Novak Djokovic confident ahead of Wimbledon semi-final with Rafael Nadal

Last Updated July 13 2018, 07:57Tennis
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic feels he is coming into form at just the right time as he prepares for a first Wimbledon showdown with Rafael Nadal in seven years.

The former world number one's four-set victory over Kei Nishikori secured his place in a first grand slam semi-final since the US Open in 2016.

Standing in his way is old foe Nadal in what will be their 52nd meeting - Djokovic currently leads the head-to-head by a 26-25 margin.

Sky Bet can't split the pair, with both quoted at 10/11, and it's 5/1 that Nadal drops the first set but wins the match.

Their last meeting on grass was in the 2011 final when Djokovic won his first Wimbledon title. That was the occasion when Djokovic first tasted the All England Club grass as part of his celebration routine.

"I'm really not thinking about being an underdog or being a favourite. I just try to build the momentum," said the 31-year-old Serbian.

"Obviously I've been very pleased with the way I've played so far on the grass-court season."

Injuries took their toll on Djokovic last year but over the last fortnight he has certainly looked a lot more like the player who has captured 12 grand slam titles.

Djokovic has at times cut an angry figure on court, rankled by umpiring decisions, but he is trying to play the joker off it.

"I do try to joke around and take things a bit lighter, so to say, in the days when I don't have a match and when I'm practising," he said.

"Obviously there's a lot of stress, a lot of expectations, pressure, a lot of things you have to deal with, a lot of emotions during the grand slams.

"As you're coming closer to the end of the tournament, the degree of those emotions is just going up.

"I'm trying to balance things out, have those off-match days a little bit lighter, a little bit more fun, just take my mind a little bit off the preparation thoughts and pressure and what I expect from myself and others expect from me."

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