(CNN) -- Newly-crowned Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic has given credit to rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the form that has seen him claim two grand slam titles in 2011 and reach the top of the world rankings.
Djokovic, 24, defeated the Spaniard Nadal 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-3 on Sunday to clinch his first title at the All England Club and improve on his record of just one defeat in 49 matches this year.
The Serb hailed Nadal and 16-time time major winner Federer -- the player who inflicted Djokovic's only defeat of 2011 in the last four of the French Open -- as two of the finest players of all time, and said the challenge of facing the once-dominant duo has helped him to improve.
"They are definitely two out of five of the greatest players ever," the Australian Open champion told CNN. "But they have made me improve; they have made me a better player.
"I think I can give credit to them for my improvement as well, because I've played so many matches against Federer and Nadal, especially at the big tournaments, big matches, big stages. I was losing most of those big matches, but now it has turned around, because I started believing I could win."
A semifinal victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ensured Djokovic would usurp 10-time grand slam champion Nadal at the top of the world rankings, a feat the 2010 Davis Cup winner said he always knew he was capable of.
"At the start of 2011 if somebody told me already the day after Wimbledon I would be number one and a two grand slam champion [I would not have believed them], this year it's incredible.
"I mean, I always believed I could play well and win majors. I feel much better on the court, I know what to do and I take my chances when they are presented."
Djokovic's triumph was the first time since Lleyton Hewitt defeated David Nalbandian in 2002 that someone other than the 25-year-old Nadal or Switzerland's Federer had clinched the men's singles title.
Djokovic was confirmed as the first Serb to sit at the top of the men's game when the official ATP world rankings were released on Monday.
His placement at the summit of the list ended Nadal -- who is now second -- and third-placed Federer's seven-year stranglehold on the number one spot.
The last player outside of the pair to reach the top of the sport was American Andy Roddick in January 2004.
In the women's rankings compiled by the WTA, Carolina Wozniacki of Denmark held onto the number spot despite crashing out of Wimbledon before the quarterfinals.
Newly-crowned champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic rose one place to seventh while her predecessor Serena Williams crashed 150 places to 175th -- her lowest position since 1997 -- after an injury-plagued year.