London, Great Britain, 6 July 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Alexei Popyrin is excited to test himself against world No.2 Novak Djokovic on day six at Wimbledon 2024.

“He’s probably the best grass-courter in the world,” the 24-year-old Australian said of the seven-time Wimbledon champion ahead of their third-round showdown.

“He’s super comfortable on (grass) and even though he had surgery a few weeks ago, he’s still playing fairly well and moving really well. I’m going to expect a full, fit Novak Djokovic and I’m going to have to bring my A-game out there.”

Djokovic is on a 14-match winning streak against Australian opponents at Grand Slam level, with his last loss coming against Lleyton Hewitt at the US Open in 2006.

However, Popyrin can take confidence from an encouraging performance against Djokovic at the Australian Open earlier this year, where he extended the then-world No.1 to four sets in the second round.

“I had my chances in Australia,” the world No.47 noted. “I felt comfortable out there at Rod Laver (Arena) with the Aussie crowd behind me, but I think he’s going to be a whole different beast at Wimbledon.”

Yet Popyrin still rates his chances against the 37-year-old Serbian, who has won 47 of his past 50 grass-court matches.

“I don’t want to say that I’m super confident or not super confident, I’m just going to go out there and enjoy the moment,” he declared.

“(But) I feel like I do have the game.”

Alex de Minaur also faces an accomplished player in French qualifier Lucas Pouille.

Although the 30-year-old Pouille is presently ranked No.212, he is a former top-10 player and a proven performer on the Grand Slam stage.

“I think he’s got the experience on the grass, right?” De Minaur said of the Wimbledon 2016 quarterfinalist and Australian Open 2019 semifinalist.

“His high level is very high, and he can make it very hard on any player out there on his day. So, you know, he’s probably going to take it to me … I’ve got to be bringing my A-game.”

A further nine Australians feature in doubles matches on day six. This includes the first-time pairing of Rinky Hijikata and John Peers, who spoiled Andy Murray’s Wimbledon farewell in their opening round.

“I thought for us it was a great start and hopefully we’ll continue getting better,” said Peers, a former world No.2 and Wimbledon doubles finalist in 2015.

Their draw does not get any easier, with world No.12 Neal Skupski and world No.20 Michael Venus waiting in the second round. The ninth seeds are unbeaten in nine matches on grass this season, after sweeping back-to-back ATP titles at Queen’s Club and Eastbourne.

“There are no easy matches out there. We’ll take it to them and see what level we can bring,” Peers said. “It will be another exciting match and hopefully a lot of fun.”

The Wimbledon Junior Championships also begin today, with New South Wales talent Pavle Marinkov taking on reigning Roland Garros boys’ singles finalist Tomasz Berkieta in the opening round.

Wimbledon is broadcast live in Australia on the Nine Network and Stan Sport, with coverage beginning from 7.30pm AEST.

Aussies in action on day six:

Men’s singles, third round
[9] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v [Q] Lucas Pouille (FRA), No.3 Court, first match (from 8pm AEST)
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v [2] Novak Djokovic (SRB), Centre Court, third match

Men’s doubles, first round
[Alt] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS)/Reese Stalder (USA) v Nicolas Mahut (FRA)/Skander Mansouri (TUN), Court 16, first match, 2-4 to finish

Men’s doubles, second round
John-Patrick Smith (AUS)/Andreas Mies (GER) v [3] Rajeev Ram (USA)/Joe Salisbury (GBR), No.3 Court, third match
[15] Max Purcell (AUS)/Jordan Thompson (AUS) 
v Fabrice Martin (FRA)/Matwe Middelkoop (NED), Court 8, fourth match, 6-4 3-3 to finish
Rinky Hijikata (AUS)/John Peers (AUS) v [9] Neal Skupski (GBR)/Michael Venus (NZL), Court 14, fourth match
[2] Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v Constantin Frantzen (GER)/Hendrik Jebens (GER), Court 8, fifth match

Women’s doubles, second round
[Alt] Olivia Gadecki (AUS)/Elixane Lechemia (FRA) v [4] Katerina Siniakova (CZE)/Taylor Townsend (USA), Court 17, second match, 1-2 to finish
[3] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v Timea Babos (HUN)/Nadiia Kichenok (UKR), Court 5, fourth match

Boys’ singles, first round
Pavle Marinkov (AUS) v [4] Tomasz Berkieta (POL), Court 10, third match

> VIEW: Full Wimbledon 2024 day six schedule

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