When Novak Djokovic praised Bernard Tomic’s talent and potential

Novak Djokovic claimed his first Wimbledon title in 2011, playing on a high level in the opening six months of the season and becoming the 25th world no. 1 since 1973. Novak battled against an 18-year-old Bernard Tomic in the quarter-final, who qualified for the main draw and became the fourth-youngest Wimbledon quarter-finalist after Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker and John McEnroe. The Serb praised the upcoming Aussie before and after the match, saying they are good friends on and off the court and saying some nice words about Bernard’s talent and potential. Tomic made Djokovic run for his money at the Centre Court before world no. 2 prevailed 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes and advanced into the semis. The youngster played almost flawless tennis in the third set and pushed Novak to the limits in the fourth, only to lose ground before the tie break. Novak got broken three times and delivered six breaks from 15 opportunities.

Djokovic broke in the encounter’s opening game on his fourth chance and served well to open a 4-2 gap. Novak broke again in game seven to extend the lead and hit three winners at 5-2 to complete the opener in 34 minutes. Tomic raised his level in the second set and broke Djokovic at 2-1 thanks to Novak’s double fault. The youngster confirmed the lead with three winners in game five and squandered two break chances a few minutes later that could have pushed him further ahead. An 18-year-old served for the set at 5-3 and fired a forehand down the line winner to lock the overall result after 69 minutes. The Aussie flew over the court in those moments, breaking the Serb at the beginning of the third set and holding for 2-0. Bernard defended two break chances in the fourth game to remain in front before Novak broke back in game six following his opponent’s backhand mistake.

Novak Djokovic and Bernard Tomic battled at Wimbledon 2011.

With momentum on his side, Djokovic broke again at 4-3 after Tomic’s double fault and fired four unreturned serves in the ninth game to take five consecutive games and gain a boost. Novak stole Bernard’s serve for the third straight time at the beginning of the fourth set and rattled off seven games in a row to move closer to the finish line. Bernard broke back at love in the fourth game with a forehand return winner and reached deuces on the return at 4-3. Novak held for 4-4 and did the same at 4-5 before earning the crucial break in game 11 with a perfect drop shot. Djokovic emerged at the top with a hold at 12 for a place in his third Wimbledon semi-final.

“I have only nice words for Bernard Tomic; he is very talented and has excellent potential. Bernard proved that with comfortable wins here at Wimbledon. He qualified for the main draw and has played many matches in the last two weeks. Bernard loves playing on grass or fast surfaces in general. His strokes are flat, and he does not give you much time. His serve is also very well, and he does not make too many unforced errors. We are good friends on and off the court, and we practiced a couple of times at different tournaments.

I saw him three years ago in Australia for the first time when he played a junior event. He is an established player, proving his quality by reaching the Wimbledon quarter-final. I played well in the first set, and then Bernard came back after one terrible service game in the second. I was too passive and made too many unforced errors. I can not say I played great, but we have to give Bernard credit. He played great shots and made me work hard. I could not predict what he would come up with because he had nothing to lose. I relaxed a bit after the opening set, and he got back into the match. He was confident, and the crowd gave him energy,” Novak Djokovic said.

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