Novak Djokovic: 'I had to figure out a way tactically to...'



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Novak Djokovic: 'I had to figure out a way tactically to...'

With apocalyptic rain pummeling the closed roof of Center Court for quite a while, adding to the sense of danger below, Novak Djokovic made it through an awkward first round against free-kick-taking Korean Soonwoo Kwon. This is Djokovic's "childhood dream tournament"

But this was far from a dream start to the Fortnight for the No. 1 seed and defending champion, as he dropped the second set against the wonderfully irreverent No.81 in the world, and then came within a point of losing in the third.

establish. But, in the end, the Serb figured out how to handle Kwon, progressing 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, at which point sun, blue skies and a sort of normal serve returned to Wimbledon. For all the other turbulence in Djokovic's tennis life, with the uncertainty of what other Grand Slams he may play, there is one constant: he continues to win matches on the grass at Wimbledon.

You have to go back to 2017, to his quarterfinals against the Czech Tomas Berdych, for the last time that Djokovic lost on this pitch. "Thanks to Kwon for playing very high quality tennis. He deserves some applause. If I had broken in the third set, this match could have gone differently," Djokovic said.

A difficult first Monday shouldn't worry Djokovic too much, as he will no doubt remember how he lost a set in his first round last summer, against British wild card Jack Draper. The victory put Djokovic one-seventh of the way to stealing what would be a fourth consecutive Wimbledon title, and matching his boyhood idol Pete Sampras' achievement of seven Wimbledon titles, which would leave him one shy of the record for Roger Federer's eight.

Djokovic started well in London

Novak Djokovic also had words of high praise for the man he defeated in the first round of the 2022 Wimbledon -- Soon Woo Kwon. "Credit to Kwon for playing some really high quality tennis.

He deserves the applause. Always starting the tournament, I didn't have any preparation tournaments, so I was always going to feel a little bit less comfortable," he said. "Particularly when playing against someone as talented as Kwon.

It was really difficult to go through him, so I had to figure out a way tactically to getting control of the point. I think my serve helped," Djokovic said. "At this level, one or two points or shots decide the winner and I am glad I was on the winning side today."