Novak Djokovic responded to a double fault and a double-take Friday at Wimbledon by not responding.
In doing so, the Serbian champion showed just how far he has come during his reign as world No. 1.
The double fault came at one set apiece, four games apiece against Juan Martin del Potro. Serving at 15-love, with an opportunity to gain firm control over the match, he committed the cardinal sin of service games. Del Potro stared at Djokovic. Djokovic didn't so much as hang his head. Instead, he charged the net on the next point, dropping a deft half-volley on the grass for a winner.
The double-take occurred at an even more crucial moment. At 2-2 in the fourth set tiebreak, a del Potro shot appeared long. In the midst of the point, Djokovic called for the challenge. If he was wrong, he would lose the point. He was wrong. As before, there was no negativity from Novak. He fired an ace and just moved along.
These moments prompted BBC commentator John Lloyd to call the No. 1 seed "a man of substance." Fellow analyst Boris Becker described his play as "a live highlight show." Djokovic triumphed shortly after those comments, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-7(6), 6-3.
Those who know Nole's saga realize what this means. He is no longer a man of sorrows. No more does his head droop and his mouth gape. Emotional control and fortitude replaces hang-dog doldrums. Even as del Potro snatched the fourth set tiebreak, the commentators queried of Djokovic, "How is he going to respond to that?"
Simple. He didn't respond. He just won.