Novak Djokovic beat Tim van Rijthoven on Sunday to take his place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, and was very relieved to get the job done ahead of the 23:00BST curfew.

World number one Djokovic saw off the Wimbledon debutant 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-2 on Centre Court to set up an intriguing last-eight clash with Jannik Sinner.

The contest did not go all the defending champion's way, however, as Van Rijthoven's display in the second set suggested Djokovic would have to dig deep.

But the Serb's response was emphatic as he went on drop just three games in the following two sets, blowing the 25-year-old Dutchman away impressively to reach a 13th Wimbledon quarter-final.

It was also Djokovic's 25th successive win at Wimbledon, a sequence that has only ever been bettered three times in SW19.

For a while there seemed to be a real threat of Van Rijthoven taking the match into a second day, with the curfew looming.

Djokovic suggested he was not entirely aware of the deadline, and that only increased his relief after clinching victory with 22 minutes to spare.

Speaking on court afterwards, Djokovic said: "I don't know if there was a curfew, 11pm? Is that still on? Okay, phew!

"I am lucky, I am lucky. It's only 20 minutes, too, so I'm lucky. I have had some previous experience of playing a match over two days under the roof against [Rafael] Nadal some years ago, and it's never really pleasant if you can't finish the match the same day.

"I am glad I did and now I am just looking forward to the next challenge."

Specifically on Van Rijthoven, Djokovic added: "He was very tough, he's kind of a new face on the tour and actually won his first ATP match in the tournament he won a few weeks ago in his country, beating players in top five, top 10 in the world.

"He was on a streak on this surface, so I knew it wasn't going to be easy with that serve and a lot of talent, great touch and a powerful forehand. He can do a lot of damage.

"It took me a little bit of time to get used to his pace, and the conditions under the roof are a little bit different, a bit slippery, so it takes a bit of adjusting, but overall I closed out the match well."

Novak Djokovic stared danger in the face and scared it off in inimitable fashion as Wimbledon's defending champion scored a late-night win over Tim van Rijthoven.

Chasing a fourth successive title at the All England Club, Djokovic shrugged off the jolt of dropping the second set to scorch through the next two and secure a 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-2 victory in the fourth-round contest.

Having been part of an early-afternoon parade of champions, marking Centre Court's centenary, six-time Wimbledon king Djokovic returned to the arena and served a reminder of why he has become so difficult to beat. This was his 25th consecutive match win in the men's singles at Wimbledon, and only Bjorn Borg (41), Roger Federer (40) and Pete Sampras (31) have had more in a row.

Van Rijthoven's fairy-tale rise to prominence during this grass-court season has included wins over world number one Daniil Medvedev and Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Rosmalen Grass Court Championships. The victory over Medvedev came in the final, with Van Rijthoven's ranking jumping from 205th to 106th on the ATP list, Wimbledon swiftly proffering a wildcard.

Seeds Reilly Opelka and Nikoloz Basilashvili both fell to Van Rijthoven in Wimbledon's early rounds, and when he sealed the second set against Djokovic with back-to-back aces, it fuelled the Dutchman's belief that he might add an even greater scalp.

A dazzling backhand from Djokovic set up break point in game two of the third set, and with a curfew of 23:00BST, the Serbian knew he needed to hurry up. Van Rijthoven speared a forehand long and the break was established, at 21:43BST.

Djokovic surged 5-0 ahead; and although Van Rijthoven spared himself a 'bagel', the damage had been done. Soon the top seed was a set away from the finish line, all across his opponent's game, and Van Rijthoven knew the jig was up. That finish line was crossed at 22:38BST. Djokovic said it had been a "very tough" battle, but he survives and faces Jannik Sinner next.

Data slam: Poles apart, and eventually it showed

Where Van Rijthoven has one ATP-level title, Djokovic has 87. The 35-year-old Serbian remains the firm favourite to be holding the trophy on Centre Court next Sunday, that second set notwithstanding. Djokovic's resilient effort against a man in form means there has still never been an incidence of the men's singles top seed losing to a wildcard at a grand slam in the Open Era (since 1968).

