Perhaps the biggest surprise at Wimbledon 2022 is Tim van Rijthoven, who with his victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili today has qualified for the round of 16 in his first appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam and starting as a wild card.
He has only lost one set (against Opelka) in the three rounds played so far by the 25-year-old Dutchman, who will have to overcome the very tough test called Novak Djokovic to continue what would be an incredible dream. “Before the tournament started, it was a dream for me to play against him,” van Rijthoven told a news conference after the match against Basilashvili.
“The fact that I can now have this opportunity, even if we can play on Center Court or Court 1 at Wimbledon, is something as beautiful as it is magical. I am a player who goes to every game thinking that I can win. I will also do it against Djokovic, I will go to that match with the confidence that I can win the match.
From the outside it looks like a fairy tale, it’s normal, for many people it’s like it came out of nowhere,” continued van Rijthoven. “Even my ATP 250 title (in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the final against Daniil Medvedev, ed.) seemed to have come out of nowhere, as I had never won a Challenger title.
I’ve played a few finals, but the level is still very high. The summary is basically what I have already said: work very hard, never lose hope and finally feel that positive vibe when training and playing. That’s all that happens to me right now, I get on the wave, we’ll see where it goes.”
Nole Djokovic wants to win again
Novak Djokovic said that he is open to changes in tennis to cater to the ever-changing world. “Here at Wimbledon, who could have guessed that they would allow players to train at the Central Stadium before the start of the tournament? I bet with Goran (coach) that in the future, they might allow a little paint on the equipment, and he says there is no chance.
I am open to changes that can contribute to popularization,” Djokovic said. “I understand the other side as well. Nick Kyrgios is one of those who pointed out that it kills the uniqueness of our sport, that as an individual you fight, find solutions. I understand that too. We know that this is already happening, so let it be the rule,” Djokovic added.