Novak Djokovic’s 2022 Wimbledon hopes were given a stern opening test on Monday by Soonwoo Kwon, but the defending champion stayed resolute to hold off the South Korean and advance to the second round at the grass-court Grand Slam in London.
The Serbian maintained a solid level in his 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory against the World No. 81, yet Kwon’s aggressive tactics meant Djokovic was never completely comfortable in his first tour-level match since his Roland Garros quarter-final on 31 May.
The South Korean was a break up in each of the first two sets and pumped up the Centre Court crowd after he levelled proceedings at a set apiece, but Djokovic’s trademark consistency proved enough to complete a two-hour, 27-minute victory.
The top seed will face Thanasi Kokkinakis or Kamil Majchrzak in the second round at SW19, where he now holds an 80-10 record.
The World No. 3 is chasing his fourth consecutive title at Wimbledon, and his seventh overall. That tally that would draw him level with legendary American Pete Sampras and move him within one of record-holder Roger Federer’s eight crowns.