Novak Djokovic’s poor 2017 continued with an embarrassing straight sets exit at the French Open in the most recent Grand Slam. The Serb has endured a tough time since holding all four slams heading into Wimbledon just one year ago.
The former No.1’s third-round exit at SW19 last year sparked rumours of adultery, fall outs with coaching staff and a lack of motivation shown from Djokovic in both training and matches.
The enjoyment and love of the game seemingly missing.
Such rumours appeared all too true with Novak falling out of the top two rankings for the first time in six years, as the 30-year-old heads into Wimbledon ranked fourth in the world this year.
With the Serb dropping significantly in the world rankings, few are fancying Djokovic to make any sort of charge on winning this year’s competition:
However, with the Serb having less media attention and the spotlight being taken away from him heading into the tournament; it seems the perfect preparation for the former Wimbledon champion.
The three-time champion’s straight set victory over Gael Monfils to claim the Eastbourne title has largely gone undocumented, as Novak won his first title since January; the perfect start heading into the tournament.
As well as a decent grass court build up, Djokovic’s coach, Andre Agassi, seems more than confident that Novak could claim a fourth title at Wimbledon:
“Can a guy like this objectively find his way back to the trophy? Heck, yeah he could. Of course that could happen. That’s the plan, that’s always the plan – to get better – and the belief in winning has to be yours and yours alone.
I think there’s enough momentum that could build to give that particular dream, hope or objective a real shot.”
— Andre Agassi on Djokovic’s Wimbledon hopes
The Serb’s mental game is what has made him so solid over the years; so difficult to beat. The combination of good preparation, strong support from his coach, and a lack of being in the spotlight gives Novak the perfect ingredients to make a surprise charge at SW19.
Adding to this, Andy Murray has similarly experienced an indifferent year, and again looked out of sorts in the warm-up tournament at Queens.
Although Rafa Nadal looks something back to his best, the quick and low bounce surface of grass has always been the Spaniard’s achilles heel, and to expect such a turn around from the 1o-time Roland Garros champion could perhaps be a stretch too far.
Roger Federer heads into the tournament as favourite, and once again looked impressive as the Swiss was victorious at the Gerry Weber Open. However, Federer’s potential tricky path of Grigor Dimitrov followed by Milos Raonic could be a step too far for the veteran who has been out of the game for two months.
There is therefore plenty of hope for Djokovic heading into Wimbledon, as we enter one of the most wide open tournaments since a wildcard won back in 2001.