The Wimbledon final: Novak Djokovic aims for No. 21

Novak Djokovic
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Novak Djokovic’s body is always ready but the question is about his head. At times, he can be foggy, and out of the balance, but gradually, he wakes up and then he knows exactly what to do.

In the Wimbledon quarters, very young Jannik Sinner was pounding the ball, smacking it down the line, or low and cross court. In the first two sets, he had it all.

But after that, the smart veteran Djokovic began to change. He knows that when he is down, he has to change the points. He also had to come closer to the baseline and swing very hard. Not many people can come back from a two-to-zero-set hole. Djokovic can and has shown how to do it over the years. He really believes that he can out smart his opponent.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion did exactly that, outlasted Sinner 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

“You approach these particular situations when you’re two sets down a bit more calmly, a bit more confident, with more self-belief. I always believed that I could turn the match around,” Djokovic said.

Yes he did, and the 20-year-old Italian started to slip and the errors came, point after point. He did look decent at times, but he did not know how to deal with the confident and motivated Serb.

In the semis, Djokovic defeated Cameron Norrie 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. In the first set, Norrie was pounding the ball. But, the tide turned. In the last three sets, Djokovic was almost perfect, targeting his gigantic first serve, his amazing, crosscourt backhand and his hard forehand. When he is on, players have to play a zero percent to beat him.

He had another goal, because he knows that in the famous grass, he has another opportunity with a chance to win his seventh Wimbledon title.

Going for his seventh and fourth consecutive title, he will have to face the Australian Nick Kyrgios, who is playing as well as he has at any Grand Slam. He is a huge hitter, and he is so confident.

Kyrgios has beaten Djokovic twice in 2017 at Acapulco and Indian Wells. But that was a long ago. The 20-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic believes that, in the three-out-of-five-set format, he can put him down.

“It’s going to be [Nick’s] first Grand Slam final, obviously he’s very excited and he doesn’t have much to lose and he’s always playing like that. He’s playing so freely, he has one of the biggest serves in the game,” Djokovic said. “Just big game overall, a lot of power in his shots. We haven’t played for some time, I never won a set off him so hopefully it can be different this time. It’s another final for me here in Wimbledon, the tournament I love so much, so hopefully the experience can work in my favor.”

Another factor is the withdrawal by Rafa Nadal, who defeated Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals but pulled out of the tournament before facing off with Kyrgios. Now, he will have to contend with not playing a semifinal. The extra-long rest may help the Australian’s body but will the extra time to think be a problem for his often volatile emotions?