LONDON, June 27, 2016
Novak Djokovic has stared his title defence of the All England Championships in Wimbledon with a 6-0, 7-6, 6-4 first round win over British wild card James Ward on Centre Court. The world number one is looking to become just the second man in history to win five consecutive Grand Slam titles. Don Budge, who won six majors in a row, is the only man to have achieved this feat.
Djokovic showed a solid performance, converted five of his 10 break point opportunities, hitting 29 winners to seal victory in two hours and three minutes.
“For the first nine games, there is really not much to say about my game. It was really flawless. The nerves kicked in for James but he started playing better in the second part of the second set and in the third. It was hard to break him,” Djokovic said.
“As a home player, he enjoyed a lot of support today, especially when he won his first game. That’s when the energy kind of shifted on his side. He felt huge relief obviously winning the first game. On the other hand, I maybe dropped the concentration a little bit. The second set was quite close. Credit to him for serving well.”
The 29-year-old from Serbia will next take on Adrian Mannarino. The Frenchman knocked out British NextGen star Kyle Edmund, winning 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 in exactly the same match time.
“I thought I just played quite inconsistently today, with the way I was constructing points,” said Edmund. “I didn’t put enough pressure on him. I served well in patches and in patches it went off. My level has gone up on the grass, but still lots more to improve on.”
Another local player in person of Marcus Willis continued his dream run in Wimbledon. The world number 775, who previously made less than GBP50 in prize money this year, has become GBP50,000 richer through a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 first round win over Ricardas Berankis. Willis, who batteld through the qualifying, fired 14 aces and won 22 of his 40 net points to advance in two hours.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) 27. Juni 2016
Willis did not only earn the prize money but also a second round match against no other than Roger Federer. The seven-time-Wimbledon champion has returned to Grand Slam action for the first time since the Australian Open and started his title bid, winning 7-6, 7-6, 6-3 over Guido Pella. The third seed from Switzerland didn’t face break point, converting one of his own to prevail in two hours and five minutes.
“His story is exactly what our sport needs sometimes,” Federer told on his next opponent.
Elsewhere, Milos Raonic, who has arrived at the All England Club with three-time-Wimbledon champion John McEnroe in his corner denied the first win in five attempts on grass for Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta. The 25-year-old Canadian fired 27 aces, hitting 58 to finish the encounter after one hour and 53 minutes. Raonic will next take on Andreas Seppi, who ousted Guillermo Garcia-López 6-2, 6-4, 6-0.