Novak Djokovic‘s bid for a fourth title at The Championships got underway on Tuesday on Centre Court.
Djokovic, who three days ago clinched his 68th tour-level title at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, was leading Martin Klizan 6-3, 2-0 after 40 minutes of play when the Slovakian retired due to a left leg injury.
“It was great to be back on Centre Court, the cathedral of tennis, where I have many special memories,” second seed Djokovic told BBC Television. “It’s never nice to win like this, but I tried to focus on my game plan. I thought I served well, but didn’t do so well on my returns.”
Djokovic improved to a 29-7 record on the season, which also includes the Qatar ExxonMobil Open crown (d. Murray) in January. Andre Agassi, the 1992 Wimbledon champion, and 2004 semi-finalist Mario Ancic are both working with the Serbian star at the All England Club during the fortnight.
Djokovic will now challenge the 22-year-old Czech Adam Pavlasek, who knocked out #NextGenATP American Ernesto Escebedo 6-7(7), 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in two hours and five minutes. There were no points longer than four shots.
The 30-year-old has an opportunity to return to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings if he were to win the Wimbledon title, but only if both Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal lose before the semi-finals.
“I always try to have that mindset that I am fighting for the trophy, just like everyone else,” said Djokovic. “And tennis is a sport that allows you to have this opportunity over and over again, literally every other week. Even if you lose, you can still bounce back and make a good results in few weeks’ time… The source of my motivation to play the sport is love and passion for this sport. As long as that’s there, then everything else seems easier and more natural.”