Djokovic sparks retirement fears as he targets Wimbledon glory – Reuters
Novak Djokovic will follow up his 21st Grand Slam victory on Sunday when he faces Australian brand Nick Kyrgios in the men’s Wimbledon final – but the Serbian great admits the pressure is on him to add more titles to his collection as his career in the top-level tennis begins to relax.
Djokovic can edge his longtime rival Roger Federer in the all-time Grand Slam stakes if he can continue his fine form in sunny London this weekend, but he says every tournament comes and goes, he says. the same goes for his chances of putting an unassailable lead atop the all-time Grand Slam list.
Spaniard Rafael Nadal currently leads with 22 – two more than the Serbian, who could conceivably equalize at the US Open later this year, provided he is cleared to play the event as a unvaccinated individual.
Djokovic was kicked out of Australia earlier this year ahead of the Australian Open after officials determined he was breaking the country’s Covid-19 rules.
« I don’t know how many more Grand Slam chances to win the trophy I will have, as I will have in a few dayssaid Djokovic, 35, of his confrontation with Kyrgios.
« I am aware of what is online. I mean, every game, every Grand Slam that I play at this stage of my career, there’s a lot at stake. So, of course, I approach it with a positive attitude, self-confidence and a will to win. . There is no doubt about it.
« How do you balance that? Well, it’s really subjective. Every player is different. I can’t and don’t want to talk about all the details and routines I have that make me feel well balanced and prepared. But there are things I do to prepare myself mentally, emotionally and physically.
Djokovic will be the undisputed favorite to claim another Grand Slam victory on center court at Wimbledon on Sunday, but at Kyrgios he faces an opponent who perfectly blends the sublime and the surreal on the court.
The Serb is a veteran though and hinted that he knows what to expect from Kyrgios and that he won’t fall victim to the Australian’s mind games which even affected Stefanos Tsitsipas in the previous rounds.
« On the pitch, a lot can happen, » he said. « There’s so much going on, pressure and expectations. Sometimes you are able to handle it better than your opponent; sometimes not.
« Every player who steps on the court must adapt, adapt and accept the circumstances and find solutions to win a tennis match. » he said.
« For me it’s probably on a different level because I have to deal with different things that are off the pitch as well, the crowd maybe on my opponents’ side most of the time.
« It’s something I’ve been used to throughout my career. The more you experience these kinds of situations, not the better you feel, but simply the more prepared you feel. You know what to expect. It’s always about managing your own nerves better than maybe your opponent is yours. This internal battle is still the biggest.”
That said, Djokovic seems confident he can withstand whatever Kyrgios throws at him this weekend – but if he is to claim what would be his seventh Wimbledon title, it probably won’t come without passing a test that all Kyrgios ‘ opponents have failed miserably so far.
And he won’t get many more opportunities either.
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