England’s Wimbledon At Wimbledon on Monday, Novak Djokovic’s performance was not especially, well, Djokovic-esque.
Even he agreed with this.
As he started his quest for a fourth straight victory and seventh overall in the grass-court Grand Slam competition, he was broken early and trailed 3-1. He bounced back to win that set before losing the next. He stumbled and landed on the grass. More unforced errors were made by him than by his opponent. He grabbed tissues from a black box on the sidelines and blew his nose, suggesting that he could be a little under the weather. Given that he hadn’t participated in a game that mattered in nearly a month, he might have just been feeling weird.
But this is the top-seeded Djokovic, and there’s a reason why he defeated South Korean Soonwoo Kwon at Centre Court under the retractable roof to extend his winning streak at the All England Club to 22 matches and his career total there to 80 matches, making him the first player in tennis history to have at least that many victories at each major.
And there’s a reason why Kwon’s coach Daniel Yoo’s wife’s friends held up colourful placards in a player guest box that said in Korean, “Fight!” and “Don’t get wounded,” according to Yoo.
Kwon thus entered the court nervously. Kwon, who is rated 81st, stated through Yoo’s translation that after just two games, “I felt like, ‘Oh, this is achievable…. I can hang with him a little bit.”
Raducanu, a US Open champion, wins in straight sets 19
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Day 1 saw a fairly regular return to pre-pandemic normal, with capacity crowds, no masks, the Wimbledon Queue in full force, and of course, on-and-off-and-on-again precipitation. The No. 7 seed Hubert Hurkacz, a semifinalist at the All England Club a year ago, lost.
Hurkacz, who had just won on grass over the weekend, was defeated by Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in a match using Wimbledon’s new final-set format, which requires a first-to-10, win-by-two tiebreaker in women’s third sets and men’s fifth sets that are tied at six sets each.
Due to the American’s 70-68 triumph over Nicolas Mahut in the fifth set in 2010 and his 26-24 defeat to Kevin Anderson in the fifth set in 2018, both at Wimbledon and both before the competition implemented deciding-set tiebreakers, that might as well be known as the John Isner Rule.
On Monday, Isner defeated Enzo Couacaud by scores of 6-7 (6), 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-3, and 7-5. He was back on Court 18, the location of the Mahut marathon. Since Isner will be playing Andy Murray, who has won two of these three major championships at Wimbledon, the match is likely to take place on a larger court.
At Centre Court, Murray defeated James Duckworth 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Djokovic, a 35-year-old Serbian who lost to rival Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the French Open, hadn’t played since, and it seemed to show. For extended periods, Kwon’s piercing, flat groundstrokes and delicate drop shots were effective.
“I did not start or play at my best,” admitted Djokovic, who, with Roger Federer, holds the second-most Grand Slam titles in men’s tennis history with 20 titles, only behind Rafael Nadal’s 22. “But I believe that I did when I needed to locate the appropriate shots. I believe that [my] serve saved me in a few crucial situations. I know I’m capable of more.
Also keep in mind that this could be Djokovic’s final big competition of the year and for another 11 months, up until the 2023 French Open.
As things stand, he won’t be permitted entry into the US as a foreigner who hasn’t received his COVID-19 shots and will therefore be forced to skip the US Open, which starts in August. Because he is unvaccinated, he may also wind up skipping the Australian Open for a second time in a row, a decision he made on Saturday.
Djokovic stated after Monday’s match that he is not currently planning on travelling to New York but added: “I’m hopeful some things can change and that I’ll be able to go and play. If I could, I would.
Casper Ruud, a finalist at the French Open, won his first match on Court 12. Albert Ramos-Vinolas was defeated by the third-seeded Norwegian 7-6 (1), 7-6 (9), 6-2.
In the men’s draw, the No. 5 player from Spain, Carlos Alcaraz, the No. 9 player from Britain, John Isner, the No. 20 player from the United States, the No. 22 player from Georgia, Nikoloz Basilashvili, the No. 23 player from the United States, and the No. 30 player from the United States all advanced.
Alcaraz stated that he does not perceive himself as the favourite at Wimbledon, so he does not feel any pressure.
Alcaraz stated, “I don’t feel the pressure because I don’t consider myself one of the favourites to win this tournament. “Obviously, I have a chance to win the event if I play well. On grass, though, a lot of players have more experience and perform better than I do.
“I’m not aware of any pressure. Just continue to gain experience on the grass and take pleasure in each game. #wimbledon
Elena Rybakina : U.S. Open Contender
If the likes of defending champion Iga Swiatek, world number two Aryna Sabalenka and in-form American Coco Gauff falter in this year’s tournament, there are a handful of contenders ready to swoop in – chief among whom may be Elena Rybakina
With eight different women having lifted the U.S. Open trophy in the last nine years, the crowds at Flushing Meadows are well-accustomed to seeing pre-tournament favourites fail to deliver.
