36 is the new 26:"" Novak Djokovic defines his longevity ahead of Wimbledon 2023 final

Novak Djokovic is into a ninth Wimbledon 2023 final and says "36 is the 26" for his longevity– a fifth consecutive one, and 35th Slam final

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Avignyan Mukhopadhyay
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Novak Djokovic | Sportz Point

Novak Djokovic is into a ninth Wimbledon 2023 final and says "36 is the 26" for his longevity– a fifth consecutive one in SW19, and 35th Slam final overall, the most of any player – after a straight-sets victory over Jannik Sinner, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4), where he overcame plenty of obstacles that were not necessarily coming from his opponent's racquet.

First off, Djokovic was angered by the umpire calling a hindrance in the first set after he made a noise hitting a shot, and then by a time warning on his serve. Then he was riled by the Centre Court crowd – mostly firmly and noisily on Sinner's side – and mimed tears after saving set points in the third, suggesting they should, perhaps, cry harder.

"The hindrance early on today in the match could have changed the course of the match. I felt really nervous out there after that call from the chair umpire," Djokovic said on court afterwards.

Novak Djokovic | Sportz Point.

Novak Djokovic (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/SIPA)

"I don't normally have an extended grunt, maybe it was an echo from the roof," he added with a grin.

Djokovic has now won his last 34 grass-court matches – a streak stretching back to 2018, when he lost to Marin Cilic in the final of Queen'.

Djokovic once more played the pantomime villain for the Centre Court crowd, who hailed yet another one of his monumental achievements.

Novak Djokovic is into a ninth Wimbledon final – a fifth consecutive one in SW19, and 35th Slam final overall, the most of any player – after a straight-sets victory over Jannik Sinner, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4), where he overcame plenty of obstacles that were not necessarily coming from his opponent's racquet.

First off, Djokovic was angered by the umpire calling a hindrance in the first set after he made a noise hitting a shot, and then by a time warning on his serve. Then he was riled by the Centre Court crowd – mostly firmly and noisily on Sinner's side – and mimed tears after saving set points in the third, suggesting they should, perhaps, cry harder.

"The hindrance early on today in the match could have changed the course of the match. I felt really nervous out there after that call from the chair umpire," Djokovic said on court afterwards.

"I don't normally have an extended grunt, maybe it was an echo from the roof," he added with a grin.

Novak Djokovic: "IT'S GREAT TO BE PART OF THE NEW GENERATION!"

Djokovic has now won his last 34 grass-court matches – a streak stretching back to 2018, when he lost to Marin Cilic in the final of Queen's.

He must have been confident of victory after he won the first set – he has now won 28 of his 29 Grand Slam semi-finals when he won the opener. The only one he lost was in 2007, when he had to retire against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon (3-6, 6-1, 4-1 ret.).

But he was generous to Sinner in his post-match comments.

"Semi-final was always going to be very close, very tense match. Three very close sets, the scoreline doesn't give the reality of what was happening on the court – it was super close. The third set could have gone his way…just a lot of pressure in the third, specially," he said.

"He has proven why he's one of the leaders of the next generation and one of the best players in the world. It's great to be part of this new generation – I love it!"

Sinner, for his part, knew this would be by far his toughest test of the fortnight; prior to Friday, he had not faced a seeded opponent – only the second player in the last twenty years to reach the men's semi-finals without beating a seed, after Nadal in 2019.

Novak Djokovic Wimbledon 2023