Djokovic '100 per cent ready' for Wimbledon
World number one Novak Djokovic has hammered out an ominous statement of intent to his rivals at Wimbledon, insisting he’s “100 per cent ready” and motivated to win the “most prestigious tournament in our sport” following his French Open heartache.
Djokovic was speaking after making an impressive grasscourt appearance at The Boodles exhibition tournament at Stoke Park, where he outgunned rising star and former Wimbledon junior champion Grigor Dimitrov 5-7, 6-3, 10-6 (first to ten points tiebreak).
Despite admitting he always struggles to adapt to grass after a swift transition from the French Open clay, on which he suffered an agonising five-set defeat to Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals just over two weeks ago, the Serb looked completely at ease on the green pastures.
And, as he prepares to launch his bid to win a second Wimbledon title to add to his 2011 success, a confident Djokovic said: “I know what I need to do in order to adjust to the faster surface in a very short period of time. It is difficult, but it’s the same for everybody. Hopefully I can do my best and I am sure I will be 100 per cent [ready] for Monday.
“There’s no bigger motivation for me than playing in the most prestigious tournament in the world in our sport [Wimbledon], the one that I always dreamed of winning. I won it two years ago and that’s the highlight of my career.
“I don’t think grass is my most preferred surface, that’s probably a hard court. But over the years I have been playing really well at Wimbledon, reaching the semi-finals [in 2007, 2010 and 2012] and winning it two years ago. I like playing on it and it makes me be aggressive on the court. Hopefully I can raise the level of my game as the tournament goes on.”
Asked whether he had something to prove after his recent defeat to Nadal at Roland Garros and semi-final exit at SW19 last year at the hands of Roger Federer, the Serb said: “These [the Grand Slams] are the tournaments where you want to do your best. I’ve been playing consistently well in Grand Slams and they are my goal.
“Hopefully I can bounce back from the loss in Paris to Rafa. It was a thrilling match to be part of, but life goes on and it’s not the first and not the last time that I will lose.
“I’d lost to him at the French Open two or three times before. A loss is a loss and of course it hurts. But the next day, when you wake up, it’s a new day and you have to stand up and work harder to be stronger and try to win the next tournament.”
Djokovic also had words of praise for Britain’s number one Andy Murray, expressing confidence in his friend’s ability to cope with the immense pressure of trying to claim a maiden Wimbledon crown in front of an expectant home crowd.
“He has dealt with pressure very well over the course of the last few years, especially the last year,” he said. “He always has pressure playing at Wimbledon from the media and people here.
“Obviously Great Britain has been looking for a champion for many years at Wimbledon and he’s the biggest hope. He got very close last year [losing in the final to Roger Federer] and can do so again.
“I think our rivalry can develop more over the coming years. But of course Nadal and Federer are the two most successful active players and I think their rivalry is the best rivalry we have in our sport, no question about it.”