Djokovic kicks off Wimbledon campaign after dismal year

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By Toby Davis

LONDON (Reuters) – A lot can happen in 12 months. Just ask Novak Djokovic who came into last year’s Wimbledon as holder of all four grand slam titles but has since relinquished his grip on the men’s game in spectacular fashion.

The Serb, who begins his campaign for a fourth Wimbledon title against Slovakian Martin Klizan on Centre Court, has not lifted a grand slam trophy since last year’s French Open.

It has been a dismal period for Djokovic who has also relinquished his number one ranking and failed to get past the third round in two of his last four grand slam appearances.

He has at least tasted some rare recent success, having broken with tradition to play a pre-Wimbledon warm-up at Eastbourne, where he won his first title since January by beating Gael Monfils last week.

That allowed him to not only tune up his grasscourt game but also lift his spirits after a testing few months.

“Just overall very happy with the way it went, and where my form is at,” he told reporters after Saturday’s final.

Seven times winner Roger Federer will also entertain fans on Centre Court on Tuesday and should be in good shape when he faces Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov, having skipped the entire claycourt season to prepare for Wimbledon.

In the women’s draw, Germany’s world number one Angelique Kerber is in action against Irina Falconi of the United States and third seed Karolina Pliskova, who won the women’s tournament at Eastbourne, plays Russian Evgeniya Rodina.

(Reporting by Toby Davis; Editign by Ken Ferris)