London: Novak Djokovic insists he would happily miss a first appearance for Serbia in the World Cup final if it means he is back in the Wimbledon title match.
An avid fan of the Serbian national team, Djokovic watched Serbia’s win over Costa Rica from in a raucous players’ lounge at Queen’s Club in west London, where he is preparing for the start of the Wimbledon warm-up event next week,
But the 31-year-old was surprised when he was told he would likely miss out on watching Serbia if they make a surprise appearance in the World Cup final.
That is because the showpiece in Moscow is scheduled to kick off just hours after the Wimbledon men’s final begins at the All England Club July 15.
In truth, unfancied Serbia, who are competing at their first major tournament since 2010, are far less likely to make the final than Djokovic, who is a three-time Wimbledon champion.
I’m friends with Kolarov and (Nemanja) Matic. We share a lot of things in common as athletes. We support each other, but can also share insights into how we train
But pressed on the potential fixture clash, Djokovic laughed off talk of mixed feelings. “Really? I didn’t know that. Wow,” he told reporters.
“From your mouth to god’s ears as they say, hopefully that can happen. I’ve been fortunate to win Wimbledon three times and play well there. If that happens I would obviously be very happy to miss the World Cup final!”
While Djokovic would swap World Cup glory for his own Wimbledon success, the proud Serb has been relishing his country’s return to the big time in Russia.
“In the last 15 minutes I had to change a couple of shorts,” he said of the nervous conclusion to Serbia’s win over Costa Rica. “We didn’t qualify for last World Cup and the last two Euros, so we didn’t get a chance to enjoy these matches for a long time. This was best way to start campaign. Everybody is watching in the players lounge.”