American tennis player Denis Kudla is entering the match against Novak Djokovic with the belief that he could stun the world No. 1. Kudla, ranked at No. 114 in the world, is set to meet Djokovic in the Wimbledon third round. “You need to go in playing these guys with all the belief in the world, execute my game plan,” Kudla said.
“I need to play my ‘A’ game to beat him and the only way I’m going to do that is if I let it go, play free and believe”. Two years ago, Kudla lost to Djokovic at Wimbledon. “Obviously Novak being tough as nails, I just didn’t settle at all.
I was down 5-0 in about 10 minutes and I thought my worst nightmare was going to happen,” Kudla said. “Then at the [US] Open when I played him [later in 2019], I really settled. I was able to kind of push him a little bit more.
But now going into this third match, I know what to expect. I know I’m capable of winning certain patterns if I execute in certain ways”.
Kudla praised Djokovic
“His movement is pretty incredible when you’re playing him and then I think his serve is completely underrated,” Kudla said.
“He was just hitting spot serves on big points and it was pretty difficult”. At the age of 17, Kudla recorded his first grass win. “It was the worst grass. [I had] no idea what to do. We tried to serve and volley, but we were a bunch of 15, 16-year-olds that had no idea how to volley or do anything.
Our serves were so slow, so it was not effective whatsoever and we were just messing around, not doing anything professional,” Kudla said. “It was an eye-opening experience”. “I didn’t necessarily do that great in the juniors, but coming into the pros as I got stronger, I hit the ball harder, I kind of knew my identity as a player,” Kudla said.
“I knew that grass was going to be the best surface for me”. Kudla suggested players need to create their own game plan when facing a player like Djokovic. “You do look at guys [who] have been successful against Novak and have similar game styles as myself and see what was successful and what wasn’t successful,” Kudla said.
“I’m not going to watch how Fed played Novak because I don’t play anything like Fed, so whatever he’s doing, I’m not going to be able to do that. "It’s also just really tough to get any data on Novak that’s successful because he just wins so much, so all you’re going to see is a better way of not losing so badly”.