Home » Mystery over Demon ‘scare’ as experts tip boilover

Mystery over Demon ‘scare’ as experts tip boilover

Mystery over Demon ‘scare’ as experts tip boilover

Chasing his sixth-straight Wimbledon final, Novak Djokovic will face Australia’s Alex de Minaur in the quarter finals in a match that has been clouded by injury.

Both Djokovic and de Minaur have shown suggestions of lingering injuries.

The top-ranked Aussie delivered a muted reaction after defeating France’s Arthur Fils, appearing to have injured his hip late in the match.

Watch Wimbledon 2024 live and exclusively free on Nine and 9Now. Plus centre court in 4K UHD on Stan Sport, the home of grand slam tennis

Djokovic has missed the entirety of the grass court season due to a knee injury, which he underwent surgery for, causing him to withdraw from Roland-Garros last month.

Respected commentator and former player Mark Petchey fears the Serbian star may also be carrying an abdominal injury that he was seemingly troubled by against Holger Rune.

The 24-time grand slam winner is still waiting to claim his first title of the year, with his record on the All England Club green has seen him play in the last five Wimbledon finals.

READ MORE: Top seed bundled out as Wimbledon draw rocked

READ MORE: Teen phenom’s ‘incredible’ strike sends Spain into final

READ MORE: Legend’s fear as selector spills on Maroons snub

Novak Djokovic of Serbia practices prior to Wimbledon 2024. Getty

Djokovic will have his fourth meeting with de Minaur on Wednesday night (AEST), with Djokovic leading their head-to-head battle 2-1. The quarter final will be the pair’s first time battling on grass courts.

De Minaur claimed victory over the Serb 6-4, 6-4 at the United Cup before Djokovic defeated the Aussie 7-5, 6-4 in Monte Carlo in April. The pair’s solitary grand slam meeting came in the 2023 Australian Open, where Djokovic cruised to the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 win.

The Aussie has been in top form this season, currently seeded ninth in the world rankings.

“He has improved so much in the last year-and-a-half,” Djokovic said of de Minaur after their match was confirmed.

“Watching his progress, seeing him get into the top 10 is not a surprise. He has plenty of experience playing on the big stage in the latter stages of grand slams.

“He’s going to come out giving his all and believing he can win. He already beat me in Australia this year, so there’s no reason he can’t think he can win that match.

“But obviously grand slam is a whole different game, I guess, but I like my chances.”

With a semi final spot on the line, de Minaur is hoping to extend his career-best run at the All England Club.

If he is to defeat Djokovic, the 25-year-old will become the first Australian to claim victory against the world No.2 at a grand slam in 18 years.

De Minaur has been backed by Petchey and Australian tennis great Casey Dellacqua to get the job done at Wimbledon, with the pair believing it is “Alex’s time.”

“I think it’s his time, just as it was at the United Cup at the start of the year,” Petchey said on Stan Sport’s Grand Slam Daily.

Alex de Minaur celebrates during his fourth round win at Wimbledon.

Alex de Minaur celebrates during his fourth round win at Wimbledon. Getty

“I don’t think he would be disappointed with the challenge he got against Fils. You’re always going to get challenged at this stage of the tournament.

“I like the chances for Alex.”

Dellacqua labelled the clash “the biggest match of Alex’s career.”

“He’s in the best form of his life. He is going to have to play the match of his life to beat Novak. I think he can do it,” she said.

“I think he is a fan favourite because he just hustles and you want to get behind him. He runs, he fights and he is the Demon.

“He’s so calm and collected at the moment within his game and with how he is off-court. It’s a very special thing to make a quarterfinal at Wimbledon.”

“We all know that Novak doesn’t have a lot of weakness or holes in his game… Alex is going to need to serve well. What you don’t want to do against Novak is get down a break early and feel like you’re chasing your tail.

“He just needs to find some gaps in what is the impeccable game that Novak brings.”

Dellacqua dispelled concerns over de Minaur’s hip, saying the potential injury was nothing more “than a scare.”

“The joy of playing at a grand slam is that you don’t have to back up the next day. You can use that time to get treatment and get what you need.

“From what I’ve heard, he’s okay. When (he) gets out on that court he can’t think about it.”

The grand slam tournament has seen 36 five-set matches – a possibility which Dellacqua fears would give Djokovic the upper hand.

“When you’re playing Novak, it’s a whole other level,” she said.

“I just think Novak is the best at doing that and it’s probably going to wear Alex down.

“I believe Alex can do it but it’s not going to be easy. I think Novak may get through but I want Alex to win.”

De Minaur said he is “looking forward to the challenge.”

“I don’t think you need to talk too much about Novak here at Wimbledon,” de Minaur said.

Alex de Minaur and Novak Djokovic embrace at the net. Australian Open.

Alex de Minaur and Novak Djokovic embrace at the net. Getty

“He’s obviously achieved greatness for many, many years. It’s going to be a tough battle but these are the types of battles that I want to be playing. Those are the challenges that I want to take advantage of and go out there and show what I can do.

“I have played Novak once in a slam. It’s fair to say it was quite a challenge but I’m looking forward to this matchup. I think I’m a different player. I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge.

“I’m not surprised. We’ve seen him do this in the past, (where) he recovers and comes back like he never left. I knew he was definitely going to be back.”

The winner of the pair will face either Lorenzo Musetti or Taylor Fritz in the semi finals, with the duo also taking to the court on Wednesday (AEST).