Tennis-Big-serving Anderson relishing Wimbledon rematch with Djokovic

·2 min read
Australian Open

(Reuters) - South African Kevin Anderson will hope to gain revenge on Novak Djokovic and end the Serb's bid for a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam when they meet in the Wimbledon second round on Wednesday.

Anderson was outplayed by Djokovic in the title showdown three years ago after spending 11 hours on court in his previous two matches.

The 35-year-old knows he must produce his best tennis to compete with Djokovic, who is unbeaten at the All England Club since the 2017 quarter-finals.

"Of course, in the big moments and on the centre courts, he's been there so many times. He has a lot of confidence and comfort in those situations," Anderson said.

"And of course he's a fighter. I've played some matches with him where it's been really close and he is not giving anything (away). It's not going to be easy, but I'm definitely looking forward to the challenge."

Former world number five Anderson has seen his ranking slip to 102 after struggling with injuries over the past couple of years, including two knee surgeries between September 2019 and February 2020.

Having failed to make an impact in the grasscourt warm-up events in Nottingham and Eastbourne, Anderson was relieved to find some rhythm in his opening round four-set victory at Wimbledon over Chilean youngster Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera.

Although Djokovic has lost only three of his 31 matches this season, the big-serving right-handed South African will walk out on Centre Court with renewed confidence.

"I think at the end of the day, (it’s about) approaching it like another tennis match. Just focusing on what you can do, what you can control," Anderson added.

After surviving an opening round wobble, twice champion Andy Murray will face Germany's Oscar Otte who needed a fifth-set tiebreak to see off fellow qualifier Arthur Rinderknech.

In the women's draw, second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus will resume her bid for a maiden Grand Slam title against local hope Katie Boulter.

Tunisia's Ons Jabeur, who became the first Arab woman to lift a WTA trophy in Birmingham this month, faces an early test of her grasscourt credentials against 41-year-old five-times champion Venus Williams.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)