Novak Djokovic is safe in the third round at Wimbledon for the 15th time after 16 trips to London. The five-time winner defeated Jake Draper and Kevin Anderson to advance to the last 32, losing the first set to the young Briton and raising his bar after that to leave both Draper and Anderson behind.
Thus, Novak became the third player with 84 Wimbledon matches (74-10), passing his former coach Boris Becker and only behind Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer, who have played more than 100 matches at the All England Club. Novak made his Wimbledon debut in 2005 and reached the semi-final two years later.
After the 2010 semi-final, the Serbian became the player to beat in the cathedral of tennis, taking five of the last nine crowns at the All England Club and ranking as one of the most decorated players in the grass Major.
Winning titles in 2018 and 2019, Novak is the top favorite to add another trophy to his collection in ten days, seeking the third Major of the season and the twentieth overall. In his first game at Wimbledon this year, Novak scored a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Jack Draper in two hours.
Djokovic lost the first set and lashed out at his rival in the next three, controlling both serve and return to advance to the second round. The Serbian fired 46 winners and 24 unforced errors, lost serve once in the first set and made six breaks to make a strong start and send a clear message to his opponents.
The youngster fended off all seven break opportunities in three different service games in the first set and took an early break that brought him home. Starting again in set number two, Novak dropped three points on serve and secured two quibres for 6-1.
Kudla was clearly the crowd favorite against Novak Djokovic
The World No. 1 didn't enjoy the best of support during his clash with Kudla on Friday. Many spectators on Court 1 threw their weight behind the American, especially when he led by a break in the third set.
"I think everyone respects what Novak Djokovic does a lot, but they want to see surprises," Denis Kudla said. "With Federer, it's different, they always encourage him. But in the end, Djokovic doesn't care.
He's determined to win, he's extremely good. There really is nothing he can do wrong on the court. It was part of the tactics, to use the crowd and try to get him flustered," Kudla said. "If I can get the crowd on my side, it's only going to help me, at least I think so.
That was definitely in the game plan." Denis Kudla further pointed out how fans usually root for the underdog in sport, and especially so against athletes as dominant as Novak Djokovic. "People like the underdogs," the 28-year-old added.
"I think in most sports when you see someone who's that highly ranked and as dominant as him, people just want to see a change, unfortunately."