Djokovic hungry for Wimbledon glory
Novak Djokovic returned to winning ways with victory over Jeremy Chardy and the Serb has fired a warning to his Wimbledon rivals by insisting he is relaxed, fit and hungry for more glory.
Djokovic had a brilliant start to 2011, winning the Australian Open in an unbeaten start to the year that stretched to the semi-finals of the French Open - where he was toppled by Roger Federer.
The Serb looked in ominously good form in his straight-sets win over Chardy and he is ready to bid for his second grand slam of the year - having had the pressure of his winning streak lifted from his shoulders.
"It was incredible, how many matches I won in a row," he said. "With the seven titles I won in a row, I got more attention. But it was easier this year for me to handle things on and off the court, how to be dedicated every single day, because I gained the necessary experience in the past couple of years of playing at the top level. The attention comes with the success.
"So when the streak ended, it was kind of a relief because it was very successful but very long and exhausting. I played so many matches. I needed some time to relax. But this is sport - you win, you lose, it's normal. We tennis players have to get used to losing as well. I just needed an hour or an hour-and-a-half to forget about it and move on. Now I'm happy to see that I'm playing well again, that I'm mentally fresh for more success."
Djokovic had strapping on his knee but has insisted it was merely a precaution. "I have had the strapping on my knee in ever match this year," he said. "Since Australia I have been feeling a little uncomfortable, but it is nothing serious. It's just a precaution."
Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Federer made winning starts and Djokovic is aware of the threat carried by his major rivals.
"Rafa and Roger are the two favourites to win this tournament," Djokovic said. "They've been so dominant, especially on grass. Obviously Andy Murray is home favourite and is playing really well. I've been playing the best tennis of my life in the past six months so I believe in myself much more and know I can perform as well on this surface as the others.
"I need to believe I'm ready to win Wimbledon. I have to be an optimist. There is no use being anything else... But one match at a time."