London - Having finally rid himself of his
French Open curse, Novak Djokovic is chasing a third successive Wimbledon title
to move one step closer to the first calendar Grand Slam in 47 years.
The 29-year-old world number one, champion
at Wimbledon in 2011, 2014 and 2015, has become the unstoppable Slam machine.
His victory over Andy Murray in Paris gave
him a 12th major, taking him to within two of Rafael Nadal's mark and five
behind the record 17 of Roger Federer.
But Nadal is missing from this year's
Wimbledon, nursing a wrist injury, while seven-time All England Club champion
Federer is without a major in four years and a shadow of the player he once
World number two Murray, the Wimbledon
champion in 2013, remains Djokovic's only serious rival but the British star
has a 10-24 career record against the Serb.
Djokovic has won 13 of their last 15
meetings and hasn't been defeated by Murray at a Slam since the Wimbledon final
three years ago.
Djokovic currently holds all four majors
and is targeting becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the
calendar Grand Slam, a feat only achieved three times in the sport's history.
"I don't want to sound arrogant, but I
really think everything is achievable in life," said Djokovic, who appears
to be under little pressure heading into Wimbledon which starts on Monday.
In between practice and this week's rain,
he posed for 'selfies' on the London underground, happily opting for public
transport despite becoming the first man to pass the $100 million prize money
mark at Roland Garros.
"I'm trying to cherish these moments.
Whether or not I can reach a calendar slam, that's still a possibility."
Djokovic has reached at least the
quarter-finals of every Slam since a fourth round exit at the 2009 French Open.
He is the first man since Jim Courier in
1992 to win the Australian and French Opens back-to-back.
Even Federer and Nadal failed to achieve
that sequence just as the two greats were also unsuccessful in attempts at a
Federer was undone by the French Open in
2004, 2006 and 2007 while Nadal's failure to win the 2010 Australian Open was a
blip in a year when he romped to victory in Paris, London and New York.
Murray, just a week older than Djokovic,
will be looking for his third major after the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon
He has reunited with coach Ivan Lendl, the
man who guided him to his two majors and the pair celebrated a record fifth
Queen's Club title at the weekend.
But Murray's last two Wimbledon campaigns
have ended in disappointment - a quarter-final loss to Grigor Dimitrov in 2014
followed by a straight-sets demolition by Federer in the semi-finals 12 months
It's 15 years since Federer announced
himself on the Grand Slam scene when he defeated Pete Sampras in the fourth
round at Wimbledon.
It wasn't until 2003 that the great Swiss
won the first of his seven Wimbledon titles, the last of which came in 2012.
Despite finishing runner-up to Djokovic for
the last two years, 34-year-old Federer is struggling for form and fitness.
His injury-enforced withdrawal from the
French Open ended his streak of 65 successive Grand Slam appearances stretching
back to 1999.
He has since suffered semi-final losses on
grass at Stuttgart and Halle, the last of which against Alexander Zverev was
his first against a teenager in 10 years.
Federer's failure to win a title in 2016
means he will enter Wimbledon on his longest trophy drought since 2000.
If he were to win Wimbledon, he would be
the oldest champion since 31-year-old Arthur Ashe in 1975.
"I think if the movement gets better
and then the baseline game improves a little bit, I'll be better on the big
points, on the return and also in less trouble on my own service games,"
"But I'm okay and I'm pleased on how I
played in Halle, how I'm feeling and now we've got enough time before Wimbledon
to get ready for that."