Novak Djokovic senses fear creeping into Roger Federer's game and thinks the Swiss star was so shaken by his lopsided French Open final defeat that his five-year reign at Wimbledon could end.
No. 3-ranked Djokovic toppled Federer in the Australian Open semi-finals before landing a first major title in January.
“Some things are changing. I think he’s a little bit shaken with that loss and mentally he has been struggling in the last couple of months,” Djokovic said on Wednesday. “It’s normal to have ups and downs after four years of absolute dominance on the men’s tour.
“New names are coming, fresh talented players who believe more they can win against him and I am one of them. Suddenly he is worried a little bit,” he said.
The 21-year-old Djokovic will not let Sunday’s loss to No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the Queen’s Club final curb his ambitions at Wimbledon.
He is already relaxing in London, participating on Wednesday in a knockabout with London Mayor Boris Johnson by the River Thames in the shadow of the British Parliament to promote his sponsor’s planned outdoor sporting zones in the capital.
“Playing the Queen’s final gave me even more motivation to do well at Wimbledon,” Djokovic said. “The good thing about the sport now is that people are talking about more than two players.”
“Of course Federer and Nadal still dominate, but coming to Wimbledon as a Grand Slam champion gives me much more reason to believe I can challenge the top two players ... It’s a matter of mental ability if you can hold on,” he said.
The Serbian player says loosening the grip of Federer and Nadal is advantageous for the sport.
“This year has been really interesting for tennis fans to see,” he said. “Roger has been losing more often and you can see some new faces coming up and winning the major titles.”
Nadal has lost the last two Wimbledon finals to Federer, but has gained confidence from winning his first grass-court title at Queen’s on the weekend.
Djokovic was forced to withdraw during last year’s Wimbledon semi-final against Nadal with a bad toe and a bothersome lower back.
“Nadal is very motivated to win the Wimbledon title this year, he’s been very close the last two years,” Djokovic said.
“But I’m one of the players behind intending to make a surprise. I just have to behave normally and be aggressive,” he said.
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being
FULL GAME: Henry Sosa pitched nine innings for the Guardians, allowing only six hits all night, while the Monkeys’ offense were also shut out of their game Outfielder Lin An-ko carried a big bat this week — before his Uni-President Lions ran into the Fubon Guardians last night — blasting four home runs, including a grand slam as his side won four games in a row and moved into second on the CPBL table. However, the Lions could not sustain their super-charged offense for the whole week, as they were shut out 4-0 by the Guardians in New Taipei City. Fubon’s rookie catcher, Jhang Jin-de, took a page from Lin’s playbook. With two men on, Jhang smacked a three-run homer in the sixth inning. Henry Sosa of the Dominican Republic