Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon 2022, London, UK
Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon 2022, London, UK | © TENNIS PHOTO NETWORK/Getty Images

Tennis | Wimbledon 2022 | Day Nine Talking Points: Novak Djokovic overcomes doubt to defeat Jannik Sinner in five sets

By Tony Fairbairn at Wimbledon

  • Novak Djokovic overcame doubt and embraced positivity as he came back to beat Jannik Sinner in five sets
  • Jannik Sinner takes the positives despite the quarter-final defeat
  • Tatjana Maria embraces motherhood after winning all German clash to reach maiden grand slam semi-final
LONDON, ENGLAND – Novak Djokovic spoke about overcoming doubt as he came back from two sets down to defeat Jannik Sinner and reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.


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Djokovic overcomes doubt to reach Wimbledon semis

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Our day nine talking points start with top seed Novak Djokovic who survived a real scare against Jannik Sinner to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon. The world number one went two sets down and didn’t seem to be his normal self as Sinner played unbelievable tennis.

However Djokovic responded in fine fashion as he cruised through the next three sets to seal a place in the final four. It wasn’t a trademark performance from Djokovic but he won’t care about that and after the match he spoke about having doubts during the match and how he overcame them:

 I thought I started very well, was 4-1 up and breakpoint for double break. He served well. I was playing against the wind and just played a very bad game, two double faults, two missed dropshots to lose the serve 4-3, and just momentum shifted to his side,” Djokovic said in his press conference about the start of the match.

“I started doubting my shots. He started believing in himself more. He just had a better, I guess, mentality on the court. He had confidence to step in and dictate the play. I was not staying in the rallies. I was missing, I was too passive, and it happens. You know, on this level that particularly on grass everything happens very fast.

“So I was really in a defense mode, to be honest. Just not much positive happening for me in terms of my game. And then, but, you know, I always believed that I could come back. I know that, you know, experience that I have could eventually prevail in these kind of situations.

“You know, I didn’t have any physical injuries or anything like that. It was just a matter of momentum shift. I felt that beginning of the third set is crucial, you know, to start well, try to break his serve early. That’s what happened.”

Djokovic’s experience showed as he showed composure in his mental and tactical approach to make another grand slam semi-final. Comparisons can be made to the match against Stefanos Tsitsipas at last year’s Roland Garros final as Djokovic just seems to have the edge over the younger players at the grand slams.

Djokovic said that he had the same pep talk in the bathroom against Tsitsipas as he did today and believed it worked in his favour:

“There was no aggressivity there. It was just a pep talk, positive talk,” Djokovic said about the break after the second set.

“As negative and down you feel on yourself in those moments, even though as fake as it looks or sounds to you, it really gives you an effect and support if you are trying to, you know, find the right and positive affirmations and tell it to yourself and kind of reanimate yourself in a way.

“So that’s what I have done. I’ve done that after I lost two sets in finals of Roland Garros against Tsitsipas, and today it worked. It doesn’t always work. It’s not a guarantee it will always work.

“I just felt like I had to change something. I was not playing well, I was not feeling well on the court, I was dominated by Sinner. Thankfully Grand Slams are played in best-of-five, so I had opportunity to come back.”

Djokovic’s positive mindset is what sets him apart from the rest of the field as he reached the semi-finals to play Britain’s Cameron Norrie on Friday who defeated David Goffin in five sets. The Serb spoke about what he expects against the ninth seed:

“I know what to expect if that happens, you know, in terms of the crowd support and everything that you mentioned. Again, for him, not much to lose. Every victory from now onwards is a big deal for him. I know that. But, you know, I practiced few times. I know his game well. He’s been around. Of course I will do my homework and get ready.”


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Sinner feeling positive and proud despite defeat

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From victory to despair as Sinner was so close yet so far from reaching a maiden grand slam semi-final. Despite having a two set lead the Italian has a lot to be proud of having never won a main draw grass court match before Wimbledon and then to reach the quarter-finals, beating world-class opposition along the way. After the match Sinner reflected on the defeat and admitted there are positives to take away from the experience:

“Yeah, I think I can be proud of what I have done here. Hopefully can give me a lot of confidence for the rest,” Sinner said in his press conference.

“I mean, I think I played every match better even if the opponents were always different. It gave me confidence match after match, so that’s good. I think also for the future, coming back here next year can help me a lot. I have learned many things on grass, and that was the reason why we choose to play grass.

“I mean, I showed that I can play good tennis, for sure. I showed that I can play some good level of tennis. I will try to keep working hard, because that’s the most important. Now we go back. We might have some days off, but then after, we push again. Then we see how it goes in the next months. So let’s see.”

The Italian will look to continue to make breakthroughs at tour events and if his consistent form at grand slams is to go by then he will be making another deep run at the US Open. Sinner said that facing the best players in the world motivates him and wouldn’t want it any other way:

“I like to challenge myself. I am a guy who likes the competition. That’s also the reason why I practice for: Having special matches and in important rounds, like today, quarterfinals,” Sinner said.

“I know that I have still a lot to improve, but I think I can be happy after this Wimbledon. I showed some good tennis. I think also him after he lost the second set, he had to raise his level, because otherwise he most likely was losing. But, you know, it’s tennis. I knew that he’s one of the best players of all time. Yeah, let’s see in the future how it goes.”

Maria embraces motherhood after historic win

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Finally it’s time for a feel good story as 34 year-old Tatjana Maria is into her first grand slam semi-final after defeating compatriot Jule Niemeier 4-6 6-2 7-5. After the match the German spoke about embracing being a mother of two children and how that won’t change her perspective on life:

“I love to talk about this. I think for me that’s the most important in my life, to be a mom of my two kids. Nothing will change this,” Maria passionately said.

“I’m here, yeah, I’m in the semifinal of Wimbledon, it’s crazy, but I’m still a mom. After this I will go out over there and I will see my kids and I will do the same thing what I do every single day. I will change her Pampers, I mean, everything normal. I try to keep normal as much as possible, because that was what makes me proudest is to be a mom.

“I think there were also a lot of people already in this time that nobody was thinking, Okay, she’s now back with a child, but it’s not impossible to be back in the top 100. And, yeah, to be honest, I showed it last time already that I am back. I mean, I reached the top 50 with Charlotte, and now I’m back with my second child.

“Still everybody was doubting. I mean, you know, I mean, it’s a little bit my life to show everybody that I’m still here and I’m a fighter, and I keep going and I keep dreaming. That’s what I want to show my kids.”

Maria will play Ons Jabeur on Thursday for a place in the final after the Tunisian defeated Marie Bouzkova in three sets.



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