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Other SportsWimbledon 2024: Djokovic closing in on full fitness ahead of week two

Wimbledon 2024: Djokovic closing in on full fitness ahead of week two

Novak Djokovic says he is closing in on full fitness after booking his place in the fourth round of Wimbledon.

The Serbian beat Alexei Popyrin from a set down to guarantee he continues on to the second week at the All England Club.

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It was a 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 win against the Australian, who proved more than a match for the decorated tennis icon.

Play was briefly paused as news filtered into the grounds that England had won their Euro 2024 quarter-final against Switzerland, but Djokovic did not seem to mind as he mimicked scoring his own goal on the court.

And he had to dig deep himself, beating the man he shared a four-set thriller with at the Australian Open earlier in the year.

Set four was decided by a tie-breaker that did not quite reach the heights of Cameron Norrie’s against Alexander Zverev earlier in the day, but it still required the World No.2 to dig deep.

BUt as usual, he hit a different level and admitted after the match he is closing in on a return to full fitness after struggling with an issue in his right leg.

He said: “I think each match it’s getting better. My feeling of movement, confidence particularly extreme balls, reaching, sliding.

“I definitely got better today than in my second match.

“Hopefully the direction or trajectory will keep going in a positive way. Let’s see what happens in the next one.

“It was another tough match. I didn’t expect anything less than what we experienced on the court today from Alexei.

“I know he was going to come to the match with confidence, a lot of self-belief. He was close to winning [when we played] in Australia earlier this year.

“With that serve and powerful forehand, he’s dangerous on any surface.

“I knew he was in form and he was going to come out believing he can win. He was the better player in the first set.

“I think I played a good second and third and the fourth was anybody’s game. He was serving very well. It was very difficult to read his serve.”

On the England interruption, he added: “I assumed it was a penalty shootout between England and Switzerland – it felt like for a set and a half the crowd really wanted to understand what the score is in the football match.

“Did England win in the end? That’s why you guys stayed. Congrats to England.

“I tried to shoot a penalty, I’m left-footed, but Alexei defended it well.”

Djokovic will face 15th seed Holger Rune, who beat Quentin Halys.

Mitch Fretton
Mitch Fretton
Mitch is a freelance sports journalist with experience working for LiveScore, GOAL and Colchester United. He has experience working from both his desk at home and in the press box at games covering the Champions League and international football.
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