Tennis Prose




Jun/21

8

Does Djokovic Have The 2021 Wimbledon Title All Sewn Up?

When it comes to this year’s Championships at Wimbledon, it’s hard to look beyond Novak Djokovic for the title. Before the event’s cancellation last year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Djokovic was beginning to establish his dominance on grass, winning the event in both 2018 and 2019. With the tournament set to return this year, Djokovic is listed as the favourite in the Wimbledon 2021 betting odds, and he’ll certainly take some stopping.

The Serb is a man on a mission in 2021, eager to make up for the chaotic year that was 2020. Having won the Australian Open last year, Djokovic’s season soon spiralled out of control, with numerous controversial coronavirus-related mishaps creating negative headlines, followed by his disqualification from the US Open for accidentally hitting a line-judge with a ball, a meek performance in losing the French Open final to Rafael Nadal, and defeat in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals.

This year started on the same note as last year, with Djokovic reigning supreme at the Australian Open, and now the 34-year-old will be hoping for a calmer, more easy-going 2020. The return of Wimbledon to the calendar gives him something to focus on, and he’ll be doing everything he can to make it a hat-trick of successive titles at the London-based tournament.

“I always try to imagine myself as a winner. I think there is a power to that,” Djokovic said after beating Roger Federer in that dramatic Wimbledon final in 2019. “Also there has to be, next to the willpower, strength that comes not just from your physical self, but from your mental and emotional self. For me, at least, it’s a constant battle within, more than what happens outside. It’s really not the situations that you experience that are affecting you, but how you internally experience those situations, how you accept them, how you live through them.”

Those words are perhaps all the more significant given how Djokovic has struggled with the demands put upon players by the global pandemic. He has railed against quarantine measures imposed by tournament organisers, held events in spite of guidance not to, and most importantly, struggled to find his best form in the latter part of 2020, where he needed it most.

For Djokovic, 2021 is about rediscovering the slick winning machine that claims Grand Slam titles for fun, and Wimbledon will be a test of whether he has finally shaken off the various difficulties of the last 12 months or so. It’s a tournament he will be expected to win, given his record there in the past, and if he shows up with the right mindset and correct attitude, he’ll be extremely difficult to stop.

Centre Court at Wimbledon.

The underlying motivation for Djokovic is to become the man with the most Grand Slam titles. With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both tied on 20, the Serb finds himself on 18. There is an opportunity to overtake both men if he can find the willpower and strength of character to win all four Grand Slams in one season, a feat he has never quite achieved, though he has held all four titles at one time.

The return of Wimbledon could equally represent the return of the old Djokovic, who made winning look so easy. If he finds his feet early on the pristine grass courts, and gets into the same groove that has helped him win five Wimbledon titles in the past, his challengers will have a hard time keeping pace.

Players who can threaten to dethrone Djokovic as reigning King of Wimbledon include: Andrey Rublev, Roger Federer, Andrei Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Rafael Nadal, Karen Khachanov, Andy Murray, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori, and John Isner.

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4 comments

  • Sam · June 8, 2021 at 2:16 pm

    Grass is slippery, so who knows? 😉

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Djokovic win it, though. Or if not him, then someone outside the Big 3.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 8, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Djokovic will be super tough to beat but nothing is won on paper. Musetti looks like can be a dangerous grass courter and so too is Tsitsipas. If Federer can repeat what he did in 2019 he can win too.

  • Sam · June 16, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    “If Federer can repeat what he did in 2019 he can win too.”

    Well, Scoop, after today’s defeat, somehow I don’t see that happenin’. 😉

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 16, 2021 at 7:09 pm

    Yes, it’s over for Federer. He’s lost the edge, the aura, the fraction of speed, agility and confidence. He can’t finish matches like he used to either. No chance whatsoever to win one more major.

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