More history expected at Wimbledon | Sunday Observer

More history expected at Wimbledon

2 July, 2023
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic is targeting more tennis history when he leads the star names at a Wimbledon where Andy Murray is aiming to roll back the years on the 10th anniversary of his first title.

Serbia's Djokovic, 36, goes for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam victory and an eighth Wimbledon win to match Roger Federer's men's record.

With Rafael Nadal injured, Djokovic is one of the few iconic names left in the draws, although Britain's Murray and American Venus Williams, 43, are notable former champions who will be present.

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz is the men's world number one after winning the Queen's title last week, leading the next generation of ATP Tour stars trying to topple Djokovic.

British men's number one Cameron Norrie is aiming to replicate last year's stunning run to the semi-finals, while Katie Boulter leads the home contingent in the women's singles after a successful summer where she has reached a career-high ranking.

Boulter is the new British women's number one after replacing 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu, who is missing Wimbledon after surgeries on wrist and ankle injuries.

The dominant trio on the WTA Tour this year - Kazakh defending champion Elena Rybakina, Polish top seed Iga Swiatek and Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka - are expected to be the women to beat.

Sabalenka is one of the most high-profile players back at the All England Club this year after the ban on Russian and Belarusian competitors was lifted.

Ranking points - stripped by the ATP and WTA in response to the ban - have been reinstated, while Wimbledon organisers have increased security measures after Just Stop Oil activists interrupted several sporting events.

Here are the main talking points from one of the highlights of the British sporting summer, which starts on Monday.

Shortly after Djokovic won a record-equalling 23rd men's major title by clinching the French Open, the Serb warned his younger rivals he was far from finished.

"The journey is still not over. If I'm winning Slams, why even think about ending the career that already has been going for 20 years?" he said.

"I still feel motivated and inspired to play the best tennis in these tournaments.

"These are the ones that count the most in the history of our sport."

Having won the past four titles in SW19, and not lost a completed match there since 2016, Djokovic is seen as the favourite to lift the trophy again.

The seven-time champion could equal Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles and tie Federer's mark of eight men's singles wins at the All England Club.

Djokovic has cut back his schedule at tour level in recent years in a bid to peak at the right time for the four majors.

The strategy is working. With victory at Roland Garros, Djokovic has won six of the past eight majors he has played.

He again decided not to compete in a grass-court event before Wimbledon, instead playing an exhibition at the Hurlingham Club on Thursday.

Alcaraz, 20, is the man considered his likeliest challenger and proved his game suits the grass courts when he won the Queen's title, albeit without facing someone of Djokovic's calibre.

(BBC Sport)