Novak Djokovic did not get where he is today - world's number one tennis player - by making any concession to sentimentality. He reached the third round of the men's singles by ending the Wimbledon career of Finland's Jarkko Nieminen, who will retire at the end of the year, in brutally dismissive fashion by 6-4 6-2 6-3.
The 33 year-old Finn was not one to complain, for two days earlier he himself did the same thing to another retiree, Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, whom he beat 11-9 in a draining fifth set. The physical hangover from that afternoon in the sun took its toll against Djokovic, who had needed only a couple of hours to come through his first round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber and was determined to make his opponent run and run before completing the job this time in just over an hour and a half.
Nieminen, once No 15 in the world but now down to 92, did not play badly by any means until his body began to wilt in the later stages. He even began the match by breaking the Djokovic serve, and leading 3-1 before being broken back twice, the second time at the end of a long and exhausting rally that cost him the first set.
The crucial break in the second set came for 3-1 and although Nieminen saved two set points he could not escape a third.
In what became the final set of Nieminen's 12 years at Wimbledon, the pattern was much the same, with the Finn gritting his teeth, being broken just the once and winning three games to go out with honour. Centre Court showed their appreciation, as did Djokovic with an respectful hug.
Djokovic, who will now meet Australian Bernard Tomic, said afterwards: "I was solid in all three sets and on a warm day it's good to spend a bit less time (on court). I'm getting into form and hopefully I'll be able to elevate my level of progress in the nextweek."Reuse content