Thursday, January 24, 2019 05:52:31 PM
Three weeks after his heartbreaking French Open final defeat, Novak Djokovic resurfaces to defend his Wimbledon title and prove that his Paris scars have healed.
The world number one has stayed resolutely out of the spotlight since his Roland Garros upset by Stan Wawrinka ended his latest bid to complete the career Grand Slam.
Even his usual prolific social media activity has been reduced to scraps with a mere half-dozen postings on Twitter, only one of which pictured him working out on a grass court.
Despite his recent low profile, his rivals have no doubt that the Serb will be fired up to defend his Wimbledon crown just as he was in 2011 when he captured his maiden title in London.
"I'm sure after losing the French Open final he wants more, he wants to come back and win the next big one," said Wawrinka.
Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, defeated by Djokovic in the 2014 final, also sees the Serb as favourite.
"He is the champion, the world number one and plays well on grass," said Federer. Djokovic's loss to Wawrinka in Paris was just his third in 44 matches this year.
With the Australian Open already under his belt, the shattering loss also ended his chances of going on to become just the third man in history-and first since 1969 -- to clinch a calendar Grand Slam.
Such Paris disappointments have previously worked in his favour.
His 2011 semi-final loss to Federer at Roland Garros ended a 41-match win streak that year.
However, just four weeks later, he defeated Rafael Nadal to secure a first Wimbledon title and then went on to his maiden US Open triumph.
Djokovic is also the most consistent of the top players at the majors-the last time he failed to make at least the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam was at Roland Garros in 2009.
But he argues that his record sometimes works against him.
"I think people tend to create more of a story where it's just me," he said.
World number two Federer, who won the last of his 17 majors at Wimbledon in 2012, will be seeded to meet Djokovic in the July 12 final.
He will be 34 in August-the oldest man to win Wimbledon in the modern era was Arthur Ashe who was 31 years and 11 months when he triumphed at the All England Club in 1975.
However, despite the weight of numbers suggesting that his best years are behind him, Federer fervently believes that another Wimbledon is not beyond him and he was buoyed by his eighth Halle title at the weekend.
It was his 15th career grass-court title and 86th of his career.
"I hope this is a good omen," he said.
Andy Murray, the 2013 champion, saw his 2014 campaign sabotaged by a combination of back pain and an inspired Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals.
But the 28-year-old world number three, fresh from a record-equalling fourth Queen's Club title, believes he's playing better than when he secured his historic Wimbledon triumph.
"Physically I'm definitely in a better place than I was then and I'm using my variety much better," said Murray.
Two-time champion Rafael Nadal is likely to be seeded outside of the top eight, making him a potentially dangerous fourth round opponent.
But the Spaniard, down at 10 in the world-his lowest ranking for a decade-is struggling to rediscover the form and on-court presence which once made him the sport's most formidable obstacle.
The nine-time French Open champion was beaten for only the second time in his Paris career by Djokovic in a morale-sapping quarter-final loss.
He then clinched the Stuttgart grass-court title which only proved to be a false dawn as just days later the 29-year-old was losing to Alexander Dolgopolov in his Queen's opener.
His recent trips to Wimbledon have also been chastening affairs, featuring losses in the second, first and fourth rounds.
Despite Wawrinka's second major title at the French Open, the dominance of the sport's four heavyweights is unlikely to be seriously threatened at Wimbledon where Lleyton Hewitt, in 2002, was the last champion from outside the "Big Four".
Wawrinka, now at four in the world, has never got beyond the quarter-finals, while fifth-ranked Kei Nishikori can only boast a fourth-round best.
World number six Tomas Berdych was runner-up in 2010 but has since only made the quarter-finals on one occasion.
In the rest of the top 10, David Ferrer has a best of a last-eight spot as does US Open champion Marin Cilic while Milos Raonic, who recently underwent foot surgery was a semi-finalist in 2014.
A match billed as a runfest was turned upside-down by India's spin twins Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal on Wednesday, as New Zealand were crushed by eight wickets in the first one-day international in Napier.India arrived at the ground with captain Virat Kohli expecting 300-plus to be par but when ...
AP, New Delhi :A scion of India's most famous political dynasty on Wednesday formally entered politics, with the opposition Congress party assigning her a position as it prepares for national elections due before May.Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is the 47-year-old daughter of Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. She has in the ...
After creating an immense sensation in the Punjabi film industry, Sonam Bajwa is now ready to make her foray into Bollywood with Varun Dhawan. Yesterday Varun posted a video on social media where he was en route to Punjab for shooting and while on board Varun introduced film’s producer Bhushan ...
IN a surprise visit to 11 government hospitals and health complexes in eight districts including Dhaka on Tuesday, the Anti-Corruption Commission found 92 doctors out of a total of 230 absent at their workplaces. Eleven teams from the ACC made the visits between 9:00am and 2:00pm.Recently, the ACC received allegations ...
THE Anti-Corruption Commission on Tuesday suspended one of its directors for allegedly leaking information about its investigation beforehand and also having nexus with the accused. The suspended official was recently promoted as director. In May last year, the ACC also dismissed one of its assistant directors and suspended another for ...
Sports Reporter :Rangpur Riders beat Khulna Titans by six wickets in the 25th match of the UCB 6th Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 cricket at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in the city's Mirpur on Tuesday.Chasing Khulna's competitive 181 for the loss of six wickets in the allotted 20 overs, ...
AFP, Melbourne :Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas showed resilience and maturity Tuesday to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) win over Roberto Bautista Agut.Roger Federer's conqueror had to contend with dropping his serve early in each of the first three sets to the Spanish ...
AFP, Beijing :A group of more than 100 former diplomats and academics have signed an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping calling for the release of two Canadians who have been detained on allegations of espionage.Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were on December 10 arrested for ...
AFP, Aachen :France and Germany will on Tuesday sign a new friendship treaty to deepen their alliance at a time of crisis for the EU, drawing fire from the far right and a flurry of alarmist fake news reports.French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are to sign ...
AP, Davos, Switzerland :The world economy absorbed more bad news Monday: The International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecast for 2019. And China, the world's second-biggest economy, said it had slowed to its weakest pace since 1990.The IMF cut its estimate for global growth this year to 3.5 percent, from ...
The amorous Sherlyn Chopra has always treated her fans with her raunchy photoshoots and now the seductress diva is back with another treat for her fans. After treating the fans a few days back with a short teaser, now the diva has treated her fans with the full music video. ...
WITH alleged support from a section of officials, the encroachment of Karnafuli banks is still rampant by some powerful quarters flouting the High Court order. Quoting investigation report done by the National River Conservation Commission (NRCC), the media yesterday reported that none of the 2,181 illegal structures has been removed ...
Banned former Australian vice-captain David Warner is expected to undergo minor surgery on his elbow Tuesday after returning home from the Bangladesh Premier League with an injury.Warner, alongside former skipper Steve Smith and batsman Cameron Bancroft, was suspended from international cricket over a ball-tampering scandal during a Test match in ...