Beforehand, there was practically an impossible task ahead of the Roosendaal-born tennis player: winning against Djokovic at Wimbledon, the man who last lost in the quarterfinals in 2017 (!) on the holy grass in London. And then also because of a retirement against Tomas Berdych.
Whether it was the nerves, or whether Djokovic immediately started well will remain in the middle, but the Dutchman immediately handed in his service. The Serbian defending champion ran out to 3-0 and despite the fact that Van Rijthoven certainly didn’t play badly, he found in nole are several in the first set. At 5-2 he drove into the set with a nice ball: 6-2. A flattering set position, but that doesn’t count in the sport.
Novak Djokovic celebrates a point.
Audience on the benches for Van Rijthoven
The second set showed Van Rijthoven that he can compete at this high level of tennis and ‘just’ went hand in hand with the winner of 20 grand slam titles. The Serb is on the hunt for his seventh Wimbledon overall win and would thus be on a par with his great example Pete Sampras. In comparison: the Dutchman makes his Wimbledon debut and had never won a match on the ATP Tour before the ATP tournament that was recently won in Den Bosch.
Time and again became Djoko still embarrassed when the Dutchman hit the ball deep. At 3-3 and on the service of the Serbian world top, Van Rijthoven brought it to deuce. A phenomenal point brought him to breaking point. The defending champion was briefly lost. The crowd was on the benches and it went even further when he beautifully broke Djokovic and managed to lead 4-3. The next game he took an ace to 5-3.
Set to forget quickly
At 5-4, the Roosendaler was allowed to serve for the set. In any case, his serve had improved in the second set. Still, it got exciting. The Dutchman had to get rid of a breaking point three times before he got another one himself. A sublime ball from Djokovic also managed to eliminate this. But moments later he really did: Van Rijthoven took the second set 6-4. It was only the second time this tournament that Djoko lost a set. Last year he lost only two sets on his way to the overall victory.
Almost immediately in the third set a damper for Van Rijthoven, because the advance of the Dutchman was briefly suppressed: he lost his service. As a result, something snapped at Van Rijthoven. Inside no time Djokovic ran out to 5-0. Fortunately, he managed to brush off the hateful zero, but a game later the set was really lost: 6-1.
And so there was only one assignment: straighten up. But the Dutchman’s balls stopped falling. It immediately became difficult at the start of set 4: breakpoints for Djokovic. With a great return it was immediately hit. Van Rijthoven raised his level, but it is Djokovic where he played against. The Serb was simply too good. With a double break in his pocket, he was allowed to serve for the game and a place in the quarterfinals. And of course this worked. In the next round, Jannik Sinner waits for Djokovic, who defeated Carlos Alcaraz.
View the images of the match point here†
Tennis icons Rod Laver (Australia) and Billie Jean King (United States) watched the game between Van Rijthoven and Djokovic from the Royal Box at Wimbledon. Both were guests for the centenary celebrations of the Center Court.
The now 83-year-old Laver won eleven Grand Slam titles in his career, the five-year-younger King one more. The Dutch tennis legend Tom Okker was also present on ‘Middle Sunday’. The 78-year-old Okker made the last four at Wimbledon in 1978. Richard Krajicek, who won Wimbledon in 1996, will not be in London until next weekend.
A nice list was present: Rod Laver Bjorn Borg and Venus Williams were present.
Van Rijthoven earns as much at Wimbledon as until now
Van Rijthoven has earned as much prize money at Wimbledon as in his entire career. The number 104 in the world was left with 190,000 pounds, converted more than 220,000 euros, from the grand slam tournament.
The 25-year-old Van Rijthoven, admitted with a wild card, has collected a total of about 290,000 euros in recent years – until Wimbledon. However, this also includes the earnings in doubles. Last month, the number 3 in the Netherlands earned 98,580 euros with his title in Rosmalen.
There are no points for the world ranking to be earned at Wimbledon this year. That decision was made by tennis associations ATP and WTA in response to the Wimbledon decision to ban the Russian and Belarusian tennis players.
If points had been awarded at Wimbledon, Van Rijthoven would probably have been just outside the top 70 after the tournament.
Van Rijthoven is currently virtually in the global top 100. He occupies the 99th place.
Van Rijthoven extends grass season in Newport
Van Rijthoven will extend his grass season in Newport, USA. Presumably, the global number 104 will be added to the main schedule of the tournament in the United States, which starts in more than a week. He is currently first reserve.
The 25-year-old Van Rijthoven is working on an impressive grass season. He very surprisingly won the grass tournament in Rosmalen and reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, where he lost in four sets to title holder Novak Djokovic (6-2 4-6 6-1 6-2).
In 2000, Peter Wessels caused a stir by winning the Newport ATP tournament. That was the only title for the former number 72 in the world.
For Van Rijthoven, a qualification for the US Open is at stake in the coming weeks. “Because Tim has come this far at Wimbledon, he won’t be able to take points next week, while his competitors can. That’s why the coming weeks in the United States are important,” said Luca Cozzi, Van Rijthoven’s manager.
The US Open kicks off on August 29.