Australian out to imitate Novak Djokovic on Centre Court

Novak Djokovic

Ajla Tomljanovic will be up against it in the third round of the US Open as she faces Serena Williams who will be firmly backed by the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd but she has a plan and it involves imitating Novak Djokovic.

Tomljanovic revealed that she envisioned facing Williams in the third round ahead of the tournament.

As for how she intends to deal with a crowd willing a loss upon her she will be trying a Novak Djokovic mind trick.

Novak Djokovic has said on a few occasions that he trains himself to hear his own name being chanted by fans at big games.

Tomljanovic acknowledged that Williams has been a trailblazer in so many respects and its a dream come true to be part of her farewell series.

It will be the first meeting between the two players and Tomljanovic concedes that there is a surreal quality to preparing to face someone you have idolised for so many years.

She said that Williams has broken down barriers for players on the WTA to play deep into their 30s and even into their 40s, something which hasn’t been common for the top women.

John McEnroe says GOAT debate will come down to who wins most Slams and not ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’

However, she is out to ensure that her idol’s run ends and her own stretches into the Round of 16.

“She’s paved the way for so many, inspired me to go for my dreams,” Tomljanovic said after her second round win.

“Even her longevity. I’m kind of in the part of my career now where they call you on the older side. She’s made that kind of nonexistent.”

“No matter the fact that I’ve been a Serena fan since I was a kid,” she said, “on Friday night I’ll just be a competitor and I’ll try my best to win.”

“I think it’s hard to block out when she’s standing across the net,” Tomljanovic said.

“Like, I know who she is. I just remember watching her in the Wimby finals with my sister in front of the TV after my practices. It’s a little surreal to me that I made it, and played in the same era as her.

“I remember Novak [Djokovic] saying one time when they asked him a lot about this, when the crowd was against him, he just pretends it’s for him. When they chant, ‘Rafa, Roger, whoever,’ he hears `Novak, Novak.’ I kind of liked that response. I might use that on Friday night.”

Serena Williams could be playing her last match this evening if the Australian gets her way, but it will take some stopping the 23-time Grand Slam champion, who ousted world No 2 Anett Kontaveit last time out.