Wimbledon 2016: Djokovic to Open Defence on Day One



Top seed Novak Djokovic will begin the defence of his Wimbledon title when the tournament gets under way today.
The world number one is to open play on Centre Court against Britain’s James Ward.
Seven-time champion Roger Federer and French Open winner Garbine Muguruza also feature on day one.
Qualifier Marcus Willis, ranked 775, is one of eight Britons in action today, with Andy Murray and Johanna Konta scheduled to start tomorrow.
Djokovic arrives at the All England Club as the new French Open champion, holder of all four Grand Slam titles and on course for the first calendar-year Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.
The 29-year-old is a strong favourite to become only the fourth man in the Open era to win a hat-trick of Wimbledon titles.
“The situation this year is quite different from previous years because I’m coming in with a Roland Garros title for the first time,” said Djokovic.
“That gives me, obviously, a lot of confidence prior to this event.”
Asked about facing a British player in his opening match, Djokovic said: “It’s going to be the first match on the untouched grass.
“That’s probably one of the most special matches that you get to experience as a professional tennis player.”
Federer, 35, is the number three seed and so expected to face Djokovic in the semi-finals, although the Swiss lacks his usual number of matches after struggling with with injuries all year.
Second seed Murray appears the most likely to threaten Djokovic, having finished runner-up to the Serb at the year’s first two Grand Slams in Australia and France.
Defending champion Serena Williams remains the woman to beat as she chases a seventh Wimbledon and 22nd major title, which would draw her level with Steffi Graf in the all-time list.
However, the 34-year-old American has not won a Grand Slam since last year’s Wimbledon, with Muguruza beating her in France and rising to two in the world rankings.