Issued on • Modified
Djokovic takes on Berdych for place in Wimbledon semis
Of all the people to play for Novak Djokovic to play in the last eight at Wimbledon, Tomas Berdych would surely be the pick. They have met 27 times on the circuit since 2008 and Berdych has won only two of the encounters.
The Czech claimed the semi-final at Wimbledon in 2010 and the quarter-final four years ago on the clay at the Italian Open.
That psychological advantage may assuage the Serb's prickliness as he tries to oust the 11th seed and reach the last four at a Grand Slam event for the first time since the 2016 US Open.
Djokovic needed a medical timeout for treatment on a sore right shoulder during his last 16 clash with Adrian Mannarino on 11 July. The 30-year-old second seed said he was irked that his tie - scheduled on 10 July to follow the Muller v Nadal match - was not moved to an available Centre Court when Nadal's match continued longer than predicted.
"Obviously not having the fifth set tiebreaker here at Wimbledon, having in mind as well that the grass is the fastest surface, when someone holds a serve, it's kind of tough to predict when the match is going to end," said Djokovic.
"I think it was a wrong decision not to play us. The Centre Court has the roof and lights, we could have played till 11pm.
"We went to the referee's office before 8pm. We were told there were security reasons. That was the only excuse. I just didn't see any logic in not playing us on the Centre Court."
Berdych, 31, moved into the last eight for the fifth time in 14 visits following a five set victory over the eighth seed Dominic Thiem.
Despite his record against Berdych, Djokovic said he was prepared for a tough battle. "Tomas beat me here in 2010," Djokovic recalled. "He has the big game, big serve and forehand and hits the ball very flat. He's an established top 10 player. He knows and understands the big matches."