Wimbledon 2022 - Novak Djokovic downs Soonwoo Kwon to progress at Wimbledon after losing set
Novak Djokovic has struggled this year after disappointments at both the Australian Open and at Roland-Garros, but things have changed with the relative freedom afforded to players at WImbledon 2022 and he made a winning start at SW19. Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.
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The Centre Court crowd were thrilled with what Kwon produced in the second set, and he deservedly took it for the loss of just three games.
Djokovic, who has not enjoyed a season to remember so far with disappointments at the Australian Open and at Roland-Garros, will now face the winner of Thanasi Kokkinakis and Kamil Majchrzak.
“This court is truly special for me," Djokovic said post-match. "It’s always been the court I’ve dreamt about playing on. All my childhood dreams came true on this court and it’s an honour to play on the Centre Court at Wimbledon.
“Credit to Kwon for playing some really high-quality tennis; he deserves the applause. Starting the tournament, I didn’t have any preparatory tournaments prior to Wimbledon so I was less comfortable in the beginning, particularly when playing against someone as talented as Kwon who stays close to the line and hits well [off both wings].
"I couldn’t go through him, so I had to figure out a way, tactically, to get in control of the points. I had to add a lot of variety into the game; the serve helped. I faced a break point in the third set and if he had won it, this match could have gone a different way. At this level, one or two points decide the winner.
“This sport has given me everything. I love it with all my heart, and I’m as dedicated as anyone out there. I’m not one of the youngsters anymore; things change. I still have the love and the flame for this sport still burns in me. Now that I’ve got 80 [wins], let’s get to 100!”
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning against Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea during the Men's Singles First Round match during Day One of The Championships Wimbledon 2022 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 27
Image credit: Getty Images
Laura Robson, who was working for Eurosport on Monday, gave her views about the Serb's form and all that he has endured since his nightmare at the Australian Open earlier in the year.
"I'm not worried at all [about Novak]," Robson told Eurosport. "He was my favourite going into the tournament, and he is still my favourite after today.
"After the last couple of months, it’s understandable that he still has a little bit of rust. He was saying in his interview that Kwon was playing some difficult tennis. it was tough to get the rhythm he wanted going into the match and everyone wants to beat him.
"All the pressure is on Djokovic and not his opponent. They all think that there is a chance [to beat him] because he’s not necessarily playing his best tennis at the moment. To get through these early rounds with a win is enough for him right now.
"He is a bit rusty. You can tell from the match that he is still a bit rusty. What happened in Australia really lasted for a few months, weighing on his shoulders.
"The amount of drama that we went through there, and it takes a long time to get over something like that. To have a chance to play on Centre Court on day one has always got to be one of his favourite days of the year.
"He’s so comfortable out there, and even when he isn’t playing his best tennis, it is enough to win and Djokovic needs to get through a few of these early rounds. He’s still the favourite.”
Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.