Exclusive! Ivanisevic backs Djokovic to wrestle Wimbledon title from Murray


Novak Djokovic has the game to brush aside the painful memories of last year and recapture the Wimbledon title, former champion Goran Ivanisevic exclusively told Eurosport.

The world number two, who begins his quest for glory with a match against Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev on Monday, was comprehensively outplayed by home favourite Andy Murray in a one-sided final in 2013.

But 2001 champion Ivanisevic believes Djokovic is the man to beat at SW19, despite the resurgence of Rafa Nadal and return to form of Murray.

“Grass suits his [Djokovic’s] game well,” said Ivanisevic. “He moves well, he slides like he does on clay. He does everything perfect on grass.”

Last year’s final was played inside a fervent and partisan Centre Court as Murray ended a 77-year wait for a British men’s winner at Wimbledon, but Ivanisevic – who eliminated home hopeful Tim Henman en route to winning the tournament – insisted there was only so much part a crowd could play.

“The crowd can lift you a little bit but not too much,” he said. “It cannot help you if you play badly.

“Crowd or no crowd, Andy [Murray] deserved it last year. He played really well. But I don’t think Djokovic played a good final.”

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Croatia's Goran Ivanisevic (L) parades the men's singles trophy with Pat Rafter of Australia after winning the men's final at the Wimbledon Championships July 9, 2001

Ivanisevic added that he did not expect any major casualties in the opening week.

Nadal and Roger Federer crashed out of the men’s draw within the first three days last year, while Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams fared little better on the women’s side.

“I don’t think there will be too many shocking results,” said Ivanisevic. “It can’t happen two years in a row.

“Nadal will adapt easily. He’s confident, he’s playing well. I don’t think he’s going to win, but he’s going to do well. I don’t think what happened last year [his shock defeat to Belgium’s Steve Darcis] will happen again.

“As to Roger, you never underestimate him. He is playing well and can beat anybody. I would take Federer very seriously.”

Marion Bartoli was the surprise winner of the women’s title 12 months ago and Ivanisevic believes this year’s draw is wide open.

“It’s tough one”, said Ivanisevic. “I always say Serena because it’s easy but I have no idea. I don’t know who can beat Serena if she’s 100 per cent.

“Serena can only lose against Serena.”

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Ben Snowball

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