Tennis

From Lessons Learned In 2016, Djokovic Gears Up For Shot At 2021 Grand Slam | ATP Tour

Just like five years ago, Novak Djokovic is halfway to the calendar-year Grand Slam, having lifted the Australian Open and Roland Garros titles this season.

But this time around, the Serbian superstar is hoping to use the experience of losing to Sam Querrey in the 2016 Wimbledon third round to his advantage.

Speaking after his 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 second-round victory over 2018 finalist Kevin Anderson on Wednesday, the World No. 1 admitted, “I’m going to try to learn from the experience that I had in 2016, winning the first two [Grand] Slams of the year, coming in here… actually feeling great, playing great. But then I lost the third round against of course a great opponent, Sam Querrey, who was the better player that day.

“I felt a little bit different, maybe a little bit deflated… It was the first time I experienced that kind of situation and circumstances. So this time I’m probably, I would like to think, a bit wiser and a bit more experienced as a player and person.”

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Djokovic, who has compiled a 29-3 match record in 2021, insists he is very pleased with the way he has played in victories this week over British wild card Jack Draper and former World No. 5 Anderson at the All England Club.

“It’s only two matches into the tournament [and] still a long way to go,” said Djokovic, who has captured five titles at The Championships, Wimbledon. “Hopefully, I can go very deep in the tournament. That’s the goal.”

Over the course of the fortnight, the 34-year-old is attempting to win seven straight matches and draw level with both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 major singles trophies. He has been No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for a record 327 weeks over five different stints, since first rising to the summit on 4 July 2011.

“I look to peak at the biggest tournaments in our sport,” said Djokovic. “I’ve said it before: at this stage of my career, Grand Slams are the ones that matter the most. Of course, [Masters] 1000 events on the ATP Tour [and] I try to maintain the high position in the rankings.”

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When asked about the future, Djokovic added, “Age is just a number. That’s really how I see it, the approach that I’m having. I don’t really think about how many years I have been on the Tour. It’s all about perception. I really believe that a lot of things health-wise, or just in general about life, starts from your mind. Mind over matter type of thing.

“I feel like I’m also learning new things about myself on and off the court. I’m trying to implement different elements in my game and also in my lifestyle that help me to have longevity. Because I want to keep on going.

“I don’t have any end in mind in terms of how many more years I want to play. As long as I feel that desire, as long as I’m fit, I’ll keep on going.”

American Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver of Australia (1962 and 1969) are the only two male players to have completed the calendar-year singles Grand Slam in the sport’s history. Australians Jack Crawford (1933) and Lew Hoad (1956) both won the first three majors of the year, but lost at the US Championships.

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