Less than a week from the start of Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic has never seemed so favorite to his own succession. Only Carlos Alcaraz, winner of his first tournament on grass last week seems to be able to tickle the Serb.
Winner of the last two Grand Slam tournaments and defending champion at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic arrives in London with the status of immense favorite. If he has not participated in a single grass tournament before the fortnight, the Serb comes out of a victory at Roland Garros two weeks ago where he had been impressive.
In Paris, the world number 2 had notably beaten Carlos Alcaraz, the other favorite of the tournament, diminished by cramps in the semi-finals, before correcting Casper Ruud in the final to win his 23e Grand Slam title.
Before Roland Garros, Novak Djokovic did not seem to be in his best shape. Having never passed the quarter-finals in the Masters 1000 on clay, the Serb arrived at Porte d’Auteuil lacking in confidence.
Unlike him, Alcaraz had just been crowned in Barcelona and Madrid on ocher and seemed more and more comfortable on the surface. Despite everything, during their duel in the last four, the Spaniard diminished, let go in the third set, and let the Serb slip away to a new final.
Goal to match Federer
If the man with 23 Grand Slam titles has already shown his ability to transform during major tournaments, his title at Roland Garros did not seem certain at the start of the fortnight. At Wimbledon, the Serbian seems to tick all the boxes to win another title.
Winner in the last four editions, Djokovic could equal Roger Federer if crowned in London (8 wins, a record). Today, neither the Swiss nor Rafael Nadal will be there to stand in his way.
In the absence of his two great rivals, a first at Wimbledon for 25 years, few players seem able to beat “Nole”. Last year, Jannik Sinner and Nick Kyrgios managed to annoy the Serb but the two players who have returned from injury are not even sure of being present in London.
The British Cameron Norrie who took a set from him in the semi-finals can count on the support of the public but does not arrive in the best mood after his defeats in the 3e round of Roland Garros and in the quarter-finals at Queen’s.
Alcaraz for a revenge
If Medvedev, Ruud, Rune, or even Tsitsipas still do not have a reference tournament on grass, Alcaraz therefore seems to be the best chance to worry Djokovic. Winner of his first grass tournament last week, the Spaniard may have managed to take a step forward.
Having become the fifth youngest player to triumph on all surfaces ahead of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, the Murcian was full of confidence by winning the Queen’s tournament.
First title on grass for Carlos Alcaraz! The 20-year-old Spaniard won the Queen’s tournament against Alex de Minaur (6-4, 6-4) and returned to world No. 1 ahead of Novak Djokovic! \ud83d\ude4c#HomeOfTennis pic.twitter.com/xL7QBM76VG
— Eurosport France (@Eurosport_FR) June 25, 2023
If the grass seems to suit him less than clay, Alcaraz has shown that he is able to adapt to any surface. At Wimbledon, the Spaniard will have to confirm, he who has not passed the round of 16 in London in two appearances.
A little muscle alert
If he drags a small injury since his final at Queen’s, it is to be hoped that the world number one will be at 100% for the start of the fortnight.
With the exception of the Spaniard, if he is spared the physical glitches, which player could prevent Novak Djokovic from slipping to a 24e major tournament title? Even if we are never safe from a surprise, the London tournament has not escaped one of the favorites for more than 20 years. Response Sunday July 16 at the end of the fortnight.