Djokovic will only play Wimbledon if title in reach after surgery

By Sports Desk June 25, 2024

Novak Djokovic will only play at Wimbledon if he feels he has a chance of winning the tournament, with a decision on his involvement to be made before Friday's draw.

Djokovic tore the medial meniscus in his right knee at the French Open earlier this month, withdrawing ahead of a scheduled quarter-final against Casper Ruud.

He underwent surgery on the injury less than three weeks ago but still travelled to SW19 on Monday and was seen out on the practice courts.

However, the Serbian will only participate if he feels he has a realistic chance of an eighth Wimbledon crown, which would equal Roger Federer's all-time record. 

"I didn't come here to play a few rounds," Djokovic told BBC Sport. "You can never know 100% what is going to happen at a tournament, but I'm going to make a decision based on the feeling that I have.

"If I know I can play close to my maximum or at maximum, then I'll play. If not, then I'll give somebody else a chance to play."

Asked if his maximum meant a title push, Djokovic replied: "That's why I'm here. 

"I don't plan to retire or for this to be my last Wimbledon. The injury happened at an unfortunate moment but it's part of the sport."

Having gone through a two-hour session with bandaging on his affected knee on Monday, Djokovic added his recovery is going well and said he will give himself as much time as possible to make a decision.

"It's been going well. Rehab is going in the right direction every single day, a few per cent better and better. That's what's giving me hope and encouragement," he said.

"I still have a week left, which is plenty of time. I'm going to give my best to have a clear understanding of where I am before the draw is made, and we'll take it from there.

"I'm taking things gradually. I'm not pushing myself 100% yet but I'm hoping that's going to come in the next few days."

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    Krejcikova came from a set down to emerge victorious, beating the 2022 Wimbledon champion 3-6 6-3 6-4 in a remarkable turnaround on Centre Court. 

    The world number 31 became the seventh Czech-born woman to reach a women's singles final at Wimbledon in the Open Era, following in the footsteps of her former coach. 

    Novotna, who won the competition in 1998 when she defeated France's Nathalie Tauziat, passed away in 2017 from ovarian cancer at the age of 49. 

    The pair first met when Krejcikova was 18 years old, with the 28-year-old reduced to tears as she dedicated the win to her former friend in her post-match interview. 

    "I just miss her very much, I miss her so much," Krejcikova said after reaching her first Wimbledon women's singles final.

    "Definitely I remember thinking about Jana a lot. I have so many beautiful memories and when I step on the court here, I am fighting for every ball, and I am sure that is what she would want me to do.

    "She was telling me a lot of stories about her journey here and how she was trying to win Wimbledon. I was so far away when we had this talk.

    "Now I am here and I am in a final!

    "I remember thinking about her a lot. I have so many beautiful memories and when I step on the court I fight for every single ball as that is what she would want me to do."

    Krejcikova will face Jasmine Paolini in Saturday's final in what will be the first women's singles final at a grand slam during the Open Era where two opponents have previously met in a grand slam qualifier. 

    The Czech won in straight sets in the aforementioned clash at the Australian Open in 2018 and is expecting a tough encounter against the world number seven. 

    "A big fight. I know that she is a huge fighter and she showed today, but it will be the same from me. We are playing great tennis and it will be a great match on Saturday."

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    Krejcikova extended her unbeaten record against the Kazakh world number four to three matches, emerging a 3-6 6-3 6-4 victor on Centre Court. 

    The opening two games saw Rybakina assert her dominance, securing a break point early on as she racked up a four-game lead without reply. 

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