The 36-year-old Serbian Djokovic is aiming to tie Roger Federer’s eight Wimbledon titles and break Bjorn Borg’s record of five straight men’s singles victories by winning his 24th Grand Slam trophy, which would extend the men’s record and put him on par with Margaret Court of Australia.
On Centre Court on Monday, four-time defending winner and fiery Novak Djokovic defeated Argentine Pedro Cachin in straight sets to start his quest for a record. Cachin was willing but outmatched.
He got off to a good start by winning 6-3, 6-3, 7-6(4). He only showed signs of concern when he grumbled about the danger of slipping on a little damp court after a shower that caused a delay of 70 minutes. Although he has avoided participating in any of the grass court warm-up events for several years, Djokovic’s last loss on Centre Court came in the 2013 final against Andy Murray. Surprisingly, that was also his last loss on grass by any of the 128 players in this year’s draw.
Since I haven’t played any warm-up matches and grass is somewhat different from clay, I find the initial match to be a little challenging. “Over the years, I’ve done a pretty good job of adapting, and hopefully I can do it again.” Although Djokovic acknowledged that the fans found the rain delay to be inconvenient, he insisted that the conditions would remain slick until the roof had been reopened. He remarked, “I normally carry rackets, not towels.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates his win in first round of The Championships Wimbledon 2023 (Credits: Getty Images)
Small scale differences : Djokovic tactics
The Wimbledon debutant Cachin, who had only played one match on grass and lost it, battled with the greatest player of all time for lengthy stretches before breaking him for a 3-2 lead in the first set on a rare Djokovic double fault. This served as a reminder of the tiny gaps that separate the great from the merely very good.
However, the champion promptly broke back and, as he started to find his range, pounded through the Argentine’s defenses to win the opening set in 42 minutes. Then came the kind of delay that drives Wimbledon supporters crazy. The roof was slid into place after a brief downpour, but Djokovic remained reluctant to rejoin the action, pacing the court as ball boys resorted to using leaf blowers to dry the surface.
After 70 minutes, play resumed with the roof open once more, and Djokovic got right to work with a break. While he fired in a few crowd-pleasing drop shots, his 68th-ranked opponent was eventually worn down by the persistent force and accuracy of his groundstrokes together with a more emphatic serve. To his praise, the 28-year-old Cachin held the champion to a tiebreak in the third set, rallying from 0-30 down at 5-4 down with four consecutive games to force it, but Djokovic just changed tactics once more to win it easily.
More difficult obstacles lie ahead in the upcoming two weeks, but someone from the young generation will need to come up with something unique to stop Djokovic from leaving with yet another armful of records while Rafa Nadal is injured and Roger Federer is retired.