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 28/19
Van Rijthoven – 41/53

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 7/2
Van Rijthoven – 20/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 6/17
Van Rijthoven – 1/4

Martina Navratilova said she was "gutted" to miss Wimbledon's Centre Court centenary celebration after testing positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

The nine-time champion was absent from a parade of champions, and in a series of posts on social media she explained why she had to sit it out.

Past winners were introduced to the main show court's middle Sunday crowd, with the one-time champions going first, all the way through to eight-time Wimbledon king Roger Federer.

Navratilova would have come out last of all, as the most successful singles player in Wimbledon history, but she was unable to take part. Including doubles, Navratilova won 20 slam titles at Wimbledon.

"Unfortunately I will miss it as I just tested positive this morning," she wrote on Twitter shortly before the ceremony. "Am so bummed!!!! I am gutted I can't be there."

Confirming she had the coronavirus, Navratilova wrote: "Yup, got it here for sure… oh well. So wanted to be on that court with so many champions of our sport."

Asked how she was feeling, the 65-year-old Czech-born American added: "Not too bad so far- wouldn't want to play tennis but ok… fingers crossed."

A host of greats of the game delighted the crowd, with stars of the women's tour including Navratilova's former great rivals Chris Evert and Billie Jean King, along with Margaret Court and Venus Williams, while Federer was joined by a field of fellow men's superstars that included Rod Laver, Novak Djokovic, Stefan Edberg, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.

Three-time former champion Boris Becker was another notable absentee, after the German was jailed in April for offences relating to his 2017 bankruptcy. Seven-time winner Serena Williams also missed the event, after her first-round defeat.

Navratilova has been working at Wimbledon during the championships, notably appearing as a member of the BBC broadcast team.

Novak Djokovic warned Wimbledon title pretenders his game is improving with every round as he eased past fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic on Centre Court.

Defending champion Djokovic won 6-0 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 53 minutes to book a last-16 clash with Dutch wild card Tim van Rijthoven.

The 20-time grand slam winner will carry out due diligence on Wimbledon rookie Van Rijthoven, who is through to the fourth round on his debut and has reeled off eight successive wins.

Van Rijthoven won the Rosmalen Grass Court Championships in the lead-up to this fortnight, stunning world number one Daniil Medvedev in the final.

Yet on the form that saw Djokovic crush Kecmanovic's hopes, Van Rijthoven will surely stand little hope of going any deeper into the tournament.

Djokovic won 88 per cent of points when landing his first serve in court, and he has now reached the fourth round at Wimbledon on 14 occasions, a performance only beaten in men's singles by Roger Federer (18) and Jimmy Connors (16).

"I thought I started off very, very well, very strong with a lot of good intensity, good focus," Djokovic said in an on-court interview.

"Honestly, I think I've been playing better and better as the tournament progresses, so that's something you wish for as a player, that every match you play you raise a level of tennis up a notch, at least, and I think that's what is happening at the moment.

"I know I can always do better, I always expect the highest from myself, and so far, so good, and I'm looking forward to the next challenge."

Data slam: Familiarity breeds familiar outcome

The battle of these Davis Cup team-mates was always unlikely to go the way of the 25th seed, and so it proved that Kecmanovic could not cope with the animal that Centre Court brings out in Djokovic.

This was a third career meeting in tournament action for the pair, with both previous encounters having come at the Serbia Open. Kecmanovic took the opener against Djokovic before slumping to defeat when they played in Belgrade in April, but this was a rout, the 22-year-old underdog trampled.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 36/19
Kecmanovic– 13/27

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 6/4
Kecmanovic – 1/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic - 6/12
Kecmanovic - 1/4

Novak Djokovic says he will support his former coach Boris Becker and the German's family in any way he can during his time in prison.

Becker was jailed for two-and-half years at the end of April after being found guilty of concealing £2.5million of assets to avoid paying money he owed after his bankruptcy.

The six-time grand slam champion's girlfriend, Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro, and his son, Noah, were in Djokovic's box on Centre Court for his first and second-round matches at Wimbledon.

Djokovic had Becker in his corner for three years as his coach until the end of 2016.

