Will Novak Djokovic get back to winning ways at the US Open?
It hasn’t gone to plan for Novak Djokovic this year. While he finally got his hands on a first French Open title at Roland Garros, the Serbian once again failed in his attempt to win all four major competitions in the same calendar year. In fact, Djokovic didn’t even come close at Wimbledon as he crashed out in embarrassing fashion against Sam Querrey in the third round.
But Djokovic has the perfect opportunity to bounce back and challenge for glory at the US Open later this year. On his day, the world number one is almost unbeatable and the hard court is without a doubt his favourite surface. While Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is maturing into a fine talent, Djokovic is still the greatest player on the planet and the Serbian will fancy his chances of notching yet another Grand Slam title.
Sam Querrey upset Novak Djokovic 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(5) in the third round of Wimbledon.
“It's incredible, especially to do it here at Wimbledon,” Querrey said. “I'm just so ecstatic.”
It's the first time Djokovic has lost at a Grand Slam championship since June 2015, when he fell to Stan Wawrinka in the Roland Garros final. The loss also snaps Djokovic's streak of 30 consecutive Grand Slam match wins, the best of the Open Era. Djokovic, who had won six of the past eight Grand Slam championships, hadn't lost this early at a Grand Slam since 2009 when he fell in the Roland Garros third round to Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Novak Djokovic talks to the media after his 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 win against Adrian Mannarino
Q. It was a tricky player to play today. What were your feelings on court against him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was a challenge to play Mannarino on grass because he has a very good game for this surface. The shots that he comes up with are very flat, and they bounce very low. He picks up the ball very early. Has a very good variety on his serve, slice that fades away from you.
You know, he's definitely not easy to play against on grass. As I said, it was a very good challenge for me at the right time. I think I came up with the best game when it was most needed in all three sets.
Q. That was your 30th consecutive victory in Grand Slams, which is a record for the Open era. Were you aware that would be a record before the match? Do these sorts of statistics mean much to you these days?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I have to be very grateful to have the opportunity to make history of the sport. Of course, every single record that I manage to achieve in last couple of years is important and is unique to me.
Every next one that I have a possibility to achieve is motivation more. That's how I look at it.
Novak Djokovic speaks to the media following his 6-0, 7-6(3), 6-4 win over James Ward
Q. How do you assess that? A rapid start, followed by perhaps a blip in the second set.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I honestly didn't expect myself to start that well. Nine games in a row, 6 0, 3 0. I think it was just a matter of time when James will win his first game. I knew that the reaction of the crowd, and his own reaction, will be the way it was.
Obviously him as a home player, you know, enjoyed a lot of support today, especially when he won his first game. That's when the energy kind of shifted on his side. He felt huge relief obviously winning the first game.
On the other hand I maybe dropped the concentration a little bit. Second set was quite close. Maybe could capitalize on some opportunities Love 3, Love 40.
But credit to him for serving well. I think that made the difference for him the second part of the second set. Also most of the third set in important moments he managed to hit some good angles with the first serves.
But, you know, the first part of the match was almost flawless, so I'm very pleased with the way I started Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic speaks to the media before the start of The Championships
Q. How do you change your mindset as the reigning champion of the French Open as compared to last year where you had to work your way into this tournament?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I'm always excited to be back in Wimbledon. It's been a tournament that I always dreamt of winning. Every time I come back here, even though of course each year is different, I kind of relive those memories from the childhood days when I was really imagining myself being part of this wonderful event and hopefully winning it one day. Even though I've been, you know, very blessed to achieve this childhood dream and win this tournament three times, I still feel that kind of excitement as I'm coming in for the first time. Of course, situation this year is quite different from previous years because I'm coming in with a Roland Garros title for the first time. That gives me, obviously, a lot of confidence prior to this event.
Q. How was the preparation for this Wimbledon? You didn't play any grass event. You had just one exhibition match at Boodles. Do you feel prepared?