Novak Djokovic defeated James Ward 6-0, 7-6(3), 6-4 on Monday in Wimbledon first match this season. That opening moment of the tournament is one that Djokovic cherishes. To step out on the pristine court, on to the unsullied grass, a lawn not touched by sneaker sole nor pigeon claw – that is a moment to savour:
“It’s going to be the first match on the untouched grass,” Djokovic said on Sunday. “That’s probably one of the most special tennis matches that you get to experience as a professional tennis player.”
Ward struggled to get a handful of points on the board in the first set; Djokovic eased through his service games as if he were in the warm-up. Blink and you missed them. Oh, he had a few break points to defend but they were flicked away as you would flick fluff off your sleeve. For nine games, Djokovic was untouchable and Ward looked stage-struck. But then, was able to hold his serve and Nole won the second in the tiebreak.
“For the first nine games, there is really not much to say about my game,” Djokovic said. “It was really flawless. The nerves kicked in for James but he started playing better in the second part of the second set and in the third. It was hard to break him.”