Novak Djokovic’s young rivals to use his tactics against him at Wimbledon

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The likes of Daniil Medvedev and Holger Rune have been studying up on Novak Djokovic’s grass court tactics as they look to oust the reigning Wimbledon champion in the coming weeks.

Novak Djokovic is already the man to beat at Wimbledon with the tournament still more than a week away. The world No 1 has seven titles at SW19 and hasn’t lost a match there since 2017. While his younger rivals have less experience on grass, they have been studying up on Djokovic’s tactics and can try to beat him at his own game at Wimbledon.

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic isn’t playing a warm-up tournament on the grass this year and will be going straight to Wimbledon for his title defence as he bids to win a record 24th Major and his eighth at the All England Club. But some of his rivals are trying to brush up on the surface, competing at the ATP 500s at Queen’s and Halle this week.

Daniil Medvedev is over in Germany and has already booked his spot in the quarter-final. After Russians were banned from Wimbledon 12 months ago, the 27-year-old will be raring to go at the All England Club – and he has been taking notes from Djokovic and Roger Federer ahead of his return.

“Grass is so tough for me,” the world No 3 admitted, despite holding a title on the surface from Mallorca in 2021. “You can actually play a perfect match and lose on two tie-breaks, so it’s a little bit strange for me.”

And Medvedev said he had been watching Djokovic and Federer on the grass to adapt his game. He continued: “When I see top players like Roger and Novak, from one side they can seem like aliens but you try to see the best in them, and how they are able on this surface, where it’s sometimes tricky to beat anyone, to have so many titles.

“Wimbledon, Halle, whatever. It’s just amazing and that’s what I try to watch. Happy to win and looking forward to the next matches.” Meanwhile, Holger Rune – who has a winning 2-1 record over the Serb – earned his first ever wins on the grass at the cinch Championships this week.

Novak Djokovic

And he revealed that he had been watching Djokovic’s 2019 Wimbledon final victory against Federer ahead of his first-round match. The Dane said: “The day before my first round, I was watching Roger against Novak, this epic final where Roger had those match points and stuff.

“I was watching a little bit on their movements on the side, and honestly, it looks like they are playing on hard courts because they are so balanced. It doesn’t look like they have to make those adjustment steps in the side which you see many players does.”

The world No 6 has been taking notes, as he went to his fitness trainer with a plan of replicating what Djokovic and Federer did. “I have been trying to be like really, really strong on my legs in the side so I don’t have to run one, two, three more steps,” he added.

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