Serbia's Novak Djokovic (second from left) and Jelena Jankovic (right) pose for a selfie with junior players, at the Wimbledon yesterday. (Reuters)
Novak Djokovic will carry his bid for a second straight Wimbledon title into the second week today as he faces the big serve of South African Kevin Anderson after Wimbledon’s traditional middle Sunday off.
So far, the top seed from Serbia has been on song with his game, advancing into the fourth round without either the loss of a set or a serious test on the lawns of the All England Club.
Slow and steady is the way Djokovic likes it as he regains much needed confidence after a beating in the Roland Garros final at the hands of Stan Wawrinka.
“I’m trying to build my game in general, every stroke is getting better each match,” said the 28-year-old who is coached by Wimbledon resident Boris Becker. “That is something that is obviously very encouraging to see.”
Djokovic, who claimed top honours in 2011 and a year ago—when he beat Roger Federer in a dramatic fifth set—called himself “pleased” with his performance so far.
“The second week is obviously always more challenging, more difficult than the first, but I’m ready for it now. I have two days. I’m going to work on the court, get myself recovered and ready for a challenge that is presented in the second week,” he said.
Djokovic is wary of the danger Anderson poses, but has beaten the 14th seed in four of five meetings, including a Wimbledon second round four years ago.
“He’s another big server, someone in a great form. He’s probably playing the tennis of his life. He’s improved his movement and his game from the baseline. He always had a very good serve,” Djokovic said. “It will be a match of very small margins that will be decided by a few points. I’ll try to mix up the pace, and hopefully I’ll be on the high level against Kevin.”
Wawrinka, chasing his second straight grand slam title after winning Paris a month ago, takes a 2-0 record into his match with 16th seed David Goffin.
The fourth-seeded Swiss reached the quarter-finals a year ago, his best showing in London.
“For sure, confidence is there,” said Wawrinka, winner of two of the last six grand slams, the other being the 2014 Australian Open.
“I’m focused every match and I’m happy to be in second week. But I didn’t arrive here saying I have to do second week. I’m playing match after match. I know what I can do, how well I can play, and hopefully I can still win some more.
“The season is really short on grass. If you do one bad match, you’re already out of the tournament and you don’t have many other opportunity to play well.
“I’m in the second week playing good, not playing my best tennis, but playing good and still there. I’m feeling strong on the court, hopefully I can play some great match on Monday.”
Compatriot Roger Federer, seeded third, is bidding for history as he chases a record eighth title which would only add lustre to his gold-plated reputation as arguably the best to ever play the game.
The second seed lost his first set of the week against Australian Sam Groth and will now line up against Spain’s Roberto Bautisa Agut.
“He’s not a typical Spaniards, he plays flat shot and that might help him on grass,” Federer said.
“The first week was good, I’m very happy, It was hot so I’m glad I didn’t have any long four or five-setters. I’ll focus now on the matches going forward.”
Andy Murray will continue his quest to become the first British man to win multiple Wimbledon titles since Fred Perry, who won three titles between 1934 and 1936. The 2013 champion next faces the huge serve of Ivo Karlovic.
“He will come to the net a lot,” said Murray. “He’s served more than 40 aces in a couple of his matches. Returns turns must be on if I’m to get through.”
Serena Williams has taken her place as expected at the top of the women’s draw, but will be facing her elder sister Venus in the fight to reach the quarter-finals.
“It’s unfortunate that it’s so soon,” said the five-time Wimbledon winner. “But we’re going to do the best that we can.
“She’s my sister today, my sister next week, my sister next year. I think that’s a little more important than a match. We’ll leave everything out on the court. When it’s done, we’ll go back to regular life,” added the player who needs the victory to keep alive her goal of trying to earn a calendar-year grand slam title sweep.
Third seed Maria Sharapova, whose Wimbledon title came as a teenager in 2004, takes on 34th-ranked Kazakh outsider Zarina Diyas, with the Russian battling to escape a relative slump after ending her run in the fourth round in two of the past three editions.
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