What has happened to Novak Djokovic in 2017? Heading into last summer’s Wimbledon, the Serbia star was clear of his peers at the top of the world rankings having won five of the last six Grand Slam events.
Twelve months on and it has all gone wrong; Djokovic has advanced to the semi-finals just once and he has lost his spot as world number one to Andy Murray.
The writing has been on the wall since the first major of the calendar year. Since 2008, the Serbian has won the Australian Open six times – an incredible record to say the least.
This year, he crashed out in the second round to world number 117 Denis Istomin. Worst of all, Djokovic was two sets to one up in that encounter and it would appear that suffering such an embarrassing defeat has affected his confidence and hurt his pride.
But that is the nature of sport. It isn’t how you cope when you are winning, it is more about how you can respond when you are losing. Even the greatest champions tend to go through difficult spells; just look at Rafael Nadal.
Everyone labelled the Spaniard as finished after a poor run following his 2014 French Open success but he has found his best form this year, reaching the Australian Open final before claiming a 10th title at Roland Garros.
If Djokovic is to get back to winning ways, Wimbledon is the perfect place to do it. Over the years, the Serbian has played some stunning tennis at Wimbledon and he will be a serious contender if he remains focused and confident.
Despite his recent struggles, 6/1 to lift the Wimbledon crown for a fourth time represents serious value considering his past record at this event. With 54 wins and only nine defeats here, Djokovic should go far...
Remember, this is a man who has won 12 Grand Slam events. Comparatively, Roger Federer has 18 and Nadal has 15. At one time, some tennis fans believed that Djokovic would go on to surpass both men – further enhancing his status as one of the greatest male tennis stars of all-time.
Has his 2017 season tarnished his reputation? Not necessarily – everyone is entitled to a blip from time to time as long as they recover.
Don’t rule him out of winning the US Open either. At 7/2, he is perhaps a little short for my liking but that is based on the premise that he performs reasonably well at Wimbledon.
If he goes on to win the grass-based event, Djokovic will shorten up even more. The 30 year old has reached the semi-finals or further in every US Open since 2007 and he will take some stopping if the swagger returns.
Here at 888Sport, we have priced up a few Djokovic-related specials on Wimbledon ahead of this year’s event.
Of course you can back the Serbian at 6/1 to win the competition but for those looking elsewhere, a semi-final or quarter-final exit is available at 9/10. Losing or winning in the final is currently 3/1 and plenty of punters will be keen to take that price whilst an early exit between the first and fourth round is 2/1.
Whatever happens in the final two majors of the year, Djokovic deserves plenty of respect for everything he has achieved in the sport. He is always going to be the pantomime villain with tennis fans but that won’t bother him too much.
If he can get the better of his rivals at Wimbledon, the confidence will return and we could be set for more Djokovic dominance in the coming years. Don’t write him off; the Serbian may be set to bounce back...