'Novak Djokovic will never catch up...', says expert



by   |  VIEW 2506

'Novak Djokovic will never catch up...', says expert

The sun is shining brightly for Thanasi Kokkinakis on a rain-interrupted first day of Wimbledon 2022. It was a triumphant day for the Australian, and another of his compatriots nearly climbed the mountain at the same time. Kokkinakis and Max Purcell shared the court, albeit on opposite sides of the net in this year's Australian Open men's doubles final, with both chasing their first Wimbledon singles victory today.

Kokkinakis battled through a tight first set, before taking control to defeat Poland's Kamil Majchrzak 7-6(5) 6-2 7-5. This is Kokkinakis' first main draw victory at Wimbledon, where he last appeared in the main draw in 2017.

The Australian Open men's doubles champion hit 17 aces against four and won 80 per cent of first serve points in a polished display of ball striking. He hit 53-for-33 winners and rallied after an early break in the third set to break twice himself and close it out in straight sets.

This is Kokkinakis' seventh victory in a Grand Slam singles match, and only the third in the last seven years interrupted by injuries. World No. 79 Kokkinakis now faces three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic, who prevailed in four sets today against Korea's Soonwoo Kwon.

For Purcell, this had already been a day of firsts, qualifying for his first main draw, playing his first five-set match and nearly winning his first Grand Slam singles match. The plucky Aussie rallied from a two-set deficit to push through a fifth set with French veteran Adrian Mannarino.

Purcell created six break chances in the final set but failed to convert any, with Mannarino converting his first match point to prevail 6-3 7-6(0) 4-6 4-6 6-4.

Djokovic started well

John Lloyd, who was once the husband of Chris Evert, and who was also 21st in the world at the end of the 1970s, is a consultant for our English colleagues at Tennis365.

He has developed a “theory” around the popularity of Novak Djokovic which is not uninteresting. “Novak may have been unlucky to live his career alongside Nadal and Federer. They have a popularity with the fans and the press that he doesn't have and I also think he was treated quite badly, certainly by the spectators and also the media.

I think like Jimmy Connors, Novak will be better treated and understood when his career is over, when we realize that he will soon be leaving the circuit. I think there may be the same phenomenon as with John McEnroe who became a bigger star after his career thanks to his various activities in the media and in advertising. While some hated it before, they love it now."