Revived Djokovic primed for assault on Wimbledon
Novak Djokovic said he was better prepared for Wimbledon than ever on Saturday despite minimal practice on...
Novak Djokovic said he was better prepared for Wimbledon than ever on Saturday despite minimal practice on grass.
The Serb, who is breathing down the neck of world number one Rafa Nadal in the rankings after his extraordinary year, pulled out of the Queen's Club warm-up tournament with a knee niggle and managed just a couple of sets on grass this week at an exhibition event.
After a 41-match unbeaten start to 2011, however, the 24-year-old was probably glad to have a little respite and plot another winning streak after his French Open semi-final loss against Roger Federer.
"I'm happy. I feel good physically and mentally," Djokovic told reporters. "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.
"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.
"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.
Djokovic worked 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."