UNITED KINGDOM: Novak Djokovic celebrated his victory at Wimbledon by wiping off dew and clutching a towel, a gesture he has been consistently performing for the past five years. With a triumph over Pedro Cachin, Djokovic extended his winning streak to 29 matches, maintaining his flawless record. He has clinched the men’s singles championship for the past four years, and if he secures the title once again this year, he will surpass revered players in the annals of tennis history.
Djokovic is determined to accomplish the first men’s Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969 by triumphing in all three major championships of 2023. Joining the ranks of Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court, and Steffi Graf, he will become the third man to achieve this remarkable feat.
Novak Djokovic equaled Roger Federer’s record for Wimbledon men’s singles titles and matched Bjorn Borg’s consecutive victories. Moreover, he matched Court’s record of 24 major triumphs, becoming the sole player to achieve this feat exclusively during the Open era. Djokovic entered Centre Court armed with unparalleled experience.
As the reigning champion of Wimbledon, Djokovic describes the feeling of returning to the hallowed tournament after having watched it on television. Growing up in Serbia, Wimbledon was his inaugural tennis tournament, and it has always occupied a special place in his heart.
Djokovic has seized this allure by the reins, even going so far as to consume grass after clinching championships, in contrast to his previous triumphs at Roland Garros.
The scarcity of grass-court tournaments and the brevity of the grass-court season make winning on grass a daunting challenge. Consequently, Djokovic no longer participates in warm-up events. Despite the grass surface’s inherent bounciness and faster pace, it possesses distinct tactical elements that set it apart from clay and hardcourts. Djokovic exhibits a preference for horizontal movement on grass but has adeptly mastered the quick transition from clay to grass.
Djokovic encountered a formidable match against Cachin due to the slick grass and inclement weather. The match was temporarily halted by the retractable roof and tarp, with the courts typically drying within a span of 30 minutes. Despite the persistent moisture, both players and tournament organizers returned to a slippery surface on Monday. Djokovic had to adapt to the conditions, adjusting his movement, footing, playing style, and reading the unpredictable bounces.
Despite enduring a 90-minute wait on a court with a roof, Djokovic demonstrated his resourcefulness by engaging with the disgruntled onlookers and employing his towel.
Notably, since 2013, he has maintained an impeccable record on the court, not dropping a single set. Some have questioned whether his amiable disposition signifies a more carefree and joyous mindset following his successful defense of the men’s singles record, tying him with the 23rd major title holder.
Securing the 23rd Slam title does not mark a singularly momentous occasion for Djokovic. He revels in situations where he relinquishes control, such as weather delays in New York and Paris. After triumphing at the French Open, he and his wife Jelena embarked on a hiking expedition in Portugal’s Azores Islands, extending their stay due to the enveloping fog.
Djokovic experienced a gamut of emotions during the clay season, particularly after reaching the pinnacle in Paris. He felt the need for solitude and introspection. Unfortunately, Nick Kyrgios, who withdrew from Wimbledon due to a wrist ligament tear, will not be facing Djokovic this year. Kyrgios underwent surgery on his left knee in January and is currently in the rehabilitation phase.
Kyrgios underscored the physical demands of tennis, highlighting that people often underestimate its inherent difficulty. He challenged individuals to engage in a four-hour match against Novak Djokovic and assess their recovery thereafter. Djokovic’s impressive streak commenced in 2018.
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