World number one Djokovic beats Germany's Florian Mayer in straight sets
Tomas Berdych and Martin del Porto also comfortably through
Bernard Tomic makes plea for controversial father John to be allowed Wimbledon entry
World number one Novak Djokovic began his bid to win a second Wimbledon title with a straight sets victory as he focused hard on avoiding a shock Rafael Nadal-style defeat.
A day after the Spaniard bowed out against Belgian world No. 135 Steve Darcis, the Serb was in unforgiving mood as he defeated Germany’s Florian Mayer 6-3 7-5 6-4.
Djokovic was playing his first match since losing a thrilling five-set semifinal at the French Open against Nadal, who went on to win the tournament for a record eighth time.
“I watched the bigger part of (the Nadal-Darcis) match and I thought that his opponent played great,” Djokovic said.
“Darcis came up with some incredible shots, incredible points in important moments and he deserved to win.
“I know people expect all the top players to get to at least the final stages of a grand slam or whatever tournament they play. It was a surprise in the end him losing to Darcis, but his opponent played great.”
Having been seeded in the opposite section of the draw, Djokovic would have been unable to meet Nadal until the final itself but now his main rivals would appear to be either Wimbledon maestro Roger Federer, the defending champion, or local favorite Andy Murray.
Yet Djokovic is refusing to look so far ahead as he says the early rounds of grand slams can be very testing for the world’s leading players.
“You cannot take anything or anybody for granted. You have to be grateful for being in this position and work even harder to stay there,” said the 2011 Wimbledon champion.
“The sport is evolving, like everything in life. Everybody is getting better, getting more professional.
“Especially at the opening stages of grand slams, there are a lot of quality players who have nothing to lose really coming on the Center Court or Court One, playing in front of 10,000 or more people.
“Against one of the top players, what can you really lose? You’re going and you’re playing your best tennis.”
Djokovic had taken a risk ahead of the championships by failing to play any competitive matches on grass but he gave a convincing display against a player whose game, the Serb says, is “suited to grass”.
Bidding for a seventh grand slam, Djokovic will now meet American Bobby Reynolds in the second round.
The Serb is in the same half of the draw as David Ferrer, the Spanish fourth seed who lost his first grand slam final to Nadal last month.
A master of clay, Ferrer had to adapt to the Wimbledon surface as he beat Wimbledon debutant Martin Alund of Argentina in four sets.
“It is difficult to play on grass for my game,” said Ferrer. “It is very difficult to defend. I am happy because I am in the second round but I know that I have to improve my game.”
In other matches on Tuesday, seven seed Tomas Berdych eased through in straight sets against Martin Klizan in what is the Czech’s 40th straight appearance at a grand slam.
Germany’s Tommy Haas, a quarterfinalist at Roland Garros, overcame Dmitry Tursunov while Juan Martin del Potro beat Albert Ramos in straight sets.
Elsewhere, Australia’s Bernard Tomic defeated American 21st seed Sam Querrey before making an impassioned plea for his controversial father to be allowed entry to Wimbledon.
Tomic’s father has been barred from attending by Wimbledon authorities after an incident involving his son’s doubles partner Thomas Drouet in May, with security guards having been told to deny John Tomic entry even if he buys a ticket.
Bernard wants Wimbledon and the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) to overturn the suspension imposed after John was accused of headbutting Drouet on the streets of Madrid.
The ban is ongoing at all ATP events until the case reaches its conclusion, with Tomic set to face a Madrid court in October, and his 20-year-old son is now missing both his father and coach.
“All of a sudden not to have someone there who’s been there for you your whole life is very difficult. It’s not a good feeling. It’s tough,” said Bernard, whose father is staying with him in south London.
“I’ll try and have a word with (the Wimbledon authorities). I know they are very strict here. We’ll see what they say. It would be amazing to have my dad here watching me as a coach and a father.”
John Tomic has claimed self-defense for his actions.