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Novak Djokovic has responded to John McEnroe after the seven-time Grand Slam champion claimed the Serb was still suffering from the “trainwreck” Australian Open. Djokovic started his Wimbledon title defence with a four-set win over Soon-woo Kwon and had his sights firmly set on his fortnight at the All England Club.
Djokovic is hoping to make up the gap between himself and Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam race at Wimbledon this fortnight, after the 36-year-old pulled ahead by winning the Australian Open and French Open to total 22 Majors to Djokovic and Roger Federer’s 20 each. The world No 3 was unable to play the Australian Open when he was deported on the eve of the tournament after having his visa cancelled twice and McEnroe claimed he was still affected mentally.
“We learned nothing except for the fact that is going through by winning the match,” McEnroe said after the 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 win, adding: “”He was one match from the (calendar) Slam at the US Open last year. Then there was the train wreck in Australian then Nadal went and won the thing. I don’t think he was expecting that.
“That has got to affect you mentally. He is a human being. For me he got out of shape a little bit because he was bummed out. Now there are no ranking points at Wimbledon. He will be No.8 in the world after this event even if he wins it. It is a crazy time. It is unprecedented times for him.”
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And the American’s comments were put to the top seed, who quickly shut down the idea that he was stuff struggling from the aftermath of his ordeal in Australia despite struggling in his first few tournaments back earlier this year. Asked whether he had ever felt “bummed out”, Djokovic said: “Yes and no. Yes, because I’ve experienced something that I’ve never experienced in my life in Australia.
“So this post-Australian period of next several months was challenging emotionally for me because of a lot of different factors.” But the 35-year-old rubbished the idea that it had hindered his drive to win more Majors, continuing: “In terms of my motivation on the court, fulfilling my everyday chores, trying to win more titles and be one of the contenders for more Grand Slams, it hasn’t changed much, to be honest.
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“I try to keep it together with the team in such way where we stick to the routines that we know that work for us. But, of course, the sensation coming back on the court with everything that happened post-Australia, particularly first few tournaments, was different. It was a different feel. Not very pleasant to me.”
But the reigning Wimbledon champion said that feeling was long done as he channelled his efforts into winning a fourth title on the trot at SW19. “Right now I don’t feel the traces of that, so to say, any more. I move on. I play tournament by tournament. I try to make the most out of experience,” he said.
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