April 20, 2024 5:51 am
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Unprecedented Grand Slam Victory Awaits as Djokovic Declares: ‘Thirty-Six is the New 26!’

Novak Djokovic claimed “36 is the new 26” after the history-chasing Serb reached his ninth Wimbledon final with a fiery victory over Jannik Sinner on Friday.

Djokovic’s 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) win sealed the defending champion’s record 35th Grand Slam final appearance and moved him closer to a record-equalling eighth Wimbledon title.

Djokovic, the 36-year-old tennis star, continues to defy his age as he advances to his ninth Wimbledon final, defeating Jannik Sinner. His dominance was apparent as he secured a straight-sets victory, winning 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4). With this win, Djokovic now holds the record for the most Grand Slam final appearances, standing at an impressive 35. He is closing in on a record-equalling eight Wimbledon titles, leaving him with the chance to make history once again on Sunday.

The 36-year-old faces world number one Carlos Alcaraz or Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev in his fifth successive Wimbledon final on Sunday.

As Djokovic prepares for his fifth consecutive Wimbledon final, he awaits the matchup between world number one Carlos Alcaraz and Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev. The Serb’s remarkable consistency and skill will undoubtedly be put to the test as he seeks another victory at the All England Club.

Djokovic may have moved past American legend Chris Evert as the only man or woman to make 35 major finals, but he has even more significant feats in his sights on Sunday.

Djokovic’s ascension beyond American tennis legend Chris Evert is a remarkable achievement, making him the sole player, male or female, to have reached 35 major finals. However, his aspirations extend beyond this milestone, with the Serb eyeing Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles. Additionally, with 23 Grand Slam singles titles to his name, Djokovic is on the verge of equalling Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24.

“I feel 36 is the new 26, it feels pretty good. I feel a lot of motivation,” he said.

Commenting on his age and mindset, Djokovic confidently expressed his belief that age is merely a number. At 36, he feels as youthful and driven as ever, ready to conquer new challenges. The motivation to excel in tennis and give back to the sport that has enriched his life and family continues to fuel his dedication.

“This sport has given me and my family a lot. I will return a favor to this sport and play as much as I can.”

Acknowledging the sport’s profound impact on his life, Djokovic vows to repay the debt by immersing himself in the game and playing to the best of his abilities. Grateful for the opportunities tennis has provided him and his loved ones, the Serb remains committed to leaving a lasting mark on the sport.

Djokovic’s remarkable journey has already led to several records and achievements. As he reaches the Wimbledon final at the age of 36, he becomes the third oldest man to achieve this feat in the Open era. Should he emerge victorious, he will surpass Federer’s achievement of winning the tournament at the age of 35 in 2017, making him the oldest male champion at the All England Club.

Continuing his dominance at a time when his contemporaries, Federer and Rafael Nadal, are contemplating their careers’ end, Djokovic remains a formidable force in tennis.

While Federer’s retirement looms and Nadal plans a farewell tour before his eventual retirement, Djokovic continues his reign as one of the sport’s greatest. Already victorious in the Australian Open and French Open this season, the Serb is now pursuing an extraordinary feat – winning all four Grand Slam titles in a single year, a feat only achieved by Rod Laver in 1969. With the US Open scheduled for August, Djokovic has his sights set on completing this extraordinary accomplishment.

“We are part of an individual sport so you have to rely on yourself and put yourself in the best physical and mental state before heading out on court.”

Reflecting on the key to his longevity in the sport, Djokovic emphasizes the importance of self-reliance and being in optimal physical and mental condition before stepping onto the court. As an individual sport, tennis demands that players take full responsibility for their performance, pushing themselves to reach their peak both physically and mentally.

“Obviously, you know that you play against the best player in the world at the moment, especially on this surface,”

Recognizing the challenge of facing Djokovic, Jannik Sinner, the 21-year-old Italian player, acknowledges the Serb’s current dominance in the sport. Fully aware of Djokovic’s exceptional skills, particularly on grass courts, Sinner concedes that mental strength is one of the Serb’s greatest assets. Djokovic’s ability to navigate crucial moments and make the right decisions on the court makes him an exceptionally difficult opponent to defeat.

The confrontations and tensions that unfolded during Djokovic’s semi-final match against Sinner further demonstrated his competitive spirit and determination. Engaging in a heated exchange with umpire Richard Haigh and responding critically to the audience’s support for Sinner, Djokovic showed why he is an imposing force on the court.

“The hindrance could have changed the course of the match. I felt nervous after that call, but I managed to re-group,” Djokovic said.

Frustrated by the umpire’s decision, which involved deducting a point from his score due to a distracting noise he made, Djokovic approached Haigh with a mix of frustration and confusion. Despite the setback, he demonstrated composure and quickly regained his focus, resulting in a strong performance in the following sets.

After saving two set points in the third set, Djokovic’s frustrations surfaced once again as he responded to the crowd’s support for Sinner with a sarcastic crying gesture. Unfazed by the distractions, Djokovic regained control, turning the tides in his favor and ultimately securing a remarkable victory.

“Semi-finals are always going to be very intense… Maybe the scoreline doesn’t give the reality of what happened on court. It was super close,” Djokovic remarked.

Reflecting on the intensity of the match, Djokovic highlighted the relentless determination required in the semi-finals. Despite the seemingly straightforward scoreline, the Serb highlights the closely fought battle that transpired on the court. The gripping contest between Djokovic and Sinner exemplified the high stakes of the game.

In conclusion, Novak Djokovic’s incredible journey continues to captivate the tennis world. With his sights set on securing another Wimbledon title, equaling Federer’s record, and possibly surpassing Margaret Court’s historic achievement, Djokovic’s determination and skill make him a formidable opponent. As the 35-time Grand Slam finalist and the third oldest man to reach the Wimbledon final, Djokovic proves that age is no barrier to success. The tennis legend’s quest for greatness continues as he stands on the brink of carving his name even deeper into the annals of tennis history.

AFP

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