Novak Djokovic is concentrating on a record-equalling twentieth main and sixth Wimbledon title from subsequent week, edging him nearer to changing into solely the third man to finish a calendar Grand Slam.
The world primary has already received a ninth Australian Open and second French Open this season.
That has put him midway to emulating Don Budge (1937) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) in sweeping all 4 majors in the identical yr.
It is a feat that even his closest rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have by no means managed and can in all probability by no means obtain.
“Everything is possible,” stated 34-year-old Djokovic after profitable the French Open earlier this month when requested if the Golden Slam of all 4 majors and Olympic Games gold was a sensible goal.
“I’ve achieved some things that a lot of people thought it would be not possible for me to achieve.”
Djokovic memorably captured a fifth Wimbledon in 2019, saving two championship factors to defeat Federer within the longest ever last on the All England Club at 4 hours and 57 minutes.
He was disadvantaged of defending his title in 2020 when Wimbledon was cancelled as a result of pandemic.
However, Djokovic has been at this juncture earlier than, profitable in Australia and Paris in 2016 however arising quick on the Rio Olympics, Wimbledon and the US Open later within the yr.
Djokovic has received seven of the final 11 Slams as he ramps up his assault on the report of 20 majors held collectively by Federer and Nadal.
Nadal, the Wimbledon champion in 2008 and 2010, has already withdrawn from this yr’s event, nonetheless scarred by the bruising loss to the Serb within the French Open semi-finals.
– ‘Huge challenge’ –
Eight-time winner Federer, in the meantime, will likely be 40 in August and received only one match on grass at Halle within the build-up to Wimbledon.
Federer, who underwent two knee surgical procedures in 2020, received the final of his eight Wimbledons in 2017 and the newest of his 20 majors in Australia in 2018.
The Swiss star has misplaced three finals to Djokovic on the All England Club in 2014, 2015 and the epic 2019 conflict.
“It’s a huge challenge for me,” stated Federer of his comeback.
“Things don’t come simple, they don’t come easy.”
The relaxation of the present prime 10 have endured thus far mediocre Wimbledon data.
Only 33-year-old Roberto Bautista Agut, a shock semi-finalist two years in the past, has obtained past the final 16.
Daniil Medvedev has a better of the third spherical, whereas Dominic Thiem, who made the fourth spherical in 2017, crashed on the first hurdle in 2018 and 2019.
Alexander Zverev had a greatest final 16 run in 2017 however was additionally a first-round loser two years in the past whereas Andrey Rublev has but to get previous the second spherical.
Of the rest of the highest 10, French Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini are Djokovic’s probably threats.
Tsitsipas made the final 16 in 2018 earlier than exiting within the first spherical two years in the past.
The Greek, nonetheless, is without doubt one of the kind gamers of 2021, profitable titles in Monte Carlo and Lyon earlier than forcing Djokovic to recuperate from two units down within the Roland Garros last.
Queen’s Club champion Matteo Berrettini can also be a dangerman for Djokovic.
The Italian made the final 16 in 2019 the place it took Federer to cease his progress.
He was additionally the primary man to win the Queen’s title on debut since Boris Becker in 1985 — the German went on to win a maiden Wimbledon simply weeks later.
Andy Murray, the 2013 and 2016 champion, will hope to experience a nationwide wave of emotion not less than into the second week.
But the injury-plagued Briton, a former world primary, is down at 119 within the rankings and has received simply two matches all season.