Sports

Novak Djokovic responds to Wimbledon Centre Court reception after rollercoaster year


Novak Djokovic was made to work hard for his first-round win at Wimbledon on Monday, eventually overcoming South Korean Kwon Soon-woo in four sets on Centre Court

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

Tennis fans from all over the world queue overnight to get Wimbledon tickets

Nervy Novak Djokovic survived a scare as Wimbledon welcomed the Serb back with open arms.

Deported from the Australian Open in January after refusing a Covid jab, Djokovic became public enemy number one in the eyes of many.

But the defending Wimbledon champion, ranked third in the world, was cheered warmly on to Centre Court to face South Korean Kwon Soon-woo.

And the Serbian superstar ended up becoming the first player ever to win 80 matches in all four major Grand Slam tournaments after gutting out a tough 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory. Asked about his reception Djokovic, who lacked intensity and suffered a fall in the third set, said: “I was very pleasantly surprised. I felt support.

“I thought they were very fair to me. I enjoyed my time very much on the court. Actually playing an official match, nerves kick in.

“Early rounds, your opponents don’t have much to lose so they’re going to go for it more, believing they can get the scalp. I did not have any preparation matches prior to Wimbledon. It’s always going to be a bit rusty I think the first couple matches for me.”

Top seed and tournament favourite Djokovic is bidding to match Pete Sampras with seven Wimbledon titles – and join a select few to win four in a row.

In the Open era, only Bjorn Borg, Sampras and Roger Federer have ever managed that. But Djokovic still refuses to get jabbed, a stance that means he will be unable to play at the US Open in August as things stand.







Novak Djokovic acknowledges the Centre Court crowd after his first-round Wimbledon win
(

Image:

REUTERS)

That will make it much tougher for the 35-year-old to ever beat big rival Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 major singles titles.

Djokovic said: “I’ve experienced something I’ve never experienced in my life in Australia. This post-Australian period of several months was challenging emotionally for me.

“In terms of my motivation on the court, trying to win more titles and be one of the contenders for more Grand Slams, it hasn’t changed much.

“The sensation coming back on the court with everything that happened post-Australia, particularly first few tournaments, was different. Not very pleasant to me.

“Right now I don’t feel the traces of that any more. I move on. I try to make the most out of the experience.”







Djokovic said the Centre Court crowd were ‘very fair’ to him
(

Image:

REUTERS)

Djokovic made 29 unforced errors against Kwon, who has only won three matches since March and has never been ranked higher than 52 in the world.

And the Korean broke his serve in the third game of the match before Djokovic won five games in a row to take the first set.

The match was then delayed as a spectator needed emergency medical attention, and when it resumed Djokovic blew three break points to let Kwon take the second set.

But he won the third with an ace before closing out the match to set up a second round clash with Australian Thanasi Kokkinasis as he bids to stretch his Wimbledon winning streak to 23 matches.

Read More

Read More





READ SOURCE

See also  Football: Ramsey and Watkins give Villa 2-0 win at Norwich