Tennis

From clay, the focus now shifts to grass for Djokovic

History beckons: Djokovic will target his 20th Major when Wimbledon begins next week.  

Novak Djokovic is targeting a record-equalling 20th Major and sixth Wimbledon title from next week, edging him closer to becoming only the third man to complete a calendar Grand Slam.

The World No. 1 has already won a ninth Australian Open and second French Open this season.

That has put him halfway to emulating Don Budge (1937) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) in sweeping all four majors in the same year.

It is a feat that even his closest rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have never managed and will probably never achieve.

“Everything is possible,” said 34-year-old Djokovic after winning the French Open earlier this month when asked if the Golden Slam of all four majors and Olympic Games gold was a realistic target.

“I’ve achieved some things that a lot of people thought would be not possible for me to achieve.”

Djokovic memorably captured a fifth Wimbledon in 2019, saving two championship points to defeat Federer in the longest-ever final at the All England Club at four hours and 57 minutes.

He was deprived of defending his title in 2020 when Wimbledon was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Djokovic has won seven of the last 11 Slams as he ramps up his assault on the record of 20 Majors held jointly by Federer and Nadal.

Nadal, the Wimbledon champion in 2008 and 2010, has already withdrawn from this year’s tournament.

Eight-time winner Federer, meanwhile, will be 40 in August and won just one match on grass at Halle in the build-up to Wimbledon.

The Swiss star has lost three finals to Djokovic at the All England Club in 2014, 2015 and the epic 2019 clash.

“It’s a huge challenge for me,” said Federer of his comeback.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 12:08:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/from-clay-the-focus-now-shifts-to-grass-for-djokovic/article34917029.ece

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