With his win in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, Novak Djokovic is through to the semifinals at Wimbledon.
The defending champion advanced to the semis with a win over seventh-seeded Andrey Rublev. While Rublev gave Djokovic a bit of a scare at the start, taking the first set, Djokovic took the next three en route to a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 victory.
Following his victory, Djokovic was interviewed on Centre Court, and he issued a stern warning to the rest of the field.
You may try and beat him, but “it ain’t happening.”
“Pressure is part of what we do,” said Djokovic after defeating Rublev. “It’s never going to go away, regardless of how many Grand Slams you win or how many matches you won or how many years you are playing professionally on the tour.”
“The pressure is paramount,” continued Djokovic. “Every single time I come out on the court, particularly here, the Centre Court at Wimbledon. But at the same time, it awakens the most beautiful emotions in me, and it motivates me beyond what I’ve ever dreamed of and it inspires me to play my best tennis. So, I know that they ... want to win but ... it ain’t happening.”
Right now, Djokovic has every right to be confident. A victory in London would give him his third-straight Wimbledon title, and be his 24th career Grand Slam championship. Djokovic passed Rafael Nadal on the all-time list with his victory in the French Open last month.
It would also give Djokovic three Grand Slam titles this season, as he won the Australian Open at the start of the year. Should he win Wimbledon, and go on to win the U.S. Open, Djokovic would become just the third player in men’s singles history to complete a Grand Slam in a calendar year, joining Don Budge and the legendary Rod Laver, who accomplished the feat twice, most recently in 1969.
Djokovic is already the only player in men’s tennis history to hold a “non-calendar year” Grand Slam, dating back to the 2015-2016 seasons. He won Wimbledon and then the U.S. Open to close out the 2015 campaign, and opened 2016 with wins in Melbourne and Paris to complete the “non-calendar year” Grand Slam.
Standing in his way Friday? Eighth-seeded Jannik Sinner, who advanced to the semis with a win over unseeded Roman Safiullin.
It seems that Djokovic will be ready.