Djokovic confident on Wimbledon eve

Serbian is 'mentally and physically' prepared ahead of potential Roger Federer semi-final.

    Djokovic's 43-match winning streak was brought to an end by Federer at Roland Garros this year [AFP]

    World number two Novak Djokovic may have had his 43-match winning streak broken by Roger Federer in the French Open semi-finals, but said he was better prepared than ever on the eve of Wimbledon.

    The Serb, who has been in the best form of his career, is breathing down the neck of world number one Rafael Nadal in the rankings and faces France's Jeremy Chardy in the first round.

    To win his first Wimbledon title however, Djokovic may have to beat six-time champion Federer in the semi-finals.

    "I'm happy. I feel good physically and mentally," Djokovic said.

    "I feel I have the strongest approach to Wimbledon that I ever had because of the confidence that I have and because the last six months of the year it has been the best six months of my career."

    "Losing streak"

    Novak Djokovic factfile

    World ranking: 2
    Born: May 22 1987
    Birthplace: Belgrade, Serbia
    Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco
    Height: 6'2"
    Weight: 176 lbs
    Plays: Right-handed
    Turned pro: 2003
    Career singles titles: 25
    Grand Slam singles titles: 2 (Australian Open 2008, 2011)
    Career prize money: 26,116,690 dollars
    Best Wimbledon result: Semi-finals (2007, 2010)

    Djokovic's perfect season and six-month winning streak ended in Paris.

    His "losing streak'' is now about two weeks long, because he decided to pull out of the grass-court tournament at Queen's Club.

    "I didn't play in Queen's because I had to take some time and rest. Even though from the competitive side maybe an extra match would mean a bit more," said the Serbian.

    "But I think it's enough, because I have played a lot of match practices with different players in the last couple of days, and then one exhibition.

    "So I think it will be enough, and I want to think it will be enough, because I don't want to regret something that's behind me now."

    Djokovic reached the Wimbledon semi-final in 2007, retiring with blisters against Rafa Nadal, and again last year when he produced a subdued performance against Czech Tomas Berdych.

    However, he has never looked entirely convincing at the tournament he calls "the most important in the world" and while many have predicted that this year could be his time to shine on grass he urged caution.

    "You know, I guess you can always put Federer and Nadal in front of everybody else to win Wimbledon because they have been so successful on grass courts in the past couple of years and they've been winning, the last five, six Wimbledons," he said.

    Fed express

    Roger Federer factfile

    World ranking: 3
    Born: Aug 8, 1981
    Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
    Lives: Switzerland
    Height: 6'1"
    Weight: 187 lbs
    Plays: Right-handed
    Turned pro: 1998
    Career singles titles: 67
    Grand Slam singles titles: 16 (Australian Open 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010;
    French Open 2009; Wimbledon 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009; US Open 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
    Career prize money: 63,343,910 dollars
    Best Wimbledon result: Champion (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009)

    Potential semi-finalist opponent Federer, was also confident ahead of a Djokovic rematch:

    "I know I can beat Novak on any surface. I've done that in the past,'' said Federer, who had lost to Djokovic in the US Open and Australian Open semi-finals before beating him in the same round at Roland Garros.

    "Just because he's on a great winning streak doesn't mean he's unbeatable. That was my mindset going into the match in Paris,'' Federer added.

    "Here at Wimbledon, anyway, I'm even more confident. I think I'm a better player than in Paris, so I expect myself to do really well here, even better maybe.''

    Federer and top-ranked Rafael Nadal have combined to win the last eight titles at the All England Club. And with one more for Federer, he would tie Pete Sampras' record of seven Wimbledon titles.

    Djokovic has however worked on his grass court game, having trained with former Australian serve and volleyer Mark Woodforde a few years ago in a bid to learn the tricks of the grasscourt trade.

    While that did not have the desired effect, Djokovic's greater emphasis on attack this year should mean he will get the full benefit of the faster surface.

    "It is the fastest surface that we have in the sport but it is definitely slower than it used to be and the ball bounces higher, which I think is more suitable to my style of game," he said.

    "I still think that I have to use my chances and use the groundstrokes that I have and finish off the point at the net. It is the perfect surface for it."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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