The legendary Serbian has not been in direct contact with Becker, but vowed after outclassing Thanasi Kokkinakis at SW19 on Wednesday that he will always be there for the 54-year-old and his relatives.

He said during a media conference at the All England Club: "I haven't been communicating directly with him, but I've been communicating to him through them [Becker's family] and I was really glad to have hosted his girlfriend and his son Noah for my first round and now today second-round match.

"Noah and his younger brother, Elias, are going to visit Boris I think in the next few days for the first time since he went to prison and I've been just trying to give support to people around him, his closest people, his family members because I consider Boris as a family member. He's someone that I greatly appreciate, respect and care about.

"We've been through a lot together and during those three years of collaboration and our relationship dates back even before that. After we finished our professional relationship we always stayed close; him with my team, my agents and my family.

"It breaks my heart to see what is happening to him, so this is a little gesture of friendship to invite them. He knows and they now they can always count on me for whatever support or help I can provide."

Defending champion Novak Djokovic outclassed Thanasi Kokkinakis in a domineering straight-sets victory to march into the third round at Wimbledon.

The top seed moved majestically as he made a statement on Centre Court, winning 6-1 6-4 6-2 in just two hours on Wednesday.

Djokovic breezed into a 3-0 lead in an opening set he served out to love after breaking for a second time, returning majestically as he dominated the Australian.

The 20-time grand slam champion needed just the one early break in the second set as he served superbly and was ruthless at the net, while also bossing rallies from the back of the court.

World number three Djokovic was relentless as he broke twice in a one-sided third set before ending the match with a hold after saving the only break point he faced.

Six-time Wimbledon champion Djokovic will face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in round three at the All England Club.

Data slam: Djokovic near flawless as he extends winning run to 23

That is 23 wins in a row at the grass-court grand slam for three-time defending champion Djokovic.

The tournament favourite dropped a set in his win over Kwon Soon-woo on Monday, but barely put a foot wrong two days later.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 29/14
Kokkinakis – 31/23

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 1/3
Kokkinakis – 11/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 5/13
Kokkinakis – 0/1

Novak Djokovic became the first male player in the Open Era to win at least 80 matches in all four grand slams with victory over Kwon Soon-woo in the first round of Wimbledon.

The world number three, who is seeking a seventh crown at SW19 to take him level with Pete Sampras and behind only Roger Federer (8), advanced 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 on Monday.

That was Djokovic's 80th win at the All England Club in what was his 90th match, adding to his 85 wins at the French Open, 82 at the Australian Open and 81 at the US Open.

He has won 22 matches in a row at Wimbledon since retiring in his quarter-final with Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals, and is 17-0 in first-round matches in the event.

With 328 grand slam wins to his name, Djokovic is second only to Federer (369) in that regard, with fellow heavyweight Rafael Nadal – in action on Tuesday – boasting 305 wins.

"I am as dedicated as anyone out there," Djokovic, playing his first match on grass this year, said in his interview on Centre Court. "Now that we're at 80, let's get to 100.

"I'm not one of the youngsters any more, but the love for this sport still burns in me and I try to play my best tennis at the grand slams and deliver my best at the best courts. 

"I've said this before but this court is truly special. For me it has always been the court I dreamed of playing and winning and all my childhood dreams came true here.

"It's an honour and pleasure to be back on Centre Court. This sport has given me everything. I owe a lot to the sport and I love it still with all my heart."

 

Novak Djokovic was made to work by Kwon Soon-woo for his place in the second round of Wimbledon as the reigning champion advanced with victory in four sets on Monday.

In the first match of this year's tournament on Centre Court, which had its roof closed due to rain, Djokovic was pegged back at 1-1 but ultimately prevailed 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4.

The six-time champion has now won each of his past 22 matches at the All England Club and will face either Thanasi Kokkinakis or Kamil Majchrzak in the next round.

Djokovic had yet to play on grass in 2022 prior to his opening clash with Kwon and he was far from his fluent best in the first two sets in particular.

Kwon earned the first break of the match in the third game with a glorious forehand, though Djokovic hit back with two breaks of his own to edge the opening set.

