England wins the moment but Novak Djokovic steals the show at Wimbledon

Djokovic continued his run at Wimbledon even if England's football match versus Switzerland stole the show for a minute during the Serb's match with Alexei Popyrin.
Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon 2024
Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon 2024 / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

Alexei Popyrin put up a fight but he was helpless for most of his third-round match at Wimbledon at Novak Djokovic. The fault was not the Aussies. He stole the first set and he didn't play poorly. The issue is that for the second and third sets, Djokovic was almost literally perfect on his serve. During the third set, the Serb's serve was so well placed that he only lost three points.

Perhaps the moment of the match came from the players when they weren't focused on tennis, though. England was playing Switzerland in the quarterfinals of Euro 2024 while the match was occurring. The crowd reacted seemingly unexpectedly and Djokovic was aware that the spectator cheering had little to do with tennis.

He understood England had done something good. He did not know until his on-court post-match interview that England had won in penalty kicks to advance. That did not ultimately matter, though, because fans will remember the moment Djokovic understood people were paying attention to the England match and he mimed a penalty kick of his own.

Novak Djokovic and Alexei Popyrin mime football during their third-round match at Wimbledon

Popyrin caught on quickly, though, and he reacted as a goalkeeper to Djokovic's mime and pretended to block the kick. The tennis was excellent, both players performed well, but both are human and aware that even while they are giving it a go at Wimbledon, other things are afoot outside their court.

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In the end, though, the Serb took the match against Popyrin in four sets, the last set going to a tie-break which Djokovic is nearly always ruthless in winning. Djokovic was victorious 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6(3), but the Australian should feel no shame. He played well enough to beat most players on the ATP tour. His problem was that if the Serb is serving as well as he was on Saturday nearly every player is helpless to defeat him.

Djokovic next faces Holger Rune in round four on Monday. The match will not be easy as the Dane has beaten the Serb twice in five meetings. Should Rune win in the fourth round, he might stake his claim to help form a new Big 3 along with Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner. Or Djokovic could take the match on his way to a record-tying eighth Wimbledon title.

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