| LONDON, June 24
LONDON, June 24 Having picked himself up after
the disappointment of failing to complete his grand slam
collection in Paris, Novak Djokovic begins his Wimbledon defence
looking for a repeat of last year's "perfect tournament".
Djokovic begins his Wimbledon campaign against Spain's Juan
Carlos Ferrero, while six-times champion Roger Federer and
women's world number one Maria Sharapova are also in action on
the tournament's opening Monday.
Djokovic will be playing his first match since his hopes of
becoming only the third man to hold all four major titles at the
same time were ended in the final of the French Open by Rafa
Nadal earlier this month.
Ferrero, who topped the men's rankings in 2003, but has had
to battle against injury and loss of form, will provide the Serb
with an intriguing challenge.
"He was a former number one of the world; idol of many
generations back in Spain; he's a Grand Slam winner; Davis Cup
winner; somebody really that people appreciate," Djokovic said
of his first round opponent.
"Everybody who follows tennis, especially us, the tennis
players, we really respect him a lot.
"He is always dangerous. If you look at him now, I think
he's playing equally well as he was playing four, five years
ago. Now it's just a matter of his fitness and his confidence on
"He definitely has a lot of experience playing on the big
stage, so I'm not underestimating him, that's for sure. It's
going to be a good first-round match."
As champion Djokovic will kick off the action on Centre
Court, where he beat Nadal 12 months ago to go top of the world
rankings and win his first Wimbledon title.
"I realised my dreams last year," he said.
"I played a perfect tournament. I like the conditions here.
So I'm confident before the start of 2012."
Federer is hoping to reach his first final at Wimbledon
since 2009 when he won his sixth and final title and begins his
tournament against Spain's world number 43 Albert Ramos.
"I've never played Ramos before, so I have to study or hear
as well about what to expect from him," Federer said.
Women's world number one Sharapova is aiming to follow-up
the French Open title she won earlier this month with a second
Wimbledon crown and plays Australia's Anastasia Rodionova second
on Centre Court.
The statuesque Russian was launched into the celebrity
stratosphere when she beat Serena Williams to win her first
major at Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 2004, but suffered the
disappointment of a surprise final defeat to Czech Petra Kvitova
"If you're coming off a French Open win or a final it's the
toughest turnaround," she said.
"As much as you want to celebrate and enjoy, you come here
and it's like a whole new ball game.
"But I think that's the beauty of tennis. There's so much
out there to achieve. It always seems like it's back to back,
so that's nothing really new."
(Editing by Alison Wildey)