Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis is trying to break Novak Djokovic’s “brick wall” at Wimbledon on Wednesday, while Andy Murray has to take out John Isner’s big pitch.
Six-time champion Djokovic, in pursuit of a 21st Grand Slam title, defeated Kokkinakis in their only previous meeting at the French Open in 2015.
The 26-year-old Australian still bears the scars even though that was seven years ago.
“I hope I break free and play my game. He is a brick wall, so you kind of have to beat him, ”said the world number 79.
“He’s not going to hit himself.”
Kokkinakis won his first Wimbledon match on his third try, beating Pole Kamil Majchrzak on Monday.
The Australian’s career has come to a halt as he missed 18 months with a shoulder injury between 2015 and 2016 and all of 2020 due to mononucleosis.
However, he is not one of those who are afraid of the stage.
At the 2018 Miami Masters, he downplayed his modest 175th-place finish in qualifying to stun defending champion Roger Federer.
Earlier this year, Kokkinakis teamed with Nick Kyrgios to win the Australian Open men’s doubles championship.
– Emotional clash of Ukraine –
Djokovic advanced to the second round with a four-set victory over South Korea’s Kwon Sung-woo, becoming the first player, male or female, to record 80 victories in all four Grand Slams.
Two-time champion Murray puts his 8-0 record on the line against Isner in their second round clash.
Former No. 1 Murray, now ranked No. 52 in the world, took four sets to defeat Australian James Duckworth on Monday.
At one point, the British star served underhand and scored the winning point, much to the delight of the crowd on Center Court.
“I don’t know why some people see it as disrespectful,” Murray said.
“Of course, now more and more players are starting to come back from behind the back line to get an advantage to come back.
“An underarm serve is a way of saying if you’re going to step back, then I might add that.”
Despite his loss against Murray, the 37-year-old Isner has never played the Briton on grass.
He is confident he has a weapon at his disposal, having fielded 54 aces and 97 winners to knock out qualified Enzo Cuco on Monday.
“I’m older than Andy, so I’m not a spring chick, but I work hard,” said the 6ft 10in (2.08m) American.
“I don’t really care too much about results. I’m just trying to enjoy these amazing events that I play all over the world.”
Third seed Casper Ruud and Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz are aiming for the bottom 32 for the first time.
French Open runner-up Ruud will play France’s Hugo Humbert, while Alcaraz, who took five sets to defeat Jan-Lennard Struff on Monday, will face Netherlands’ Tallon Grikspoor.
In the second round, the women will have an emotional fight: Lesya Tsurenko and Angelina Kalinina will meet in an all-Ukrainian duel.
For Tsurenko, the tie is a chance to remind the world that Ukraine still needs her support, as well as “heavy weapons” to fight the Russian invasion.
Kalinina is using her prize money to donate humanitarian aid in Ukraine, including for her family, whose home in Irpin was destroyed.
“It matters whether I win or lose,” said Kalinina, who will be guaranteed at least £120,000 ($146,000) if she wins on Wednesday.
“I help in any way I can to people whom I sometimes don’t even know. I’m not a superstar, I’m just helping in any way I can.”
dj / jw