Centre court silence golden for Djokovic
Quiet please. Defending champion Novak Djokovic admitted on Monday that he is a fan of the cathedral silence that greets him when he steps onto Centre Court.
Unlike the US Open, where rock anthems greet the players as New Yorkers chomp food and sink ice-cold beers, or the French Open, where Paris A-listers only forsake their mobiles to take lunch, Wimbledon prefers the silent treatment.
No fanfare, no fuss, no introductions as the players stroll out of the locker room, straight to their chairs and then down to business.
"It is quieter compared to the other centre courts of the other Grand Slams," said Djokovic.
"But you feel the tradition and the history of tennis. It is quieter. It feels like a theatre in a way. But the crowd gets into it when they have reason for it.
"The crowd here understands. I think they have a great knowledge about tennis."
Top seed Djokovic reached the second round with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero.
Djokovic, playing for the first time since his French Open final defeat to Rafael Nadal, will face America's Ryan Harrison for a place in the last 32 and was looking forward to returning to the court.
"It's a very unique feeling," added Djokovic of the opportunity to open play on Centre Court as defending men's champion.
"This is the only tournament that actually allows you to have information 12 months in advance when you're playing. The grass was untouched. It was so soft, so smooth. It was great to play on."
Despite his reverence for the institution, Djokovic did break with some tradition on Monday by swinging a golf club on Centre Court.
The Serb, who has a reputation as the sport's joker, pulled the club from his tennis bag as he walked on to court.
"It was a little joke we wanted to do with my sponsor. They provided me with a junior golf club because the bags look like golf bags. You can place them the way the golf bag is standing," said the champion.
"So it was a little funny thing. Being creative, that's all. But the fans corrected me right away. They said, 'This is not a golf course'. I said, Okay."
Djokovic had seen his hopes of becoming just the third man to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once shattered by his defeat at the hands of Nadal in Paris.
The 25-year-old, playing in a 31st successive Grand Slam tournament, opted to nurse his wounds by holidaying in Scotland rather than playing a grass court warm-up event.
And he looked rusty early on Monday, dropping serve to trail the 32-year-old Ferrero, a former world No 1 and ex-French Open champion, 2-1.
But the Serb broke back immediately for 2-2 and went to 5-3 when Ferrero hit a forehand long.
An ace gave Djokovic the first set 6-3 before he dominated the second set by the same score as Ferrero, a quarterfinalist in 2007 and 2009, wilted.
Another break in the second game of the third set allowed the Serb to put the Spaniard further onto the defensive and he edged closer to victory with another break to lead 4-0.
Ferrero stopped the rot at 5-1, but another ace gace Djokovic the match in the next game after just 98 minutes on court.