The world number 81 earned the only break of serve in the fourth game of the second set, with Djokovic squandering three break points of his own in the following game.

However, the Serbian showed good signs of recovery – and some impressive shots around the court – by holding throughout the third set and breaking Kwon in the eighth game.

Kwon failed to take advantage of two break points in the second game of the final set and it was plain sailing from that point on for Djokovic.

He completed the job in just under two-and-a-half hours and is the first male player in the Open Era with 80 or more main draw wins in all four grand slam tournaments.

Data slam: Djokovic winning streak continues

Djokovic may have slipped down to third in the ATP rankings after a disrupted campaign, and he was not at his best against Kwon, but he remains the man to beat at Wimbledon.

He is without defeat at SW19 since retiring in his quarter-final with Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals, with Monday's victory his 80th in 90 matches in the tournament.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 30/29
Kwon – 31/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 15/2
Kwon – 7/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 4/8
Kwon – 2/6

Novak Djokovic would be delighted by the prospect of facing Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon final, as he targets revenge for his French Open loss to the Spaniard.

Nadal remains on course for a calendar Grand Slam after following up January's Australian Open victory with his 14th French Open title earlier this month, having overcome Djokovic in a quarter-final classic on the clay in Paris.

The Spaniard's Roland Garros triumph moved him two clear of Djokovic's tally of 20 grand slam titles, while his last-eight win over the Serbian was his 29th in the pair's head-to-head rivalry (Djokovic has 30 wins).

With 59 career meetings, the duo have met one another more often than any other men's pairing in the Open Era, and they could be set for a final showdown at Wimbledon after landing on opposite sides of the draw.

Speaking to Sky Sports, defending Wimbledon champion Djokovic said he would relish such a contest and insisted Nadal, who has not triumphed on the grass in London since 2010, is among the favourites to take home the title.

 

"If we get to face each other it means we're both in the finals, which I think we both want," Djokovic said.

"It's a very long way [away], but of course you have to put him as one of the favourites, even though he hasn't played at Wimbledon for the last three years [including the cancelled 2020 edition], I think.

"But still, he's Nadal, he has achieved what he has achieved throughout his career and also this year, of course, which gives you a lot of confidence in his case.

"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of great matches ahead for both of us, and if we get to face [each other] in the final… I'd love to face him in the final and get revenge for Paris!"

Nadal has beaten Djokovic in 11 of the duo's 18 grand slam meetings, although the Serbian holds a 2-1 advantage over their three Wimbledon contests, triumphing in the 2011 final and the 2018 semi-finals.

Djokovic begins his Wimbledon campaign by facing Kwon Soon-woo on Centre Court on Monday, with Nadal taking on Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo the following day.

Carlos Alcaraz has been checking out footage of Wimbledon greats including Roger Federer as he bids to sharpen up his raw grass-court game.

The 19-year-old Alcaraz has shot up to number seven in the ATP rankings after winning four titles this year, having begun 2022 outside the top 30.

However, he has little in the way of pedigree on grass, having been stopped in his tracks in round two last year by Daniil Medvedev, winning just seven games.

Of his titles this year, three have come on clay and one on a hard court.

Alcaraz reached the quarter-finals of the Wimbledon boys' singles in 2019, losing to American Martin Damm, and regardless of his recent stellar form, it is difficult to predict how he might fare in London this year.

It is clear that Alcaraz believes he can learn to play on the grass, and that he will pull out all the stops to become a champion on the fast lawns of London, beginning on Monday.

"I'm trying to copy some things from the best ones," he said. "I always watch videos: Federer, [Novak] Djokovic, Rafa [Nadal] and Andy [Murray] as well, trying to copy the moves."

That quartet has dominated at Wimbledon for two decades now. The last player not from that group to win the men's singles was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002, with Federer landing eight titles, Djokovic six, Nadal two and Murray two.

Federer is the only one of Wimbledon's 'Big Four' absent this year; knee trouble preventing him taking part.

Alcaraz, who is seeded fifth, predicted this Wimbledon will be a "tough" assignment in his own fledgling career.

However, seeing fellow Spaniard Nadal get to grips with grass early in his own career has instructed Alcaraz it is a surface that he should not fear.

