What to expect from a new-look Wimbledon
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World No 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas has played down his chances of beating Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon this year, suggesting that he is not sharp enough on grass to prevent the decorated Serb from winning a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title. The pair faced off in the final of the French Open earlier this month, with Djokovic claiming the spoils over five sets to maintain the Golden Slam dream ahead of his return to the All England Club.
He previously strolled to victory at the Australian Open back in February and will need to clinch the US Open and Olympic titles in order to complete a remarkable clean sweep if he adds to his tally at Wimbledon.
In spite of Djokovic’s dominance, it will not be all plain sailing for the 34-year-old at SW19, with a number of challengers looking to dethrone him.
Matteo Berrettini will be hoping to pose a threat to the Serb after winning at Queen’s, while the likes of Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev will also be in the picture in the absences of Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer is unlikely to go the distance at Wimbledon as he seeks a return to his peak after recovering from a long-term knee injury.
Tsitsipas is another candidate with the potential to upset Djokovic, but the Greek hopeful has poured cold water on his own hopes of glory by admitting that his lack of preparation on grass may see him struggle to win a maiden Grand Slam title this time around.
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“Well, right now I don’t think I had enough matches,” Tsitsipas told reporters on Sunday.
“I didn’t really have a lot of tournaments on grass. I rely a lot on playing matches, getting confident through the process of winning. I haven’t had that opportunity yet.”
Tsitsipas will entertain Frances Tiafoe in the first round at Wimbledon on Monday afternoon as he looks to avoid a quick-fire exit from the tournament.
He is yet to make it past the fourth round in three attempts, but will be hoping for an improved showing this year and could meet Djokovic in the semi-finals of the competition.
When quizzed on the possibility of Djokovic claiming a Golden Slam this year, Tsitsipas declared that he will do everything in his power to prevent his rival from achieving the feat but conceded that the Serb may be too strong in his present form.
“Obviously we’re there to try to put a stop to that dream of his,” said the 22-year-old.
“It’s going to be difficult. I find it very challenging playing against him. He’s one of the greatest players tennis has seen.”
It remains to be seen whether Tsitsipas will be able to challenge Djokovic’s dominance at Wimbledon, with the latter seemingly determined to catch up to Federer and Rafael Nadal with another Grand Slam title.
Former world No 1 Mats Wilander recently suggested that Djokovic will be looking to underline his legendary credentials at SW19 by keeping his Golden Slam hopes alive as he looks to become the first male player to complete the achievement.
“He wants to show to himself that he is super-human,” Wilander told Eurosport.
“I think he is super-human when I see him play. I think his body can handle it. I actually feel he most probably needs to play matches to keep the intensity high.
“So, this is a year where Novak can win the Golden Slam in my eyes.”
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