Novak Djokovic continues the defence of his Wimbledon title on Wednesday, taking on Denis Kudla for a spot in round three. While he would be the overwhelming favourite against both of them, Djokovic is sure to be excited by the early exits of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, two top stars that have given him trouble on other surfaces.
Kudla’s counterpunching style looks to have a ceiling with the American yet to break into the top 50 as he nears his 27th birthday. He is fairly solid on grass though, making the fourth round of Wimbledon back in 2015. This year, a win over Gael Monfils in Stuttgart was the highlight heading into this tournament.
Djokovic dealt with a potentially tricky opponent in Philipp Kohlschreiber in fairly routine style, beating the German 6-3 7-5 6-3. He was broken to begin the match but pushed on from there, closing out the match in just over two hours. With no warmup tournament before Wimbledon he is needing to ease his way into form on the grass. “The break in the first game wasn’t the start that I was looking for. But I think I came with the right intensity. I answered back really well,” Djokovic said. “Then from that moment onwards, I played a pretty good match, I thought. It was a good quality. I held my serve well.”
Djokovic’s mindset is completely different from 12 months ago, where he was still searching for form following injury. Now, he is the clear favourite for the title. “Every time I step on the court, I reflect on what has happened the previous year, especially if you come as the defending champion,” Djokovic said. “I did kind of go through the feelings, rewind those memories, the last championship point against Anderson last year in the finals. Yeah, it was quite a different situation or quite different circumstances 12 months ago and now.”
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets