Defeated Djoker’s strange Wimbledon admission
DESPITE coming up just short in a 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-3 loss to Marin Cilic in the Queen's Club final, Novak Djokovic produced one of his best performances since missing the second half of 2017 with an elbow injury.
Cilic saved a match point at 4-5 in the second set and then won six consecutive points from 4-1 down in the tie-breaker to level, before going on to win his second title at the Wimbledon warm-up.
"Well, I'm there," said Djokovic, when asked if he's back to top form, singling out his earlier win against Grigor Dimitrov "in straight sets, all straight sets until today … all in all, I think that the level of my tennis has been as good as it has been the last 12 months."
But the Serbian star explained after the loss that despite his uptick in form; he still doesn't view himself as a contender at next month's Wimbledon.
"I wouldn't say I'm a contender … for a trophy or anything like that," Djokovic said, basing that view on his results for the last 12 months.
"I have to keep my expectations, you know, very low."
After struggling through the first half of 2017, with his only titles coming at smaller events in Doha and Eastbourne, the 12-time Grand Slam champion took six months off following Wimbledon due to a right elbow injury.
A fourth-round exit at the Australian Open on his return was followed by early defeats at Indian Wells and Miami. There were signs of improvement on clay as Djokovic reached the semi-finals in Rome, but his ranking dropped to 22 following a crushing defeat to the unseeded Cecchinato in Paris.
Despite a tough draw on the grass courts of Queen's Club, Djokovic reached the final without dropping a set.
"I think that most importantly for him he showed consistent level of play during all week, even against Dimitrov, even yesterday against Chardy. Today he was serving great," Cilic said of Djokovic.
"So definitely he's going to be one of the contenders to win (Wimbledon). Looking from the side and also playing him … I feel that he's playing great tennis." But there's one person who doesn't appear so optimistic.