If the likes of defending champion Iga Swiatek, world number two Aryna Sabalenka and in-form American Coco Gauff falter in this year’s tournament, there are a handful of contenders ready to swoop in – chief among whom may be Elena Rybakina.
While her greatest success has come on grass, 2022 Wimbledon champion Rybakina’s style can be devastating on hard courts, as she showed in some key clashes with major rivals on the surface this year.
The 24-year-old beat Sabalenka in the Indian Wells final and got the better of Swiatek in straight sets at both the Australian Open and Indian Wells.
However, Elena Rybakina has had her momentum disrupted by an injury, which forced her to pull out of the Cincinnati Masters, meaning doubts over her fitness will hang over the fourth-ranked Kazakh when she begins her U.S. Open campaign next week.
Maria Sakkari marked her 100th consecutive week in the top 10 of the women’s rankings earlier this month, but for all the Greek’s success in recent years, a Grand Slam title has eluded her.
Sakkari, who fell to Gauff in the Washington final this month, will continue her quest for a first major trophy at the U.S. Open, where she reached the semi-final in 2021.
“Starting the U.S. swing with a final and playing good tennis, it’s actually one of the few times I have done it, Sakkari told reporters after her defeat to Gauff. “So I believe it’s going to help me, but no one knows for sure.”
Caroline Garcia will be hoping to improve on her run to the semi-final at last year’s U.S. Open, though the Frenchwoman’s preparations have been far from ideal.
Garcia suffered first-round losses in Washington and Montreal, which were followed by a defeat to Sloane Stephens in her opening game in Cincinnati – where she was the defending champion.
The Czech Republic will have a strong contingent at the tournament with Marketa Vondrousova, Karolina Muchova, Petra Kvitova and Barbora Krejcikova ranked ninth through 12th in the WTA rankings.
Muchova will be feeling particularly confident, having reached the final of the Cincinnati Masters with wins over two top-10 ranked players — Sabalenka and Sakkari.
“Me and Marketa were last year outside of 200. It’s really nice,” Muchova told reporters. “Then there is another bunch of Czechs behind us. It’s nice to see that they’re doing great.”
Muchova’s compatriot Vondrousova will be hoping to build on her title-winning Wimbledon run, while two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova is one of the most experienced players in the draw and will prove a tough test for any opponent.
The presence of former world number ones Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki, who have been given wild cards by organisers, adds another layer of unpredictability to the draw.
Wozniacki, who announced in June that she was coming out of retirement, has played three competitive matches since her return – winning one and losing two.
Seven-times Grand Slam winner Williams had looked in good nick, earning a win over 16th-ranked Veronika Kudermetova in Cincinnati, but withdrew from the Tennis in the Land tournament with a knee injury, leaving her U.S. Open participation in question.
Dominic Thiem admits rib injury, aiming for Davis Cup preparation
Dominic Thiem recognized that he supported a rib injury at the Australian Open. He would attempt to recuperate in time for the Davis Cup qualifiers that start the next month.
Previous U.S. Open champ Thiem has dove to number 98 on the planet because of his ongoing physical issue issues.
The 29-year-old Austrian was given a special case to the Australian Open, where he lost to fifth seed Andrey Rublev in straight sets subsequent to pulling a rib muscle while serving.
“Tragically, the year didn’t get off to the beginning I had expected. I needed to do the best that I can with, particularly in Melbourne, yet I tore a little muscle fiber in my rib “Posted on Instagram by Thiem.
“Because of the discoveries, contending in the Davis Cup ought to be practical. I’ll do all that I can this approaching week to rehearse hard and become in shape.”
Australian Open 2023:Rafael Nadal practices in front of a large crowd.
Rafael Nadal has a lot of fans. The top-seeded player, who will start his Australian Open campaign on Monday against left-handed opponent Jack Draper, walked out for his first practice session in front of a crowd that was packed outside the arena.
Nadal has played seven matches since the end of the last season. He has a record of 0-7, and he is 0-2 so far this year. Nadal is the current champion of the men’s singles event in Australia.
Even though Nadal is the defending champion at Melbourne Park thanks to his comeback from two sets down in last year’s final, which he called “one of the most emotional victories of my tennis career,” he is currently going through one of the worst stretches of his career. So far in 2023, he is 0-2 and has only won one of the seven games he has played since the end of the previous season.
When asked about how weak he felt at a news conference before the tournament on Saturday, Nadal didn’t try to hide anything.
“Yeah. Without knowing, “The 36-year-old man from Spain had a lot of health problems in 2022, including pain in his left foot that wouldn’t go away, broken rib cartilage, and a torn abdominal muscle. Many bad things were said to happen to him in the year 2022. “I’ve had more setbacks than usual lately…. It’s something I have to deal with if I want to keep going and win battles.