Nadal was 22 when he won the first of his Wimbledon titles, and 20 when he first reached a final at the All England Club.

Alcaraz is not entirely ruling out challenging this year, because that is how he approaches every event he enters.

He will start on Monday against Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff, with that match given a prestigious Court One billing, such is Alcaraz's rising status.

"Of course, watching Rafa – I would say he is more for clay courts – winning so many tournaments on grass, winning twice here in Wimbledon, you'd think that you are able to adapt your game to grass courts," Alcaraz told a news conference on Sunday.

"But I would say I have a game that is going to adapt well on grass, trying to go to the net, playing aggressive.

"I would say I'm able to play well on grass, and it was said I couldn't prepare well for Wimbledon this year, but I always come to every tournament thinking I'm able to do good results or even able to win the tournament."

When Wimbledon ended last year, there were two great takeaways from the tournament: Novak Djokovic would soon be pulling away in the grand slam title race and Ash Barty was beginning a new era of dominance.

Both seemed to be knock-ins, and yet neither has come to pass. Djokovic missed out on a calendar Grand Slam in New York before being banished from Australia, and despite drawing level with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 grand slams with his Centre Court triumph, he now finds himself two adrift of the Spaniard again.

Barty, meanwhile, has left her own party. The then world number one stunned the tennis world by retiring in March, having added the Australian Open she so craved to her trophy cabinet.

Djokovic and Iga Swiatek head into Wimbledon, which begins on Monday, as the top seeds.

Stats Perform has used Opta facts to consider what the men's and women's singles might deliver.

 

KING ROGER'S REIGN IS OVER, BUT DJOKOVIC AND NADAL KEEP GOING STRONG

There will come a time when the Wimbledon favourite is not one of the 'Big Three'. That time is not now.

Djokovic is the man most likely, as he targets his fourth straight Wimbledon title and seventh overall; since 2011, when he beat Nadal in the final, the Serbian has only been absent from the trophy match three times (in 2012, 2016 and 2017).

His winning run of 21 matches at Wimbledon is the fifth-longest in the men's singles. Bjorn Borg holds the record (41 between 1976 and 1981).

The last player other than Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray to win the Wimbledon men's title was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002. Federer is absent this year and may have played his last Wimbledon.

Nadal has won Wimbledon twice, in 2008 and 2010. He won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010, the only season of his career when he has won three slams. This year, at the age of 36, he has the Australian and French Open trophies already locked away, potentially halfway to a calendar Grand Slam, last achieved in men's singles in 1969 by Rod Laver.

Should Nadal pull off another major coup, it would make him only the second man in the Open Era (from 1968) to win the season's first three singles slams, after Laver in 1969 and Djokovic last year.

Can the rest hope to compete?

What of Murray? Well, only Federer (19), Sampras (10), Laver and Jimmy Connors (both nine) have won more ATP titles on grass than the Scot in the Open Era. If he recovers from an abdominal strain, he has a shot at reaching the second week. He will of course have the full backing of the Wimbledon crowd.

Last year's runner-up Matteo Berrettini is fancied more than Nadal by many, having won Stuttgart and Queen's Club titles in the build-up.

There has not been an American men's singles champion since 2000, and although the United States has six players seeded, more than any other nation, it seems a safe enough assumption we will be saying a similar thing again in 12 months' time.

Third seed Casper Ruud has never won a singles match at Wimbledon, while fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas has not had a win since reaching the fourth round in 2018. Daniil Medvedev, the world number one, cannot compete at The All England Club after their contentious decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

IF SERENA CAN'T CHALLENGE SWIATEK, WHO CAN?

From the jaws of retirement, Serena Williams is back. Silence from the 40-year-old about her intentions had become almost deafening, and yet here she is, back at Wimbledon on a wildcard, hoping to rekindle the old magic.

Because she has pushed back against the doubters for over two decades now, you have to take this seriously. Her haul of 23 grand slams is one short of Margaret Court's all-time record and Williams would dearly love to at least match it.

Three years ago, Williams became the oldest player to reach Wimbledon's women's singles final when she lost to Simona Halep. Six years ago, she was the oldest champion when she beat Angelique Kerber.

