Novak Djokovic Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic, with a towel in hand, captivated the Centre Court crowd at Wimbledon on Monday as he wiped away moisture from the grass during a rain delay. This simple act symbolized his unwavering control over his opponents in the past five years at this prestigious tournament.
Novak Djokovic hasn’t dropped a game at Wimbledon since 2017. His victory over Pedro Cachin of Argentina in their first-round encounter on Monday extended his remarkable record to 29-0 over the last five Wimbledon tournaments. With four consecutive men’s singles titles already under his belt, he now stands on the brink of surpassing numerous legends in the history of tennis.
What is Djokovic Chasing in Wimbledon 2023?
If Djokovic secures a fifth consecutive title at the All England Club, he will have accomplished an extraordinary feat: winning the first three major trophies of 2023. This achievement would significantly enhance his chances of achieving a men’s Grand Slam, a feat only accomplished by Rod Laver in 1969. Djokovic would become just the third man to achieve this milestone, joining the elite company of Laver (1962 and 1969) and Don Budge (1938). On the women’s side, Maureen Connolly (1953), Margaret Court (1970), and Steffi Graf (1988) have also achieved the calendar-year Grand Slam.
Djokovic vs Federer
Furthermore, with eight titles between them, Djokovic and Roger Federer might tie for the most Wimbledon men’s singles victories. Having won five straight Wimbledon matches, he would also equal Bjorn Borg’s record for the most consecutive victories. In addition, Djokovic would equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 major titles, achieving this remarkable feat entirely within the Open era. It is worth noting that Court won 13 majors before 1968 when professionals were not allowed to compete in the Grand Slam tournaments.
As Djokovic walked onto Centre Court on Monday, he relished a moment that only a fortunate few have experienced. Wimbledon was the first tennis tournament Djokovic saw on television while growing up in Serbia, so it has a particular place in his heart. The allure of this prestigious event has never waned for him. Unlike his ritual of ingesting blades of grass upon winning titles on the red clay of Roland Garros, Djokovic saves this unique celebration exclusively for his triumphs on the grass courts of Wimbledon.
Conquering Grass: Djokovic’s Mastery of a Unique Surface
Emerging victorious on grass poses particular challenges, especially in an era when there are only a few tournaments played on this surface, and the season is short. Djokovic has significantly reduced his participation in grass warm-up tournaments. Grass courts offer distinct tactical nuances compared to clay and hardcourts, even with the current bouncier and faster conditions at Wimbledon.
For Djokovic, whose playing style involves sliding across hardcourts and clay to reach balls on wide angles and at the net, adapting to the grass courts at Wimbledon necessitated learning new movement techniques. He had to refine his footwork, his approach, and his ability to read the unpredictable bounces.
During his victory over Cachin, the grass became too slippery after a light rain fell towards the end of the first set. This unexpected challenge posed the toughest obstacle of the day for Djokovic. The match was temporarily halted, the court was covered with a tarp, and the roof was closed. Although grass courts typically dry off within half an hour, the persistent moisture caused an unusual delay of almost 90 minutes.
Djokovic’s Towel Tricks and Rain Delay Charms at Wimbledon
Throughout the delay, Djokovic won over the disappointed spectators by using his towel and engaging in light-hearted banter with them, as if he could single-handedly resolve the situation. Given his exceptional track record on Centre Court, where he has not suffered a defeat since 2013, it is no wonder that such confidence was anticipated from him.
Some observers wondered whether Djokovic’s good-natured demeanor indicated that, with his 23rd major title secured, he was now enjoying a more relaxed and jovial mindset. Djokovic dismissed this notion, emphasizing that he has always sought to find joy in specific circumstances where controlling external factors is impossible. He recalled similar light-hearted moments during rain delays in Paris and New York, highlighting his commitment to enjoying the sport.
After winning the French Open in June, Djokovic acknowledged that he was exhausted both mentally and physically. He traveled to Portugal’s Azores Islands with his wife, Jelena, where they enjoyed in leisure and hiking to renew themselves. Due to fog, their return flight was grounded, leading them to extend their stay by an extra day.
Absence of Kyrgios: Djokovic’s Path Free of Last Year’s Final Foe
Nick Kyrgios, Djokovic’s opponent in last year’s Wimbledon final, won’t be playing this year.
A scan revealed a ruptured ligament in Kyrgios’ wrist, forcing him to withdraw from the competition minutes before the tournament’s opening day. Kyrgios had surgery on his left knee in January. Prior to his announcement, Kyrgios highlighted the physical and strenuous nature of tennis, challenging anyone to experience a four-hour match against Djokovic and witness the toll it takes on the body.
Djokovic’s remarkable run since 2018 has erased any doubts about his dominance at Wimbledon and solidified his place among the tennis greats. All eyes will be on him as the match goes on, waiting with bated breath to see if he can further cement his name in tennis history.