Up next at Wimbledon for Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka

(Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images) /

Novak Djokovic learned on Thursday who his third-round opponent at Wimbledon will be and it will be a familiar face. Djokovic will play Stan Wawrinka. Wawrinka defeated 29th-seeded Tomas Martin Etcheverry in four sets 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-2.

The 38-year-old Wawrinka is currently ranked 284th in the world but was once ranked as high as third (2014). While he is long past his prime, Wawrinka is still capable of playing good tennis, just as he did on Thursday in defeating Etcheverry. Wawrinka won an astounding 53 of his 57 first serve points and was broken only once.

So, yes. Wawrinka is seemingly old for a tennis player, but he is also used to playing Djokovic. He is a smart enough player to get the most out of any tricks he might have and as long as he continues to serve as well as he did in the second round, he can be an issue. So about that head-to-head with Djokovic, however.

Novak Djokovic will play Stan Wawrinka in the third round at Wimbledon

The two players have never met in a grass court tournament, surprisingly enough. Overall, they have played 26 times with Djokovic getting the better of Wawrinka 20 times. They last played on clay in 2022 at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome with Djokovic winning 62 6-2. The two players have only met two other times since 2015, though. Wawrinka won in 2016 at the US Open and again at the US Open in 2019.

At least Wawrinka will go into the match with the confidence that he has previously defeated Djokovic. That’s not a lot, but it’s more than most other players can say. And after Djokovic won 14 straight head-to-head meetings between 2007 and the ATP Finals in 2013, Wawrinka has won four of nine meetings.

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Again, they haven’t played very much recently at all, but a player can try to find all the reasons they can going up against possibly the greatest player who has ever played in Novak Djokovic. Even during Wawrinka’s post-match interview after defeating Etcheverry, Wawrinka asked the reporter to not tell him the head-to-head score between him and Djokovic. Wawrinka knows the past can’t beat you, and there’s also hope for the future.