the match for a right lower back problem, received a boost on his serve on the first point of the fourth-set tiebreaker when he successfully challenged his forehand being called long. From that point, he took a 4-0 lead and eventually held three match points at 6-3.