Novak Djokovic reached yet another milestone as he continued his quest for an eighth Wimbledon title.
Victory for the Serbian over Australia’s Jordan Thompson in the second round meant he became only the third player in history, along with Roger Federer and Serena Williams, to clock up 350 match wins at grand slams.
The 23-time major champion, bidding to equal Federer’s record of eight titles in SW19, was never at full throttle against world number 70 Thompson.
He broke serve just twice but still registered a relatively routine 6-3 7-6 (4) 7-5 victory, extending his record Centre Court winning streak to 41 matches – his last defeat coming to Andy Murray in the 2013 final.
Djokovic, also chasing the calendar grand slam and bidding to become Wimbledon’s oldest men’s singles champion at 36, said: “Centre Court has been the most special court for our tennis history. I truly try to marvel and enjoy every moment I spend on the court.
“It’s a huge privilege at this stage of my career when I’m trying to push the young guns. We have a very special, romantic relationship, me and this court.”
Djokovic will face either Tomas Martin Etcheverry or former grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka in round three.
Swiss star Wawrinka beat Djokovic in the final of the 2015 French Open and the US Open final a year later.
“Well, he took away two grand slams from me. That’s the role he played, beating me in two grand slam finals,” smiled Djokovic.
“I like Stan a lot. He’s a great person. Really, it’s always inspirational what he’s doing at his age. He’s almost 40 years old and he still keeps going strong. That’s something that not many people can do.
“I hope we get to play against each other because we haven’t faced in quite some time. It will be the duel of the veterans of the tour if it comes to that.”
Federer, who retired last year and visited Wimbledon on Tuesday, has no doubt his mark is about to be equalled by Djokovic.
He told CNN: “I think he’s the big, big favourite. Honestly, I think it’s great for him. I had my moments.
“For me, having won my eighth or my fifth in a row or whatever it may be, that was my moment.
“So if somebody equals that or passes that, this is their thing, their moment.”
Ninth seed Taylor Fritz finally won his first-round match, two days after it started.
Bad light, and then Tuesday’s rain, meant the American and Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann resumed on Wednesday at 3-2 in the fifth set, and Fritz took it 6-4 2-6 4-6 7-5 6-3.
Former world number three Dominic Thiem was a set up on Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas when the rain forced them off at lunchtime on Tuesday.
But in a late evening thriller on Court Two, Tsitsipas won a deciding match tie-break at 6-6 in the fifth set to set up a second-round meeting with Andy Murray.
Seventh seed Jannik Sinner eased past Diego Schwartzman while American Frances Tiafoe, seeded 10, was also a straight-sets winner as he beat Wu Yibing of China.
But while they are through to round two and Djokovic is already safely in round three, spare a thought for Alexander Zverev, the 19th seed who is still yet to play his first-round match against Gijs Brouwer.