On Friday at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic made tennis history.
And seemed to have some fun along the way.
The second-seeded Djokovic held off eighth-seeded Jannik Sinner in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(4) to advance to his fifth-straight Final at Wimbledon. The victory over Sinner kept Djokovic’s chances of a 2023 Grand Slam alive, along with his hopes of a fifth-straight title at Wimbledon.
Not only did he keep those dreams alive, he advanced to his 35th Grand Slam Final, setting a new mark in the sport. Before today Djokovic was tied with the legendary Chris Evert with 34 Grand Slam Finals, but he now stands alone.
While he advanced in straight sets, as Djokovic himself noted after the match, his battle was much closer than the score indicates. Djokovic needed to force a third-set tiebreak, and any number of critical moments in the match could have gone against him.
However, they did not.
As he also noted after the match in his mind, age is just a number. “36 is the new 26,” declared Djokovic. He also paid tribute to Sinner as one of the best players in the world and part of a “new generation.”
A generation that Djokovic is happy to be a member of, even if he is the elder statesman:
Djokovic also chose his words rather carefully, using the word “hindrance” for a reason. In the second set, Umpire Richard Haigh stopped a point mid-rally, awarding the point to Sinner for “hindrance” on Djokovic for an elongated grunt after a return.
You make the call:
Djokovic was called for 'hindrance' on this play and the point was given to Sinner pic.twitter.com/J5QoJkDbl4— ESPN (@espn) July 14, 2023
Djokovic was incredulous at the decision, but forged ahead to win the set.
He now awaits the winner of the second semifinal match between Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev. Regardless of the outcome there, tennis fans will be treated to a matchup between two of the top-three seeds in the tournament.
Should make for a fun Sunday.