LONDON – Defending champion Novak Djokovic says he will be extra motivated to claim his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title as it could be his last Grand Slam action of the year.
The 35-year-old Serb missed the Australian Open after being deported for not vaccinating against Covid-19 and for the same reason he will not be allowed to compete in the US Open.
These decisions have severely affected Djokovic’s hopes of winning the most Grand Slam titles, with Rafa Nadal now holding the record at 22, compared to Djokovic’s 20.
With Australia strictly enforcing entry criteria, it could be Djokovic’s last Grand Slam event until next year’s French Open at Wimbledon.
“From today, I am not allowed to enter the state in this situation. I’m aware of it. It’s an additional inspiration to do well here, ”he told reporters on Saturday.
“Hopefully I can do a very good tournament, as I have done in the last three editions. Then I just have to wait and see. I want to go to the state.
“But as of today, it’s not possible.”
If Djokovic retains the title, he will be the fourth person in the modern era to win four Wimbledon trophies in a row.
That would equate him to seven Wimbledon titles with Pete Sampras, behind record holder Roger Federer.
Top pick Djokovic said: “I want to be in a position to fight for another trophy.
“Pete Sampras, his first Wimbledon win, the first tennis match I’ve ever seen on TV. So, of course, there are a lot of connections to this tournament.
“Pete has won it seven times. Hopefully, yes, I can do the same this year. ”
Even if Djokovic wins, he will lose the 2,000 ranking points he has been defending since last year due to his decision to snatch points from the ATP and WTA tournaments in the wake of bans on players from Russia and Belarus. Read the full story
Djokovic was also barred from defending 2,000 points in Melbourne, but he said he was not too worried.
“My priorities are different now,” he said.
Respecting Wimbledon’s position, Djokovic said he felt it was unfair that Russian players, including world number one Daniel Medvedev, were not competing at the Grasscourt Major.
“I understand both sides. It is really difficult to say which is right and which is wrong. But in my heart as an athlete, I put myself in a position where no one would forbid me to play because of this situation, and I didn’t contribute to it, I wouldn’t consider it fair, ”he said.
“I would like to remind you that in the 90’s, from 1992 to 1996, no Serbian athlete was allowed to compete in any sport on the international stage. I was very young at the time, but I know the athletes competing at the time.
“I know how it affected their lives. Many of them have given up the game because four years is too long. ” – Reuters