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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Djokovic happy to be dark horse

Photo Titled Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

What a difference a few months makes. At the start of the year when he arrived in Melbourne for what would prove to be an unsuccessful defence of his Australian Open crown, Novak Djokovic made it plain that he considered himself a big contender for the title.

Fast forward nearly six months and the Serb is safely through to Wimbledon’s third round, but he insists he is pleased not to be one of the two names projected as likely finalists by the media, bookmakers and many tennis fans.

“I’m aware of my qualities,” he said. “It’s just that I don’t want to create an extra pressure on myself because I know how hard it is to deal with it. And I’m happy that the people are not talking about me at this moment. I wish for that so I can really focus on my game and try to perform my best tennis as possible.

“I have no expectations really for Wimbledon this year. I don’t try to create pressure on myself. I just play each match one at a time.

“There are so many side factors when you’re a favourite. Media is one, which has an effect on your psychological situation at certain moments. When I played this year’s Australian Open, I had a lot of expectations as the defending champion. I felt a huge amount of pressure and I couldn’t really deal with it in the best way.”

Oddly, Djokovic claimed he was nervous before facing the German qualifier Simon Greul today, even though he eventually despatched him in straight sets.

“I was just waiting for him to make mistakes, which was obviously the wrong thing to do because he was going for his shots,” said the Serb. “He’s very aggressive and has a really good return and he was putting a lot of pressure on my serve. I was dropping service games, and this really shouldn’t happen in upcoming matches.”

Speaking of which, his next is against the American Mardy Fish.

“He’s a big server, so playing against him on any fast surface is a difficult match,” said Djokovic. “And you have to respect his achievements in the last couple of years.

“He has played especially well in the Slams. I won our matches in the last two or three years, but it was really close. So I can’t really rate myself as a big favourite.

“The key will be my return, if I’m going to be able to make him play more than he expects.”

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