Djokovic defeats spirited Ward

Defending champion Novak Djokovic got his Wimbledon campaign under way on Monday with a straight sets victory over Great Britain's James Ward.

Some unlucky fellow had to have the misfortune of drawing Djokovic in the first round and this year it was one of the local favourites.

"I was in the gym doing some yoga when I heard the draw," Ward said after hearing about his fate. "My physio put his phone in front of me. It said: 'Djokovic and J Ward.' I went: 'Oh, ****'."

Ward's worst fears would have been realised as he went down 6-0 in the first set, with Djokovic converting three of eight break to wrap it up inside half an hour.

But the 29-year-old Ward was much more impressive in the second set. After Djokovic broke again for a 3-0 lead, the World No 177 had the whole of Centre Court cheering as he broke back before leveling the scores at 3-3.

Ward saved three more break points in game eight, and then had three chances of his own at 5-5, but couldn't convert.

It was left to a tie-break to decide the set, and Djokovic was able to draw on all his skill and experience to win it with relative ease.

Another break of serve early in the third put Djokovic in total control, and the Serb was able to serve out for a 6-0, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 victory in just over two hours, booking his place in the second round.

"There is not really not much to say about the first nine games, it was flawless, I felt great and nerves kicked in for James," Djokovic said after the match. "He started playing better in the second set and it got close. It was solid performance from me though. James was serving with a lot of precision and it was not easy to break his serve.

"This is probably the most unique experience in tennis, playing as the defending champion, on untouched grass. It is really special to feel this tradition."

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