It was 2013, the final time Novak Djokovic misplaced on Centre Courtroom, 35 matches in the past now. Andy Murray was the victor that day and Friday’s opponent, Miomir Kecmanovic, was by no means going to emulate him.
For a begin he is 22 and ranked 25. Extra importantly, he is Serbian. So taking part in Djokovic shouldn’t be like dealing with simply any good participant. What was it Jose Mourinho mentioned about his standing at Porto? ‘God, and after God, me.’
That is Djokovic in Serbia. Perhaps a bit nearer. Perhaps it is a tie; or Djokovic bests God by a nostril. Both manner, for Kecmanovic to have been standing throughout the Centre Courtroom internet from the best residing Serbian should have been intimidating past phrases.
Novak Djokovic is thru to the fourth spherical of Wimbledon after beating Miomir Kecmanović
The 35-year-old famous person gained 6-0 6-3 6-4 as he pursues a seventh British Grand Slam title
However Djokovic is not a nasty man. He did not depart his younger countryman humiliated or in disaster.. He wasn’t informal or disrespectful. He performed his recreation. He gained the primary set 6-0 to indicate that he meant enterprise and solely in the direction of the top did he get just a little comfortable.
Tennis has a busy Integrity Unit so we’ve to watch out with our phrases right here but when this was a boxing match one would possibly argue the superior fighter was being sort to his opponent, propping him up just a little. He knew he may end this any time he needed.
He did so at 6-4. Shut sufficient to let the younger man off courtroom with pleasure and confidence intact; not so near pose a real hazard to Grand Slam quantity 21. Having taken three factors off Djokovic’s final six service video games, Kecmanovic instantly broke him for the primary time, then held serve.
From serving for the match 5-2 up, Djokovic now led 5-4. That was sufficient: he gained the ultimate 4 factors, bent down, touched the turf, then positioned a hand on his coronary heart. As properly he would possibly. It is a particular place for him.
There are solely three gamers who’ve gained 4 consecutive males’s singles titles at Wimbledon within the open period: Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. Djokovic is aiming to turn into the fourth and to date, so good.
Fellow Serbian Kecmanovic put up a valiant effort towards the present World No 3 however misplaced out
He seems in nice nick, is transferring properly and taking part in some gorgeous pictures. Even with out the intimidation issue there have been moments when Kecmanovic regarded completely misplaced earlier than the arsenal he was dealing with.
To win the second set, Djokovic performed a lob so excellent and bamboozling that Kecmanovic was heading in the direction of his chair earlier than it had even landed. There have been very many pictures like that. Passes, deliciously positioned crosscourt forehands, drops, volleys, a barrage of winners that might have examined one of the best right here – people who Djokovic should overcome in week two.
So, for Kecmanovic, it wasn’t identical to attempting to beat The Queen. It might be like attempting to beat The Queen if she was actually, actually distinctive at tennis, and within the type of her life.
Djokovic was 40-0 up in his first service recreation when the sound of crashing bottles interrupted his focus with the ball mid-air. He supplied up a double fault, however gained the subsequent level. His second service recreation, nonetheless, gave Kecmanovic three break factors – together with one on the finish of a 17 shot rally – at which level the champion received critical.
There was all the time the likelihood that by treating his opponent with child gloves, Djokovic may fall right into a entice, or at the very least a slumber. Going 0-40 down acted as a glass of chilly water to the face. Djokovic awakened, saved the three break factors, then took the subsequent 5 for good measure. He by no means regarded again in that first set, profitable it to like.
Djokovic has seen his younger opponent coming by and is aware of he can’t be taken as a right. He can hit, little doubt of that. Within the second set, with Djokovic main 2-1 and the sport tied 30-30 on Kecmanovic’s serve – so fairly essential – the pair shared a punishing 31 shot rally that led to Kecmanovic’s favour.
Djokovic will subsequent tackle Dutch wild card Tim van Rijthoven, who he has by no means performed earlier than
On events, Djokovic would acknowledge good play from his opponent, tapping his palm towards his racket in applause. Not that point. A variety of exertion goes right into a 31 shot rally. Djokovic was too misplaced within the second for pleasantries.
‘I do know Miomir properly,’ mentioned Djokovic. ‘We practice quite a bit each coming from Serbia however grass shouldn’t be his floor. I want him all one of the best and hopefully he’ll get to play on Centre Courtroom on the massive tournaments increasingly.
‘I assumed I began properly with numerous depth and focus and saved that up for many of the recreation. I believe I’ve been taking part in higher and higher because the event progresses which is one thing you all the time want for. You wish to elevate the extent of tennis up a notch every match and that is what’s taking place.’
This might make life troublesome for his subsequent opponent, Tim van Rijthoven of Holland. Djokovic might not know him – they’ve by no means performed – however he is aware of his coach Igor Sijsling, a Serbian modern, who he grew up taking part in towards.
Initially of June, van Rijthoven had by no means gained a match on the ATP Tour and was exterior the world’s prime 200. Since then, he is gained eight matches straight, together with 5 towards prime 30 opponents, and can most likely be Djokovic’s thirty sixth successive Centre Courtroom sufferer on Sunday.
One would possibly assume that might make the present champion unpopular, given his generally troublesome relationship with the general public. Not within the least. Even right here, whereas Kecmanovic loved the backing underdogs all the time obtain – significantly people who lose the primary seven video games of the match earlier than pluckily saving a break level and holding serve – Djokovic was by no means forged because the villain of the piece.
He received at the very least as a lot applause because the ball woman who efficiently chased a small fowl off courtroom within the third set.