An unrecognisable Jordan Thompson says playing Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon will be a privilege, even if he doesn’t win.
The Sydneysider rocked up to the famous grass courts of SW19 sporting an all-new look, the mullet and mo gone.
“No one has recognised me! They think I’m here for juniors so I’ll take that as a compliment,” Thompson told Stan Sport’s Grand Slam Daily.
Thompson’s new doo nearly didn’t make it beyond lunch after he threatened to bomb out in straight sets.
Down 2-6, 2-6 to America’s Brandon Nakashima, the Australian fought back to win three sets in a row, 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-3.
“Really slow start and then 2-6, 2-6 and looking like a quick exit first match on Monday at 11 o’clock,” said Thompson.
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“I thought, ‘Oh geez, I’m packing my bags early’. Turned it around. Started mixing things up and getting to the net a lot more and it paid off.”
Thompson had tennis legend Lleyton Hewitt in his corner, who offered “a few words” that helped the 29-year-old turn the match around.
“Just trying to get to the net as much as possible,” he said of the change in tactics.
“I was getting out-rallied from the back really, so I thought I wasn’t going to win it from the baseline, so I’ve got a better chance at the net and yeah, turned it around.”
With that win, Thompson has progressed to the second round where he’ll try to do what no one has done in 10 years at Wimbledon.
The Serbian’s last loss on centre court in south-west London came all the way back in 2013.
Djokovic has won the past four Wimbledon titles and is vying for a record-equalling eighth this year.
“When I saw the draw, I thought, ‘Yeah, I’d really love to get through this match to be able to play him’,” said Thompson.
“This could be his best tournament. I’ve just seen some pretty incredible stats and I know he’s won this maybe (seven) times.
“It really is incredible. He’s arguably the best player of all time. He’s got the most Grand Slams. It might not be fun but it’ll be good to be out there.”
For Stan Sport commentator Mark Petchy, the only advantage Thompson has over Djokovic is the unknown.
“The one thing that Jordan has in his favour is that they’ve never played and obviously it is a bit of a feeling out process for somebody like Novak,” he said.
The pair will face off on Wednesday with coverage live and ad-free on Stan Sport or live and free on 9Now.
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