NOVAK Djokovic likes to channel his inner peace, with yoga and trips to the nearby temple famously part of his Wimbledon routine.
And he certainly appeared relaxed as he started his All England Club campaign with breezy 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 win over world No 56 Andrey Golubev – his job done and dusted in less than 90 minutes.
Djokovic was beaten by Andy Murray in last year’s final and is seeking to follow the lead of ten other runners-up since 1945, who have returned the following year to go one better.
His coach Boris Becker did it in 1989, Murray achieved it last year and, on this evidence, the smart money is on Djokovic, the winner here in 2011, to follow their trend, despite his long and ultimately unsuccessful run to the French Open final.
“This is a sport that requires you to recover and come back within a week or so, I don’t dwell too much of what has happened and I try to look forward,” he said.
“You always try to learn the lesson and move on.
“It’s not the first time I’ve lost a final and that experience helps too.
“The best way to get over the disappointment is to win again, so I’m already feeling better already after this win.”
You can’t escape last year’s storied men’s final at Wimbledon - but the tale of the runner-up has barely been told and Djokovic is happy to fly under the radar.
However, yesterday’s Centre Court masterclass proved an ominous statement of intent, Golubev didn’t play badly, he just didn’t get a chance as Djokovic rolls on to face Czech veteran Radek Stepanek in the second round. “It obvious people will talk about it last year because it was a historic final for British tennis, having waited so long, but it doesn’t bother me,” he added.
“I had my chances in that match but Andy was the more stable player, he deserved to win.
“I’ve won here too so I’ve got my own expectations and happy memories. I know I’m one of the favourites, that’s why I’m the top seed.
“This was a good start but I know he’s going to get tougher, Radek is a very dangerous player on grass and he’s not the sort of opponent you want early in the championships.”
Elsewhere, sixth seed Tomas Berdych survived an early scare before advancing to the next round with a four set win over Romania’s Victor Hanescu.
There were also victories for 12th seed Ernests Gulbis, 17th seed Mikhail Youzhny and Queen’s Club winner Grigor Dimitrov, the 11th seed.
But Fernando Verdasco, who took Murray to five sets in last year’s quarter-finals, crashed out in straight sets to Australia’s world number 58 Marinko Matosev.
Two-time semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was also given a fright by Austria’s Jurgen Meltzer.
He was taken to a fifth set after a stuttering display, which he was leading 5-4 and with the serve when rain stopped play.
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