PARIS, 22 JUNE: Novak Djokovic (in photo) believes he is at the peak of his powers as he targets a second Wimbledon title with his confidence buoyed by avoiding Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal in the draw.
The world number one and top seed captured the All England Club title in 2011 before Federer reclaimed it in 2012 for the Swiss star’s seventh triumph. "I believe I’m at the peak of my career and playing really good tennis," said the 26-year-old Serb.
Djokovic goes into his ninth Wimbledon having opted not to play a grasscourt warm-up following his epic five-set semi-final loss to Nadal at the French Open.
But he insists that shattering defeat — which left him still searching for an elusive Roland Garros title — can only make him stronger for Wimbledon.
"I wanted the title so much, but I don’t think it’s gonna take a toll on me because I have been in these particular situations before," he said.
"So hopefully I can get inspired again to play my best tennis in Wimbledon."
Djokovic enjoyed the luck of the draw on Friday when Federer, seeking a record eighth Wimbledon title, two-time winner Nadal, and Murray, the 2012 runner-up, were all placed in the opposite half of the draw. That means Djokovic can only face one of those rivals and not before the final.
"It is the one I always dreamed of winning and it was the highlight of my career. I love playing in Wimbledon — the grass is the most special surface in our sport," he said.
Djokovic endured a light-hearted build-up to Wimbledon, which starts on Monday, by playing an exhibition at Stoke Park on the edge of London. In one match, he and Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov performed tongue-in-cheek impressions of Maria Sharapova’s on-court routine.
By Friday evening, the video had been viewed more than 300,000 times on YouTube.
Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion and the girlfriend of Dimitrov, was also warming up at the plush Hurlingham Club in the capital.
"Look at these two clowns," tweeted the Russian in response. But there is a serious side to Djokovic, of course.
During the French Open, he was heartbroken by the news that his childhood coach Jelena Gencic had passed away.
He often described Gencic as his "second mother".
Maria Sharapova blasted Serena Williams on Saturday for the American’s controversial comments over a high-profile rape case and even criticised the Wimbledon champion’s private life. In an astonishing attack on the world number one, which comes just two days before Wimbledon gets underway, Sharapova told Williams to keep her opinions to herself. Williams, the 16-time Grand Slam title-winner, was forced to apologise for her comments regarding the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school American football players in the Ohio town of Steubenville. afp