Is Novak Djokovic bluffing about his injury?

Djokovic tries to win his eighth title at Church Road

by Simone Brugnoli
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Is Novak Djokovic bluffing about his injury?
© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic has played his best match in recent months and reached the quarterfinals at the 2024 Wimbledon Championships. The former World number 1 has easily beaten young Danish Holger Rune dominating the match from start to finish and proving to be growing.

Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024
Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport
 

The 24-time Grand Slam champion showed up at Wimbledon with very low expectations, having had knee surgery about a month ago after his injury at the French Open. The Serbian champion was not certain to play this year’s Wimbledon Championships, but he decided to try and his condition improved with the passing of the days.

In the quarter-finals Nole will face the Australian Alex de Minaur, who is playing very well on grass and will play without any fear. The Serbian and the Australian have already faced each other twice this year, with a victory each.

Djokovic tries to win his eighth title at Church Road, a feat that would allow him to match the record of his great rival Roger Federer. The world’s current number 2 had come very close last year, but had to surrender to Carlos Alcaraz in the final after an amazing battle.

Novak Djokovic seeks new records

2024 was a difficult year for Novak Djokovic, who did not find the right continuity and suffered several unexpected defeats. The former world number 1 has not yet won a title this season and there are many who believe that his descending parable may have begun at 37.

Despite his great experience at Wimbledon, Nole will have to pay close attention to de Minaur. The Australian promised battle at the press conference: "I believe that over the years my conviction has grown more and more. I am happy to keep going at Wimbledon and I look forward to the next challenge. No matter who I play, I consider all 50/50 games. Maybe in the past I didn’t have that mentality. I don’t think I have to say much about Novak at Wimbledon, where he’s been getting glory for many years. It may be a battle, but it’s the kind of battle I want to play. These are the challenges I want to take advantage of to show everyone what I can do," said de Minaur. "I’m recovering Djokovic after the operation? I’m not surprised. We’ve seen him do things like that before. He is one of those players who takes best care of his body and always proves it. There were rumors that he might skip Wimbledon, but deep down I knew he was coming back. So I’m not surprised. I look forward to this battle because I think I am a different player".

Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024
Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport
 

The 24-time Grand Slam champion did not like the attitude of the Wimbledon crowd during his match against Rune. Nole Djokovic argued with the audience during the post-match interview and invited fans to respect the players on the pitch.

"Should Wimbledon take action? I don’t know what they can really do about it. In those particular moments, the audience paid for the ticket... they have the right to be there and cheer as they please. How they choose to behave or support a player is up to them. We can think that maybe a referee or anyone else could intervene at certain moments and calm the audience. But there is not much you can do, you can not throw out a part of the entire stadium because they behave disrespectfully. It’s part of the sport. It is one of the reasons why we are here, the reason why the tournament is so important from the historical point of view, so we are recognized worldwide as tennis players. It’s thanks to the fans for the interest they show in watching tennis games, paying for tickets... I respect that. I try to recognize all the real tennis fans who really respect the players. Of course they decide which player to support and cheer on. That’s fully understandable. They have the freedom to choose who to support during a match, but if someone crosses the line, I react" - explained Novak during the press conference.

Nole feels better

In recent days, several experts have suggested that Novak Djokovic’s knee injury is less severe than expected. The Serbian champion has often been accused of exacerbating the severity of his injuries, as had happened at the Australian Open 2021 and the Australian Open 2023. In both cases Nole had won the tournament after struggling in the first 2-3 rounds.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Mike Hewitt / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

Djokovic’s level is increasing over the days and now he is the favourite to reach the final of the Wimbledon Championships. In his draw segment - after the elimination of Alexander Zverev - Australian de Minaur, American Taylor Fritz and young Italian Lorenzo Musetti remained. None of these players can boast of Novak’s experience on grass, but they can play without having anything to lose.

Novak Djokovic
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