Less than a month after casting doubt over his participation at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic is heading for the tournament as a genuine title contender.
Despite coming up just short in a 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 loss to Marin Cilic in the Queen's Club final on Sunday, Djokovic produced one of his best performances since missing the second half of 2017 with an elbow injury.
Cilic saved a match point at 4-5 in the second set and then won six consecutive points from 4-1 down in the tiebreaker to level, before going on to win his second title at the Wimbledon warm-up.
Djokovic was left in far more optimistic mood than when he came off the court after a French Open quarter-final defeat to Marco Cecchinato on June 5.
"Well, I'm there," said Djokovic, when asked if he's back to top form.
"All in all, I think that the level of my tennis has been as good as it has been the last 12 months."
After struggling through the first half of 2017, with his only titles coming at smaller events in Doha and Eastbourne, the 12-time grand slam champion took six months off following Wimbledon due to a right elbow injury.
A fourth-round exit at the Australian Open on his return was followed by early defeats at Indian Wells and Miami. There were signs of improvement on clay as Djokovic reached the semi-finals in Rome, but his ranking dropped to 22 following a crushing defeat to the unseeded Cecchinato in Paris.
Despite a tough draw on the grass courts of Queen's Club, Djokovic reached the final without dropping a set.
"I think that most importantly for him he showed consistent level of play during all week, even against (Grigor) Dimitrov, even yesterday against (Jeremy) Chardy. Today he was serving great," Cilic said of Djokovic.
"So definitely he's going to be one of the contenders to win (Wimbledon). Looking from the side and also playing him ... I feel that he's playing great tennis."
Djokovic though was quick to downplay such optimism.
"I wouldn't say I'm a contender ... for a trophy or anything like that," Djokovic said, basing that view on his results for the last 12 months. "I have to keep my expectations, you know, very low."