Novak Djokovic admits: 'I have no idea what my next rival looks like'

Novak Djokovic has never seen Jacob Fearnley before

by Jovica Ilic
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Novak Djokovic admits: 'I have no idea what my next rival looks like'
© Sean M. Haffey / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The seven-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic faces Jacob Fearnley in the second round at the All England Club. The 22-year-old Edinburgh native ranked 277th plays his first Major event in his career, embracing a College career at TCU in the previous years and winning the NCAA championship with the Frogs in May, the first in the school's history!

Speaking about his rival ahead of their match, Novak admitted he did not know what Jacob looked like, never seeing him playing or at tournaments. Fearnley played his first Major match against the Spaniard Alejandro Moro Canas, using a favorable draw and notching a 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 triumph in two hours and 47 minutes.

The Briton dominated his service games, defending all three break chances and mounting the pressure on the other side. Jacob generated ten break chances and seized two, securing the pivotal points and prevailing in a thrilling tie break to seal the deal in straight sets and arrange the Novak Djokovic clash.

Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024© Sean M. Haffey / Staff - Getty Images Sport

They missed their opportunities on the return in the middle of the opening set before Fearnley rattled off three games from 4-5 to wrap it up.

The Briton served well early in the second set and built the lead with a break in game five. Jacob denied two break points in the eighth game and wrapped up the set with a fine hold at 5-4, moving two sets to love in front and closer to the finish line.

The home player produced six comfortable holds in the third set and squandered three break points that could have sent him over the top. The set reached a tie break, and it turned into a thriller after 26 points! Moro Canas wasted two set points, and Fearnley converted his sixth match point at 13-12 to seal the deal and celebrate his first win at Majors.

On the other side, Novak Djokovic met Vit Kopriva in the first round and claimed a comfortable 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 triumph in an hour and 58 minutes.

Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024© Sean M. Haffey / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic faces Jacob Fearnley in the Wimbledon second round.

The Serb played his first match following a knee procedure and performed well on serve and return, leaving a qualifier behind and making a winning start.

Novak landed ten aces and dominated with his first serve. He lost only ten points in his games and never faced a break point. Djokovic pushed strong on the return and stole over half of the points on Kopriva's serve, generating 15 break points and seizing six, two in each set.

Novak tamed his strokes nicely and hit 32 winners and 16 unforced errors. Vit added 25 direct points and 30 mistakes, giving everything but staying on five games. Djokovic took advantage of the rival's weak serve, taming them and imposing his strokes in the exchanges.

Novak served well in the opening two games and made a push on the return at 2-1. It lasted 14 minutes, and Kopriva faced six break points. Djokovic wasted the opening five before seizing the sixth following a solid defense and the rival's mistake.

Jacob Fearnley, Wimbledon 2024© Francois Nel / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak held at love in the fifth game and landed a deep return in the next one for three break points. The Serb converted the first, opening a 5-1 advantage and serving for the opener.

The seven-time champion fired a powerful serve, holding at love and wrapping up the first set 6-1 after 33 minutes. Kopriva saved two break points in the first game of the second set before experiencing more issues at 1-1. The Czech wasted a game point and fell on the second break point after an extended rally, sending the Serb 2-1 in front.

Djokovic held at love in the fourth game and mirrored that at 3-2 with an unreturned serve. Kopriva wasted game points in the seventh game and lost serve after a forehand error, sending world no. 2 5-2 in front. Novak served for the set in game eight and closed it with a powerful serve, moving two sets to love in front after an hour and 18 minutes.

Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024© Adam Pretty / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Vit presented a higher level of tennis in the third set, staying in touch with Novak early on. He landed a drop shot winner in the first game and held in the third for 2-1, already doing better than in the opening two sets.

Djokovic followed the rival's pace and shifted into a higher gear on the return at 2-2. Vit played a loose forehand on the second break point, losing serve and sending Novak in front. The Serb grabbed the sixth game with a serve & volley combo and landed a forehand winner at the beginning of the seventh.

Kopriva had a game point, and Djokovic canceled it with a forehand attack. World no. 2 earned a break point and welcomed the rival's backhand error, securing another break and opening a 5-2 advantage. Novak sealed the deal with back-to-back aces in the eighth game, sealing the deal and making a winning start.

Novak Djokovic
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