Only four women in the draw this year besides Williams have been champion before: Petra Kvitova (in 2011 and 2014), Garbine Muguruza (in 2017), Kerber (in 2018) and Halep (in 2019).

World number one Iga Swiatek starts as favourite. Junior Wimbledon champion four years ago, she has scooped two women's French Open titles since then and is on a 35-match winning streak.

After triumphing at Roland Garros in early June, Swiatek will hope to become the first woman since Kerber in 2016 (Australian Open and US Open) to win two singles slams in the same season.

The only competitive warm-up for Williams came in two doubles matches at Eastbourne, having not played since sustaining a hamstring injury at Wimbledon last year. The seven-time champion might consider it a challenge that there has never been an unseeded Wimbledon women's singles finalist during the Open Era.

The women's top two seeds have not met in the final since Serena faced her sister Venus in the 2002 title match, so don't hold your breath for a Swiatek versus Anett Kontaveit showpiece on July 9.

Could Gauff be best of the rest?

Coco Gauff made a breakthrough with her run to the French Open final. Although she was blown away by Swiatek, for the 18-year-old American it was another mark of progress. Gauff reached the fourth round in Wimbledon in 2019 (lost to Halep) and 2021 (lost to Kerber).

Fitness is likely to be the key factor in how US Open champion Emma Raducanu fares at her home grand slam, given her injury problems. Raducanu reached the fourth round on a wildcard last year and the 19-year-old will attempt to become the first British woman to reach that stage in back-to-back seasons since Jo Durie (1984, 1985).

Ons Jabeur, meanwhile, should not be discounted. The world number three reached the quarter-finals at SW19 last year and heads to Wimbledon having won on grass at the Berlin Open, albeit Belinda Bencic had retired hurt in the final.

The likes of Gauff, Raducanu and 21-year-old Swiatek will attempt to become the youngest woman to lift the trophy since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova triumphed in 2004.

A first-round exit for Swiatek would leave the event wide open, but don't count on it. In the Open Era, only three times has the top-seeded woman lost in round one: Steffi Graf in 1994 and Martina Hingis in 1999 and 2001.

Novak Djokovic says he has "nothing but respect" for Rafael Nadal as the Spaniard strives to create "even more of a successful legacy".

Nadal now has 22 majors to his name after winning the Australian Open and French Open this year – two more than Djokovic and Swiss great Roger Federer.

Victory at the French Open earlier in June was Nadal's 14th at Roland Garros, which is a whopping eight more than anyone else in the open era.

Djokovic, who kicks off his bid for a fourth consecutive Wimbledon title against Kwon Soon-woo on Monday, is in awe of Nadal's achievements, describing the 36-year-old as an "amazing champion".

"He had a surgery in the second part of the last year and coming back after that and winning a grand slam right away is something that is really impressive," the Serbian told a media conference on Saturday.

"[He is] making history with grand slam wins and at Roland Garros, the tournament where he has won most titles.

"Just for what he has achieved, keeps on doing on the court; he has a great fighting spirit, and he is an amazing champion.

"Just in general, the things he is trying to do to create even more of a successful legacy is something you have to respect and admire even though I am one of his biggest rivals. I have nothing but respect for what he has achieved."

Djokovic's refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccination has hampered his playing time this year, yet the 35-year-old is confident that will not hold him back as he bids for a seventh title at The All England Club.

"I didn't have any lead up tournaments but I've had success at Wimbledon before without having any official matches," he added.

"I had success with adapting quickly to the surface so there is no reason to believe why I cannot do it again. I'm very pleased and happy to be back at the tournament that was always my childhood dream, the one I wanted to win. Hopefully I continue that run.

"I would love to be in the position to fight for another trophy, I would like to be in the last match and eventually make history at this tournament.

"As a seven, eight-year-old boy I dreamed of winning Wimbledon and becoming number one. That was the biggest motivation I had as a kid.

"Pete Sampras, when he won his first Wimbledon, was the first tennis I watched on the TV. Pete has won it seven times. Hopefully I can do the same this year."

