Домой United States USA — Sport Novak Djokovic Has Prepared His Way. So Has Rafael Nadal.

Novak Djokovic Has Prepared His Way. So Has Rafael Nadal.


By design, Djokovic usually does not play grass-court events before Wimbledon, and he has won five times with that tactic. Nadal, necessitated by injury, is on the same track this year.
While the French Open has long been Rafael Nadal time, Wimbledon has become Novak Djokovic time. He is not yet the greatest grass-court player of this Darwinian era in men’s tennis. Roger Federer, 40, absent from this year’s tournament, still gets that nod with his eight singles titles at the All England Club. But Djokovic, who used to pose with a homemade replica of the winner’s trophy in his youth, has certainly been the best in recent years with his acrobatic, tight-to-the-baseline style, and he is undoubtedly the greatest grass-courter in the men’s field as Wimbledon’s main draw begins Monday.
“It’s hard not to make Novak the prohibitive favorite,” said Paul Annacone, one of Federer’s former coaches. “People talk about preparation and lack of matches and stuff like that, but the thing is when you’ve played Wimbledon so many times and been there at the end so often, I don’t think it’s that important at all.”
Bjorn Borg, the stone-faced Swede, broke the mold on Wimbledon preparation, winning the event five straight times from 1976 to 1980 without playing an official warm-up tournament on grass. But the mold got repaired and redeployed for nearly 30 years before Djokovic smashed it again, perhaps for good. He has won five of his six Wimbledon titles — 2011, 2014, 2015, 2019 and 2021 — without playing a tuneup event on tour and will aim to do the same again this year as he tries to win Wimbledon for the fourth time in a row.
“Every day that you get to have a little bit of a rest and reset helps,” Djokovic said. “But then, we’re all different.”
Speaking about grass courts, he added: “I didn’t have too many issues to adapt quickly to the surface. Over the years, I learned how to play more efficiently on the surface as well. At the beginning of my career, I was still struggling with movement and sliding.”
Djokovic, who will open play on Centre Court Monday against unseeded Kwon Soon-woo of South Korea, has not played an official match since his deflating, frankly mystifying loss to Nadal in a French Open quarterfinal. Djokovic seemingly had weathered the storm of Nadal’s thunderous start, but he failed to sustain his momentum and later blew a lead in the fourth and final set. He spent some downtime with his wife, Jelena, and two young children before arriving in London to play — and play very well — in the exhibition grass-court event last week at the Hurlingham Club.

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