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“I heard many comments during that match yesterday.
But he had been out for seven months with a knee injury, and Djokovic, surging, had beaten him, for only the third time on clay, a month earlier at Monte Carlo.Over a gruelling four hours and thirty-seven minutes in Paris, Djokovic had failed to prevail by the slightest of margins.Up a break and tied at deuce at 4–3 in the fifth set, he attacked with the diabolical incrementalism of a medieval torture master, stretching Nadal ever wider across the court, then charging forward to put away an easy overhead, after which he tripped and accidentally tapped the net, forfeiting a crucial point.The set, the match, and the coveted title soon fell away.Djokovic had been so upset that he booked a last-minute vacation and retreated to Corsica with his girlfriend of eight years, Jelena Ristic. After he won Wimbledon, in 2011, a hundred thousand people gathered to celebrate in front of Belgrade’s Parliament. At one point, a rumor went around that he had bought up the country’s entire supply of donkey cheese. His clothes were from Uniqlo, his sponsor: trim trousers, blue leather shoes, blue linen blazer, good white shirt. When he sat down, he said to the waitress, “Maybe a water, please, would be nice.
The President of Serbia told “60 Minutes” that he could win the nation’s highest office. In addition to Wimbledon, he has won thirty-six other A. He looked as though he’d just towelled off and stepped into a watch ad.
It is also the only Grand Slam that Djokovic hasn’t won.
At an exhibition in Bratislava last year, he stuffed his shirt with sweat towels and hitched up an imaginary skirt. The French Open is the only Grand Slam that is played on clay, tennis’s slowest surface.
(Djokovic’s career record against Nadal is 15–21.) Djokovic was scarily fit, and he was no longer distracted by a series of health problems that had afflicted his father in 2012.
There was talk among the tennis cognoscenti about the prospect of his surpassing his 2011 season.
The Friday before Wimbledon began, Djokovic was sitting at an outdoor table at Le Pain Quotidien, on Wimbledon Village High Street.