It’s not often you see a three-time Wimbledon champion take the court on the third-biggest court at the All-England Club. However, that is what happened today. Novak Djokovic eased past Argentinian Horacio Zeballos on Thursday, 6-1 6-2 6-3. You have to wonder if the court assignment was just added motivation for someone who is already motivated enough to get back to the top of the game where he belongs.
There’s always going to be someone who feels as if they were slighted when the order of play is released. You can certainly make the argument that Novak Djokovic deserves to play the whole tournament on Centre Court and Court 1–but most importantly he’s winning matches handily wherever they take place.
If you go back to Wimbledon 2016, when Djokovic fell to American Sam Querrey in the Round of 32, that’s where his Slam struggles up until now began. Seeing him back on top where the downfall began would be a welcoming sight for Djokovic fans across the world.
Even though we’ve seen signs of the old Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros and Queens Club, he’s not all the way there yet. From 2011-2016 you wouldn’t ever see the former #1 lose matches the way he lost to Marco Cechhinato and Marin Cilic the past few weeks. Like all great former champions though you can’t count them out.
Djokovic’s draw gets tricky from here on out. Up next he’ll likely face hometown favorite and British #1 Kyle Edmund. Edmund defeated the Serbian last May, at the Mutua Madrid Open in three sets. It will be the three-time champion’s first “real” test at Wimbledon. Late in the third set against Zeballos, Djokovic called for the trainer with a potential left knee injury; it didn’t hinder the Serbian’s game today but is a cause for concern. Looking ahead, the path for the current World #21 getting his fourth Wimbledon title is far from easy. The top half of the draw opened up with Marin Cilic’s loss, but facing Rafael Nadal remains a potential semifinal.
I can guarantee, Court 2 ticket holders won’t be as fortunate as they were today with Novak Djokovic on court. Seeing members of the “big four” on an outside court is almost unheard of, and I wouldn’t expect to see it for too much longer with Djokovic’s return to the top continuing.
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