Novak Djokovic has accepted it is unlikely he will play at the US Open, as the Wimbledon top seed insisted he has not changed his mind on the COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic was unable to compete at the Australian Open earlier in 2022 after he was deported – following a drawn-out legal case with Australia's federal government – for not being vaccinated against coronavirus.

The Serbian has spoken out against mandatory vaccinations and when asked on Saturday by reporters at Wimbledon if he had closed his mind to the idea of being vaccinated before the US Open begins, he said "yes".

That means, as it stands, Djokovic will be unable to enter the United States due to being unvaccinated.

However, while frustrated that he will likely miss out on another grand slam this year, the 35-year-old suggested he is now even more motivated to go on and win Wimbledon for a seventh time, which would take him level with Pete Sampras and behind only Roger Federer, who has eight All England Club titles to his name.

Djokovic told reporters: "As of today I'm not allowed to enter the States under these circumstances. That is an extra motivation to do well here.

"Hopefully I can have a very good tournament as I have done in the last three editions. Then I'll have to wait and see.

"I'd love to go to the States but as of today that's not possible. There's not much I can do any more. It's up to the U.S. government on whether they allow unvaccinated people to go into the country."

Djokovic was at the centre of the controversy ahead of the season's first major, but the third grand slam of 2022 has been contentious for other reasons.

The All England Club made the decision to ban all Russian and Belarusian players, including men's world number one Daniil Medvedev, from competing, due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The call received criticism and, as a result, Wimbledon has been stripped of any ranking points by the WTA and ATP.

However, Djokovic is no longer as concerned about those points as he once was, as he instead looks to move back to within one major title of Rafael Nadal, whose tally stands at 22.

"I don't want to say ranking points are not important for me, of course they are, but they are not as important as they were for me," he said.

"Now I'm not really chasing the ranking as much as I have. I was breaking the record for longest weeks at number one and after that it wasn't as important for me in terms of priority.

"Of course, I understand that 90 per cent of players will be more affected by the points. Of course this year I did not have the chance to defend 4,000 points in Australia but my priorities now are different so I’m not as affected."

Djokovic, though, does feel it is harsh that Russian and Belarusian athletes are unable to play at SW19.

He said: "I just don't see how they have contributed to anything that has happened. I don't feel it’s fair. 

"I feel like they deserve to win, compete, they are professional athletes. None of them have supported any war or anything like that. 

"I understand both sides. It's hard to say what is right and wrong. Putting myself in a position where someone would ban me from playing because of circumstances that I have not contributed – I do not think that is fair."

Six-time champion Novak Djokovic will take centre stage on day one at Wimbledon along with home hopes Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray.

The All England Club has announced the schedule of play for Monday, when the 2022 tournament will get under way.

As is tradition for the defending champion, Djokovic, who defeated Matteo Berrettini in last year's men's singles final, will take part in the first match on Centre Court when he plays against Kwon Soon-woo.

Djokovic will be bidding for a fourth Wimbledon title in succession following triumphs in 2018, 2019 and 2021, after the cancellation of the 2020 championships.

US Open champion Raducanu has also been selected to appear at Centre Court on the opening day.

Raducanu will take on Alison Van Uytvanck hoping to kick off a successful campaign in front of her home crowd, having burst onto the scene at Wimbledon last year with a shock run to the fourth round.

And another Briton, two-time winner Andy Murray, will be involved in the third and final match on the prestigious court when he faces James Duckworth of Australia.

Murray will be hoping to better last year's third-round berth at SW19 after impressively reaching the Stuttgart Open final this month, losing to Berrettini after notable wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios.

Ons Jabeur, Angelique Kerber and Carlos Alcaraz are the big names selected for action on Court One on Monday.

And it has been confirmed that, in the absence of retired champion Ash Barty, women's number one seed Iga Swiatek will open the action on Centre Court on Tuesday when she plays Jana Fett. Swiatek said she felt "very privileged" to be opening the proceedings on day two.

Rafael Nadal, who has won the opening two men's grand slams this year, is also expected to begin his campaign on day two, as is seven-time women’s champion Serena Williams on her return from injury.

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