LONDON: Having been cleared of what he suspected was a dislocated shoulder, Novak Djokovic’s plans for a second Wimbledon title remains safely on course . An MRI scan ruled out any structural damage before Monday’s fourth round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but there is still some work to be done on Djokovic’s grasscourt gymnastics routine.
“It was obviously a scary fall, said Djokovic, who quipped that he had already discussed his flawed tumbling technique with co-coach Boris Becker. “We obviously need to work on my diving volleys, learning how to fall down on the court. I'm not very skillful in that. I tried to land on my left arm. I basically had a strong impact on the shoulder.
“When I stood up, I felt that click or pop, whatever you call it. I feared maybe it might be a dislocated shoulder or something like that, or joint problem. But luckily for me it was only an impact that had a minor effect on the joint and the muscles around, but no damage, significant, that can cause a bigger problem.’’
The slip occurred as Djokovic stretched for a wide forehand in the middle of the third set against Gilles Simon with a doctor and trainer called to courtside during a 10-minute medical time-out. The top seed has the weekend off, and left the All England Club confident his preparation would not be affected. “They told me usually in these kind of particular cases you might feel soreness in the next couple of days. But I can play around with practices and recovery and see how it goes. But I'm quite confident it's going to be all right for next one.’’
That means Tsonga, whom Djokovic has beaten 10 times in succession, and 12 out 17 times overall. The explosive Frenchman is a two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist, now ranked below his abilities at No.17, but still a threat, and a third round winner against qualifier Jimmy Wang.
“I expect him to serve well. I think that's his advantage. Obviously the serve in any corner,’’ Djokovic said “Coming to the net, he's a very aggressive player. If he's on, if he feels good on the certain day, He can beat anybody really.
“Going back a few years ago, playing semi-finals against him, 2011, I remember that match well, and also Olympic Games. I won both of the matches but I know what threat he can cause on this surface.’’
The much-heralded Queen’s Club champion Grigor Dimitrov got a different kind of fright, as the first of the title contenders to be taken to five sets in the opening week, before eventually taming flashy Ukranian 21st seed Alex Dolgopolov 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.
It was a victory celebration almost worthy of a final, from a player who has never made it to a grand slam semi, but the sublimely talented Bulgarian had had been urged to fight by his Australian coach Roger Rasheed, and - on a difficult day when he struggled to find his best tennis - was proud to say that he did.
“That fifth set prove a lot to me today,'' said Dimitrov, whose fourth round opponent is Argentinian No.64 Leonardo Mayer. "In the end it doesn't matter if you're going to win crappy or if you're going to lose beautiful. I'd rather win that way.That actually gives me another chance, another look for the next match what I can do better. That's my goal, to be better.
Defending champion Andy Murray was imperious in losing just seven games to Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, and will now play 20th seed Kevin Anderson, but sixth seed Tomas Berdych suffered what Dimitrov was spared, toppled 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) by Croatian Marin Cilic, who next meets Jeremy Chardy of France.