Novak Djokovic - Wimbledon 2023

Novak Djokovic becomes latest player to have his say on potential ATP Saudi Arabia deal

Novak Djokovic has been asked about the rumoured deal between the ATP tour and Saudi Arabia, as tennis becomes the latest sport to be linked to the Middle Eastern country.

Djokovic has arrived in Wimbledon, as he looks to win a fifth consecutive title at the grass major and equal Roger Federer’s record eight titles.

In his pre-tournament press conference, Djokovic was asked about a plethora of things including the potential of the ATP tour moving to Saudi Arabia.

There have been heavy rumours about the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) getting involved with tennis, as they have done with other sports including golf and boxing.

While there have allegedly been positive talks held, the recently re-elected ATP Chairmen Andrea Gaudenzi was keen to warn the PIF that there could not be a repeat of the saga that saw a new golf tour created to rival the main PGA tour.

There have also been heavy rumours of Saudi Arabia hosting the Next Gen Finals, that have previously only been held in Milan in the six years of the tournament’s existence.

Despite the country not currently holding a regular tournament on the ATP Tour, they have held exhibition events including the Diriyah Tennis Cup at the end of 2022 that saw winner Taylor Fritz take home a million dollars.

Djokovic was asked about what he thought of the move, considering the country’s human rights record, “Well, I think the president of ATP and WTA are going to probably answer those questions better than I in terms of what strategically they think is the right move for tennis.”

The 23-time major winner continued, “I think personally was just question of time when they were to start some kind of negotiations or conversations in tennis to try to enter tennis. They’ve done that with pretty much all other global sports, except maybe basketball. We see what’s happening in football for the last few years, the stars that are going there for tremendous amounts of money. We know that Formula 1 is there, all the other sports, golf, et cetera. You mentioned golf.”

“I think that we as individual sport on a global level are probably closest to golf in terms of how we see sports. I think from that example we can probably learn a lot, some positives, some negatives, and try to structure a deal if it’s going in that direction in a proper way that is going to protect the integrity and tradition and history of this sport, but still be able to grow it in such way that it will be appropriate.”

The seven-time Wimbledon champion was also asked about how he felt coming to SW19 after making history at Roland Garros.

“I feel great,” said Djokovic. “Obviously coming into Wimbledon, it’s always an honor, it’s always a privilege. It was always a dream tournament for me when I was a kid, so…”

“Even though I have had plenty of success here in my career, have played this tournament so many times, I still feel like that young Novak coming to the tournament and really being able to live his dream.”

The Serb added, “It’s an amazing tournament, the biggest one in my eyes. Of course, I’m super excited to start off 2023 Wimbledon.”

As defending champion, Djokovic will once again open Centre Court tomorrow against his first round opponent of Pedro Cachin.

Novak Djokovic and his dominance at Wimbledon

Djokovic is bidding to make more history at Wimbledon this year and equal Federer, so we at Tennishead wanted to look back on his dominance at SW19 over the years:

Novak Djokovic win-loss record at Wimbledon: 86-10 (90%)

The Serb’s seven final victories:

  1. Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal, 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-3 (2011)
  2. Djokovic beat Roger Federer, 6(7)-7 6-4 7-6(4) 5-7 6-4 (2014)
  3. Djokovic beat Roger Federer, 7-6(1) 6(10)-7 6-4 6-3 (2015)
  4. Djokovic beat Kevin Anderson, 6-2 6-2 7-6(3) (2018)
  5. Djokovic beat Roger Federer, 7-6(5) 1-6 7-6(4) 4-6 13-12(3) (2019)
  6. Djokovic beat Matteo Berrettini, 6(4)-7 6-4 6-4 6-3 (2021)
  7. Djokovic beat Nick Kyrgios, 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6(3) (2022)

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.