John McEnroe on potential Wimbledon ‘grudge match’ featuring Novak Djokovic
John McEnroe believes Cameron Norrie would “love” to take on Novak Djokovic in the semi-final at Wimbledon again, but not necessarily because of their recent fiery encounter in Rome.
The pair met in the last four at Wimbledon last year and, after Norrie gave the home fans something to celebrate about by winning the opening, Djokovic ran away with proceedings to win in four sets.
That was a tranquil encounter compared to their last 16 meeting at the Italian Open in May this year as Djokovic accused his opponent of “not” playing fair as he was upset after the British No 1 smashed a ball into him during a rally while he was also irked by Norrie’s constant shouting.
Although Norrie apologised and protested that he wasn’t aware of his rival’s position on the court when he made contact with the ball, Djokovic gave him the death stare and also didn’t hold back in his criticism during his post-match press conference.
A few weeks later and Norrie hit back as he accused the tennis great of also pushing the boundaries as he turned up late for their match, saying Djokovic “never apologised” and adding that “I’ve never seen that before from any player”.
There is no doubt a bit of tension between the two and a meeting at Wimbledon could set them off again.
Seven-time Grand Slam winner and BBC commentator McEnroe was asked about another battle between the two at Wimbledon this year, but says if they do end up meeting then it would once again be a feather in Norrie’s cap.
Seven-time Wimbledon champion Djokovic is seeded second behind world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz this year with Norrie seeded 12th, which means they can only meet during the latter stages of the tournament.
“Is there potential for a grudge match at Wimbledon?” McEnroe asked. “I think Norrie would hope so. I know Novak made a few comments. Like he was being disrespectful. I’m just generally impressed that Norrie has done so well and has really maximised his potential. He should be very proud of that.
“I wouldn’t worry about Djokovic if I was him. I’d worry about some of the other guys, those who have moved past him in the rankings. We’ll see how that plays out. But I’m sure for him he’d love to play Djokovic in the semis. That means he’s in the semis.”
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