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Novak On High Alert After Rafa Loss

Wimbledon, England

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic won his Wimbledon opener in straight sets.

A day after chief rival Rafael Nadal bowed out in a first-round Wimbledon shocker, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic made sure he was up for any challenges thrown his way on Tuesday. Djokovic cruised in his opener against Florian Mayer, defeating the German 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.

“You cannot take anything or anybody for granted. You have to be grateful for being in this position and work even harder to stay there. That's the whole point,” said Djokovic. 

“The sport is evolving, like everything in life. Everybody is getting better, getting more professional. Especially at the opening stages of Grand Slams, there are a lot of quality players who have nothing to lose really coming on the Centre Court or Court 1, playing in front of 10,000 or more people. Against one of the top players, what can you really lose? You're going and you're playing your best tennis.”

Djokovic revealed that he followed Nadal’s match with World No. 135 Steve Darcis and credited the Belgian for stepping up when he needed to most to pull off the stunning upset.

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“I watched the bigger part of that match and I thought that [Nadal’s] opponent played great. Darcis came up with some incredible shots, incredible points in important moments and he deserved to win,” Djokovic said.

“I know people expect [Nadal and] all the other top players to get to at least the final stages of a Grand Slam or whatever tournament they play. It was a surprise in the end him losing to Darcis, but his opponent played great.”

The Serb is aiming to win his second title at the All England Club, having triumphed in 2011 over Nadal. With the Spaniard’s first-round loss, Djokovic can reclaim the lead for the most Emirates ATP Rankings points earned this season should he go all the way in London. 

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