Novak Djokovic starts Wimbledon 2019 title defence by beating Philipp Kohlschreiber
|Wimbledon 2019 on the BBC|
|Venue: All England Club Dates: 1-14 July|
|Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app. Full details|
Top seed Novak Djokovic started his defence of the Wimbledon men's title by beating Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets as the pair opened up the tournament on Centre Court.
Inside the 15,000-seater arena, the 32-year-old Serb was never in serious trouble during a 6-3 7-5 6-3 win.
Djokovic is aiming for a fifth Wimbledon title and a 16th Grand Slam.
The world number one will play American Denis Kudla, who beat Tunisian Malek Jaziri, in the second round.
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Tradition dictates the defending men's champion opens up the play on Centre Court on Monday, with four-time champion Djokovic earning that honour again after beating South Africa's Kevin Anderson on the same court 12 months ago.
As usual, anticipation crackled in the Centre Court air during the final moments before the players arrived, as those fortunate enough to have tickets for one of the nation's greatest sporting events - and sit in the pleasant SW19 sunshine - waited in excitement.
The noise ramped up to another level when Djokovic and Kohlschreiber strode out, followed by titters of amazement when the Serb opened with a double fault.
That led to Djokovic dropping his serve, accompanied by more gasps and murmurs, only for him to immediately break back and take control of the opening set.
With Goran Ivanisevic, a surprise new addition to Djokovic's coaching team, watching him alongside main coach Marian Vajda, the second set followed a similar pattern.
The 15-time major champion saw his opening serve taken as he trailed 2-0, instantly breaking back and restoring parity as Kohlschreiber, who beat Djokovic in Indian Wells earlier this year, offered more resistance in a tighter set.
But the German's level dipped at a crucial moment with some loose shots and allowed Djokovic to break for 6-5 and then serve out for the set.
In the third, 35-year-old Kohlschreiber again matched an opponent who had beaten him in 10 of their previous 12 encounters, only for Djokovic to find another gear and ruthlessly rattle off the final three games to win in two hours and five minutes.
"It felt great to be back on Centre Court - it is a sacred court. It has a special place in my heart," Djokovic said.
"Opening rounds are obviously always tricky, especially if you get a quality opponent like Kohlschreiber who has a lot of experience.
"I know he is capable of playing some quality tennis, especially on grass, he takes the ball early, has a good slice, a quick serve.
"It was a great test for me. All three sets were close so I worked hard."