Australian tennis player Thanasi Kokkinakis says Novak Djokovic's movement on grass is one of the biggest reasons behind the Serb's success on the surface as he admits an extremely tough test is ahead of him. On Monday, Kokkinakis defeated Kamil Majchrzak 7-6 (5) 6-2 7-5 in the Wimbledon first round.
Next up for Kokkinakis will be a career-second meeting versus Djokovic. Djokovic is a six-time Wimbledon champion and he has won the tournament's past three editions. “Novak, the thing that separates him is he moves so well, especially on the grass as well," Kokkinakis said, per Sportskeeda.
"That’s, for me, the biggest challenge on grass. It feels like he slides out there, and he can cover sort of defensive balls on grass that not many people can."
Kokkinakis on what he will have to do versus Djokovic
"I’m going to have to hit one, two, three, four, five, which almost normally would be winners against other players to just kind of have a chance of winning the point.
It’s going to be good fun out there and I’m going to swing free hopefully and play my game. He’s a brick wall, so you have got to beat him. He’s not going to beat himself. So that’s going to be fun," Kokkinakis explained.
Kokkinakis and Djokovic will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they meet at Wimbledon. Seven years ago, Djokovic and Kokkinakis clashed at the French Open. Back then, Djokovic claimed a straight-set win over Kokkinakis.
Grass is a surface where Kokkinakis should have more chances against Djokovic. However, Djokovic is still the absolute favorite to beat Kokkinakis and progress into the Wimbledon third round. Kokkinakis started his campaign with a straight-set win and that has certainly lifted his confidence. It remains to be seen if Kokkinakis can produce a major upset and beat Djokovic.