Sport Bilder des Tages Mandatory Credit: Photo by Javier Garcia/Shutterstock 13018062fp Novak Djokovic celebrates victory in the Men s Singles Final Wimbledon Tennis Championships, Day 14, The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, UK - 10 Jul 2022 Wimbledon Tennis Championships, Day 14, The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, UK - 10 Jul 2022 PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTXHUNxGRExMLTxCYPxROMxBULxUAExKSAxONLY Copyright: xJavierxGarcia/Shutterstockx 13018062fp

In the end, nobody was surprised. Novak Djokovic went into the Wimbledon tournament as a big favorite, he was also the favorite in the final against Australian Nick Kyrgios. And Djokovic wouldn’t be Djokovic if he didn’t live up to his role in the end. So, after his success on Sunday, the Serb ate his usual ration of blades of grass on Center Court and then let himself be celebrated. Seven Wimbledon victories are now on his account, only Roger Federer has one more.

Of course, the truth is that it has never been so easy for Djokovic to win the title at the most important tennis tournament in the world. The top Russian players were missing, Alexander Zverev was injured and last year’s finalist Matteo Berrettini, who was in good form, had to pass due to a corona infection. Rafael Nadal’s body went on strike after the quarterfinals, the eternally suffering Spaniard once again became a victim of himself.

This time Djokovic did not play against a single player from the top ten in the world rankings in Wimbledon – on paper he almost inevitably had to lift the trophy at the end. The 35-year-old from Belgrade only played his best tennis in the final and not there for the entire three hours. “I don’t think he did anything great today,” said final opponent Kyrgios later, only to add in admiration: “He’s just so calm. In the important moments, it didn’t feel like he was shaking in any way.”

Novak Djokovic’s mental strength has often been talked about. Especially in Wimbledon he experienced matches in which the fans were almost completely against him. The epic 2019 final against Federer was probably the most psychologically demanding task for him in this respect – he mastered it in an inimitable way at the time.

However, what seems so obvious is anything but that. Especially in 2022, which is so difficult for Djokovic. “This year is not like the past. It began as it did. And that definitely influenced me,” Djokovic said on Sunday after his triumph. His entry dispute with the Australian authorities in January ended for him in a deportation hotel, Djokovic had tried in court to force his start at the Australian Open. He failed and had given himself an image that stuck to him from then on: unvaccinated, stubborn, resistant to advice.

“Everything that came to Australia, especially the tournaments, was a huge challenge for me,” said Djokovic, speaking of how difficult it was to be constantly reminded of what happened at the beginning of the year. “Mentally and emotionally I wasn’t in a good shape. I was agitated inside and I needed time to sort myself out.”

It took Djokovic a long time to get back in shape. That was finally the case before the French Open, but there he lost to Nadal in the quarterfinals. Now he’s back where he sees his own self-image: right at the top. But he will not make it any easier for himself in the coming months. The old stories will probably catch up with him soon enough. “Well I am not vaccinated and will not be vaccinated. But hopefully I’ll get some good news from the USA because I’d really like to play there.”

The US Open would be the logical, big goal for a player who mainly looks at the Grand Slam tournaments. But for now, unvaccinated aliens are categorically barred from entering the United States. Djokovic has to hope for an exception – but maybe things will be similar for him to before Paris. In France, the restrictions on unvaccinated people were lifted around four weeks before the start of the tournament, and the Serb was able to compete. In New York it will open on August 29th. Djokovic would have to play one or two preparatory tournaments in the US.

And if that doesn’t work? “Then I’ll have to see what my plan is. But I don’t put any pressure on myself or see the need to play certain tournaments.” Djokovic names the Laver Cup and Davis Cup as possible other highlights and of course the ATP finals at the end of the year. And he may even be able to play in Melbourne again next January. In Australia, unvaccinated people are now allowed to re-enter the country.

However, Djokovic would need an exemption. After his trial, a three-year entry ban was imposed on him by the authorities. This applies until further notice, but the new Australian government could pardon him. Maybe that’s why tactician Djokovic found extremely friendly words for the Australian Open and the Center Court in Melbourne at Wimbledon: “Australia is probably the place where I feel most comfortable because of my record there and the many titles I’ve won. If I had to choose a court that I would most like to play on, it would probably be there.”

Should he actually compete in Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena next year, in the end no one would be surprised if he won the title. Just like it was at Wimbledon on Sunday.