'Novak Djokovic could write a book about that', says former No.1



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'Novak Djokovic could write a book about that', says former No.1

"If Novak Djokovic wants to achieve the Grand Slam, he will have to face himself first of all" - said Paul Annacone on the eve of Wimbledon. There is no doubt that the Serbian star is the strongest around, as well as being facilitated by the difficulties of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, but managing such pressure is not an easy task for him either.

Relegated to Field No.1 to make room for home favorites Dan Evans and Andy Murray, the world number 1 did not shine today against Denis Kudla. The 19-time Grand Slam champion, the victim of numerous empty passes during the match, managed the practice with the score of 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7) in two hours and 16 minutes of play.

The 34-year-old from Belgrade has therefore qualified for the round of 16 at Wimbledon, where he will face off against Cristian Garin. The Chilean reached the second week of the Championships for the first time in his career, settling the surprise Pedro Martinez (executioner of Stefano Travaglia on his debut) in four sets.

Djokovic and Garin have already met during the 2020 ATP Cup, when Nole won with a double 6-3 in the group stage. Kudla had made himself the author of an excellent tournament, having just given a sound lesson to our Andreas Seppi.

The American had scrapped up the crumbs in the previous two with Djokovic, both staged in 2019 at Wimbledon and the US Open respectively. Suffice it to say that number 114 ATP had never won more than four games in the same set.

Today he left the field amid applause, even with a hint of regret for not having extended the contest to the fourth. The seeded number 1 has allowed himself more empty passes than necessary, sharpened by much lower service percentages than in the first two rounds (54% of firsts in the field and 6 double faults).

Nor is the calculation between free winners and free errors exciting for the Serbian (34-28), who had only to speed up in the decisive moments to avoid trouble. A single break in the tenth game made all the difference in the first set, despite Kudla having held the field very well not allowing Novak to become dangerous in return.

Denis suffered a dramatic drop in performance at the start of the second set, Djokovic missed a chance for a 5-1 and two set points moments later, only to close easily in the ninth game. The third leg was by far the most balanced.

Kudla went to 4-1 taking advantage of the blunders of his rival, good at climbing just enough to take refuge in the tiebreak. Forward 3-0 (heavy) in the jeu decisif, the American did not manage the pressure well, wasting a set ball at 7-6 and ending up bowing with a free forehand mistake.

Becker opens up on Novak Djokovic

Former Grand Slam champion Boris Becker has paid a glowing tribute to the Big 3, saying that what sets Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic apart is their ability to keep calm under pressure and control their emotions.

“It’s important to learn to control your emotions and to not give up the fight until the last point is played. That’s what Roger and Rafa have got. Novak could write a book about that. I love Djokovic’s attitude.

He’s like a street fighter. But when I started coaching him, I took the time to get to know the person away from the player,” Becker said. “The person is very different to the player you see on the court. The player is mechanical, even cold.

But he’s the opposite in private. He’s got the most endearing character you can find. I always found it intriguing how those two personalities can exist within one person,” the stalwart added.