Novak Djokovic Thrashes Zeballos, But Suffers Fresh Injury Scare At Wimbledon - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Thrashes Zeballos, But Suffers Fresh Injury Scare At Wimbledon

Fresh injury fears have hit the 12-time grand slam champion.

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Twelfth seed Novak Djokovic overcame a last-minute leg injury scare to score a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, win over Horacio Zeballos in the second round.

The former world No.1 continued his Wimbledon campaign in somewhat unfamiliar territory. In breaking with a trend normally associated with the Big Four, the Serbian played on court 2 instead of the two premier stadiums at The All England Club. Making it only the second time he has done so in his career since 2009.

“It actually doesn’t bother me. I was enjoying it. I’ve never played on this new Court 2. I played on the old Court 2.” Said Djokovic.
“It was interesting. I think what was different is the walk to the court. Obviously the crowd, everybody cheering you on, wishing you luck, after the match congratulating you. That was quite special, quite different. I haven’t experienced that in a while in Wimbledon.”

Despite the questionable scheduling of his match, Djokovic showed no signs of it affecting his play. Dismantling his Argentine opponent with ease after just 91 minutes of play.  Djokovic’s defensive play and ability to pile pressure onto Zeballos prompted the Argentine to hit a series of unforced errors. In total Zeballos hit 28 unforced errors compared to Djokovic’s four.

All three sets had a similar pattern with the 12-time grand slam champion breaking early on to establish his dominance. He managed to maintain those leading positions with the help of some sublime service games. Firing 15 aces and winning 89% of his first service points.

“I’m very pleased with the way I played both matches, especially today. I thought my serve was working really well. Playing on grass, obviously having 10-plus aces in a match, it’s not a common feeling that I get to experience a lot.” He reflected after wards.

It was all going smoothly for Djokovic until midway during the third set. Leading 4-2, he started to walk gingerly around the court as he showed discomfort with his left leg. Prompting the trainer to be called to the court for a medical time out. The issued appeared to be concerning the upper part of Djokovic’s leg as the trainer manipulated the area. Triggering a worried look on the face of coach Marián Vajda.

“It was a bad move during a point. It affected my knee a little bit. I felt it all the way to the end of the match basically, last couple games.” Djokovic explained during his press conference.
“I’ve been doing checkups now. It seems like it’s nothing major. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll see on the practice session how it feels. Hopefully it’s going to be fine.”

Resuming play, Djokovic managed to get over the finish line with the help of his trusted serve. He wasn’t afraid to move around the court in what was a positive indication to his camp. Although it was still clear that he was troubled by some kind of issue. Nevertheless, he valiantly managed to seal the victory at the expense of another error from his rival on match point.

Despite the scare, Djokovic has insisted that he is still fit to continue playing in the tournament. Last year he withdrew from his quarter-final match at Wimbledon due to an elbow injury. An issue which ended his 2017 season.

“If it was major I’d be pulling out from the tournament.  What I’m saying is that it’s most likely a twitch in the muscle or something.” Said Djokovic.
“Hopefully it’s nothing that will concern me, so to say, that I’ll be able to perform.” He later added.

Thursday’s triumph at The All England Club has rewarded the Serbian with his 60th main draw win of the tournament since making his debut back in 2005. He has now reached the third round of Wimbledon in 13 out of 14 attempts with 2008 being the only exception.

In the third round Djokovic will take on either Kyle Edmund or Bradley Klahn. Both of those players will face each other later in the day on Center Court.

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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