World No 1 Djokovic fires warning to rivals as he eyes historic calendar Grand Slam; opens campaign against James Ward today
London: Novak Djokovic warned his Wimbledon rivals that he still hasn't reached his full potential as the world number one bids to move a step closer to a historic calendar Grand Slam.
Novak Djokovic is a strong favourite to win Wimbledon for the fourth time as he begins his defence of the title against wildcard James Ward in London, England today. Pic/Getty Images
Djokovic is a strong favourite to win Wimbledon for the fourth time after lifting the trophy at the All England Club for the last two years.
Beating Andy Murray in the French Open final earlier this month brought the Serb the only Grand Slam missing from his collection and if he can retain the Wimbledon and US Open titles he will become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete a remarkable sweep of the four major prizes in one year.
But, on the eve of his Wimbledon first-round tie against James Ward, Djokovic made a revelation about the need to improve his game that should give contenders for the title a few sleepless nights.
"I'm at the peak of my career at the moment. I see still lots of room for improvement, things that I can work on," Djokovic said. "That's something that encourages me.
That's something that keeps me grounded in a way, gives me more reason to practise.
"I can certainly say I've been working hard to get consistency on all kinds of surfaces."
The 29-year-old has won six of the last eight Grand Slams, taking him to a career tally of 12 — within two of Rafael Nadal's mark and five behind the record 17 of Roger Federer.
Djokovic last failed to reach a Grand Slam final at the 2014 US Open and has reached seven finals, winning six of them, in 2016. Chasing a calendar Grand Slam proved too much for Serena Williams.
But Djokovic insists the pressure of his history bid won't be a problem.
"Pressure is part of what we do. It's inevitable to face this kind of sensation as a top player," he said.
"But the more you get to face this kind of pressure , the better you are in coping with it. Of course, the situation this year is different because I'm coming in with a Roland Garros title for the first time. That gives me a lot of confidence."
Number of Grand Slam titles Novak Djokovic has won of the last eight he's participated in