Novak Djokovic ready to copy Taylor Fritz – ‘It’s possible, he proved it’

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic hoping to copy Taylor Fritz
Novak Djokovic wants to follow in Taylor Fritz's footsteps

Novak Djokovic has not given up hope of playing at Wimbledon as he has confirmed that he wants to emulate Taylor Fritz and compete just weeks after undergoing surgery.

Tennis great Djokovic is busy with an extensive rehab programme after he went under the knife on June 5 to repair the medial meniscus in his right knee which he tore in the fourth round of the French Open.

The 24-time Grand Slam winner was initially expected to not only miss Wimbledon, but there were also doubts over his participation at the Paris Olympics in late July.

Djokovic, though, is hoping to take a leaf out of Fritz’s book as the American suffered a similar injury at the 2021 French Open, but he was back playing at Wimbledon a few weeks later.

Fritz told Tennis365 at the Queen’s Club Championship: “It’s possible for Novak to play. It’s the exact same thing that I had and I played. Obviously, I wasn’t contending to win a title, I was just showing up to hopefully win a couple of rounds – but it is possible.”

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The American also revealed that the former world No 1 had reached out to him to discuss his injury and now Djokovic has admitted that he wants to follow in Fritz’s footsteps.

“He had a very similar situation and after 20 or 21 days after the operation he was playing, three rounds, with matches to four and five sets. It’s possible, he proved it,” the seven-time Wimbledon winner told Spanish media after practising at SW19.

Fritz didn’t play any warm-up matches ahead of Wimbledon following his operation and he kicked off his campaign with a four-set win over Brandon Nakashima and followed it up with a five-set victory over Steve Johnson before his campaign was ended by Alexander Zverev in four sets.

The American stated that his goals back in 2021 were simply to win a couple of matches.

“For me it was a little bit different. If Novak goes to Wimbledon he wants to be there to win. Playing a whole tournament is different than me at the time going there,” he said.

“I was going to be a low seed anyway (31). Winning a couple of rounds was a solid result for me.”

And therein lies the difference as Djokovic has confirmed he will only play if he feels he can win the title.

“I didn’t come here to play a few rounds,” he told BBC Sport. “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.”