Calling it "one of the toughest first rounds I could get," Novak Djokovic will take to the court Monday for the traditional Wimbledon men's defending champion opener on center court. He will play Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.
A defending men's champion has not lost in the first round at Wimbledon since Lleyton Hewitt was ousted by big-serving Ivo Karlovic in 2003. Djokovic is 6-1 against Kohlschreiber.
Still, there was concern among fans of Serbia's world No. 1 player because he has not played in a tournament since his four-set defeat in the French Open final at the hands of Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka. Djokovic said this is his normal approach.
"I still managed to play in the final two years ago," Djokovic said, "and to win the title last year."
But he admitted that there was more to his absence in the traditional Wimbledon practice events this year than just following a past pattern.
"Roland Garros [French Open] final was not easy. .... I needed some time to just mentally recover."
Each of Djokovic's main rivals at Wimbledon, No. 2 Roger Federer, No. 3 Andy Murray and No. 10 Rafael Nadal, won a tuneup tournament on grass.
The Djokovic match will be followed by Maria Sharapova against Britain's Johanna Konta and Wawrinka against Portugal's Joao Sousa. Sharapova and Wawrinka are seeded fourth.
Top-seeded Serena Williams will open on Court 1.