Wimbledon: 'Phew! I am lucky!' – Djokovic relieved to get job done just before curfew

By Sports Desk July 03, 2022

Novak Djokovic beat Tim van Rijthoven on Sunday to take his place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, and was very relieved to get the job done ahead of the 23:00BST curfew.

World number one Djokovic saw off the Wimbledon debutant 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-2 on Centre Court to set up an intriguing last-eight clash with Jannik Sinner.

The contest did not go all the defending champion's way, however, as Van Rijthoven's display in the second set suggested Djokovic would have to dig deep.

But the Serb's response was emphatic as he went on drop just three games in the following two sets, blowing the 25-year-old Dutchman away impressively to reach a 13th Wimbledon quarter-final.

It was also Djokovic's 25th successive win at Wimbledon, a sequence that has only ever been bettered three times in SW19.

For a while there seemed to be a real threat of Van Rijthoven taking the match into a second day, with the curfew looming.

Djokovic suggested he was not entirely aware of the deadline, and that only increased his relief after clinching victory with 22 minutes to spare.

Speaking on court afterwards, Djokovic said: "I don't know if there was a curfew, 11pm? Is that still on? Okay, phew!

"I am lucky, I am lucky. It's only 20 minutes, too, so I'm lucky. I have had some previous experience of playing a match over two days under the roof against [Rafael] Nadal some years ago, and it's never really pleasant if you can't finish the match the same day.

"I am glad I did and now I am just looking forward to the next challenge."

Specifically on Van Rijthoven, Djokovic added: "He was very tough, he's kind of a new face on the tour and actually won his first ATP match in the tournament he won a few weeks ago in his country, beating players in top five, top 10 in the world.

"He was on a streak on this surface, so I knew it wasn't going to be easy with that serve and a lot of talent, great touch and a powerful forehand. He can do a lot of damage.

"It took me a little bit of time to get used to his pace, and the conditions under the roof are a little bit different, a bit slippery, so it takes a bit of adjusting, but overall I closed out the match well."

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