© Ella Ling

Novak Djokovic

Mats Wilander: No one can hurt Novak Djokovic


Mats Wilander discusses Novak Djokovic’s semi-final with Roger Federer at the Wimbledon Championships. Wilander, a former world No 1,¬†has said that Djokovic is a better player since winning last summer’s Wimbledon, as “there’s a belief now – last year he was just pushing hard all the time”. Wilander also spoke of how solid Djokovic is from the baseline: “I don’t think anyone has a shot at the moment which can hurt Djokovic – I don’t think Federer’s forehand can hurt¬†Djokovic any more.”

Your thoughts on Federer and Djokovic’s semi-final? “I think Djokovic is the slight favourite. The reason that Federer has a chance is that it’s on grass. Federer’s mindset going into the match will be, ‘I could get a bit lucky, I could serve well. There could be a few bad bounces on a break-point, or a set-point, or at 3-all in the tiebreak.’ If there are enough of those, Federer could think he has a good chance of winning. From what I’ve seen so far, though, Djokovic is the favourite.”

One thing in particular which Djokovic will do well against Federer? “He’s just so solid from the baseline. I don’t think anyone has a shot which can hurt him at the moment. I don’t think Federer’s forehand can hurt him anymore. Federer also hasn’t served as well as I would have hoped, or he should have done.”

Will there be a different mental factor because they have never played on grass before? “I think so. There’s more respect for Roger Federer when they’re playing on grass than on other surfaces. Someone has said that playing Federer on Wimbledon’s Centre Court is like playing the All Blacks at rugby in New Zealand. It’s the same. It’s the worst possible match-up, Federer on Centre Court at Wimbledon. There’s no way that Novak Djokovic doesn’t also think like that.”

How has Djokovic changed or improved since winning last year’s Wimbledon? “Djokovic is a better player this year than he was last year. There’s a belief. Last year he was just pushing as hard as he could all the time. This year, he think, ‘I need to play well now’, and when you have that mindset there are more levels you can reach. Before maybe he would have thought that Federer was too good for him. Now, he thinks, ‘okay, Federer is good, but I’m going to play like this way or that way’. That’s a much better mindset than he had last year.”

Could this be Federer’s last chance to win Wimbledon? “I think he really wants to win the Olympics, I think that would be huge for him. I’m not sure whether he would choose the Olympics over this tournament, but he will go into this match against Djokovic thinking that there’s always a second chance this summer at Wimbledon. So he could have another try at doing what he possibly didn’t do here. So that’s going to make him more relaxed than otherwise. If there wasn’t an Olympics here this summer, maybe he would be thinking, ‘Oh god, this is my only chance’. I think that’s really important.”

Can Andy Murray win this tournament? “I think Murray can win Wimbledon this summer. It’s closer this year than it has been before and that’s not just because Nadal is out. He just seems to be a better player, and more positive. That was tough against David Ferrer, with the royals in the Royal Box and all that stuff, and he delivered. He didn’t win easily, but he won in four sets and not five. I would assume that he would prefer to play Federer in the final as it would be more up in the air what’s going to happen. How should Murray approach it? What’s Federer going to do? With Djokovic, it’s like, ‘okay, oh god, this mountain is so high’. With Federer, you will get out-played at times, but you will also get free points. Going into it, that’s surely an easier match.”

Annabel Croft and Mats Wilander are presenting Live @ Wimbledon this fortnight. http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/interactive/index.html



  • Jeu29a

    Wilander dropped his pearl of wisdom again… some jerk does never learn.

  • Reto

    LOL – how wrong he was – again…