Novak Djokovic enjoys Wimbledon tweets

Novak Djokovic was grateful for the support of a “bird from Belgrade” after a mischievous sparrow flew on to Centre Court and watched the world number one defeat Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets at Wimbledon yesterday.

Novak Djokovic enjoys Wimbledon tweets

Djokovic was given little trouble by Kohlschreiber, winning 6-4 6-4 6-4 to move into the second round at SW19, but the defending champion was unable to dislodge a boisterous bird that strutted around the tram-line for most of the match.

“From where I come from, from the capital of Serbia, Belgrade, there’s a special sparrow bird — I believe this bird came all the way from Belgrade to help me,” Djokovic said.

“But I was feeling for its safety honestly a few times. I couldn’t not notice it. I mean it just loves tennis, I guess.

“At one point Kohlschreiber was serving at the advantage side, between the first and second serve, and the bird landed literally very close to the sideline.

“She stayed there until I won that point.

“So I said, ‘Be my guest, stay around, if you want.’ “It was funny to see that. We had birds, mostly birds and different animals come in and out from the court, but the sparrow bird from Belgrade really stayed for the entire match.”

It was Djokovic’s first competitive match since his shock defeat to Stan Wawrinka in the French Open final three weeks ago and, while the Serbian made an unusual number of unforced errors early on, he insisted he felt sharp after his extended break.

“Did I feel any rust? Not much,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic, who now faces Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen in the second round, has come under fire after his coach Boris Becker suggested they had secret signals to communicate with each other during matches.

ATP rules state players are not allowed to receive “communications of any kind, audible or visible” during a tournament match and Djokovic was visibly annoyed when the issue was brought up again.

“I don’t understand what you really want,” Djokovic said.

“Do you want to say I’m cheating, my team? I’m really trying to figure out what’s behind this.

“I mean, are you asking only me or are you asking other players, as well?

“I don’t understand what I can say, what I haven’t said already before. I’m going to repeat myself.

“I’m going to say that there are certain ways of communication which is encouragement, which is support, which is understanding the moment when to clap or say something that can lift my energy up, that can kind of motivate me to play a certain point. But it’s all within the rules.”

Lleyton Hewitt battled to the bitter end but was unable to prevent his Wimbledon singles career finishing with a dramatic five-set defeat to Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen.

Hewitt, who is retiring after the Australian Open next year, will be forever remembered for his irrepressible fighting spirit and the 2002 champion typically saved three match points to extend an incredible final set on Court 2.

Nieminen, however, also making his last appearance at SW19, held his nerve to seal a 3-6 6-3 4-6 6-0 11-9 victory and book a second-round match-up with Djokovic.

Andy Murray will start this year’s Wimbledon challenge by facing Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin today, fresh from a record-equalling fourth Queen’s Club title.

Murray goes into action following reigning women’s champion Petra Kvitova and seven-time winner Roger Federer.

Serena Williams took a while to get going but the five-time champion stayed on course for the calendar Grand Slam by preserving her unbeaten Wimbledon first-round record.

Twenty-year-old Margarita Gasparyan, a Russian making her Wimbledon debut, led 3-1 in the opening set but could not sustain the early onslaught as Williams ran out a 6-4 6-1 winner.

A fall by Williams in the sixth game, and a code violation warning for an audible obscenity, might have put off a lesser player, but the 33-year-old American put both behind her in claiming her 16th first-round win at Wimbledon in as many attempts.

She is targeting the feat of winning all four majors in the same year, last achieved in women’s singles by Steffi Graf in 1988.

Williams is also just a Wimbledon triumph away from the second non-calendar ’Serena Slam’ of her illustrious career. She has no enthusiasm to talk about the calendar Grand Slam, but knows her game has hit remarkable heights since losing in the third round at Wimbledon 12 months ago.

“I’ve had such an amazing year, I ended up winning the (US) Open, the (WTA) Championships, the Australian and France. I couldn’t have dreamt of a better 12 months. So it’s been really great.

“I’m just excited about that and really focusing on that,” she said. “I always focus on the moment. I don’t live too far in the future, and I don’t live in the past, I just live in the present.”

Venus Williams joined her younger sister in the second round by winning 6-0 6-0 against fellow American Madison Brengle.

There was remarkably another 6-0 6-0 victory minutes later as Andrea Petkovic of Germany inflicted the same humiliation on American Shelby Rogers, at 22-year-old who was making her Wimbledon debut.

Russian Maria Sharapova, the 2004, champion eased to a 6-2 6-2 win over Great Britain’s Johanna Konta on Centre Court, and last week’s Eastbourne champion, Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, recovered from a slow start to overcome Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6 6-1 6-3.

Former semi-finalist Victoria Azarenka coasted through her opening match as she became the first woman through to the second round.

The 25-year-old Belarusian reached the last-four stage in 2011 and 2012, and overwhelmed Estonian Anett Kontaveit 6-2 6-1 in just 57 minutes on Court 12.

Serbian seventh seed Ana Ivanovic enjoyed a swift 6-1 6-1 victory over China’s Xu Yi-fan, and Australian Sam Stosur, seeded 22nd, won 6-4 6-4 against Montenegrin Danka Kovinic.

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