Novak Djokovic believes he can win a second Wimbledon title with a broad smile on his face, even if his rivals fail to see the joke.
The world number one, who captured his maiden Wimbledon title in 2011, warmed up for this year’s tournament by playing an exhibition at Stoke Park on the edge of London.
In one match, he and Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov stripped off their shirts to compare physiques before going on to perform tongue-in-cheek impressions of Maria Sharapova’s fussy on-court routine.
The crowd laughed although Djokovic has had to curtail his impressions of other players in recent years with the likes of Roger Federer and the now retired Andy Roddick not amused by seeing themselves lampooned.
“I have tried all my life to be who I am. That’s one of my mottos really, not pretending to be somebody else. I think that kind of character and strong position got me to where I am,” said Djokovic.
“I did hold back (on the impressions) a little bit, because I think sometimes there is no time to really entertain that much. But I still feel that I am enjoying what I am doing, and I try to have fun wherever I go and as much as I can.
“Maybe tennis lacks that little bit of enthusiastic part of it, you know, entertainment, fun.”
Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion and the girlfriend of Dimitrov, was also warming up at the plush Hurlingham Club in the capital and took it well when video hit the internet.
“Look at these two clowns,” tweeted the Russian in response.
Djokovic will open his Wimbledon campaign on Monday against Germany’s Florian Mayer whom he beat in the quarter-finals last year.
Djokovic has taken time away from competition to recover after his dramatic five-set, semi-final defeat to Rafael Nadal at the French Open earlier this month.
“I would like to have a warmup tournament to have time. But I felt like after everything that has happened in the clay court season, I needed to prioritise and rest rather than just going for the matches on the grass, which is the fastest surface in our sport,” he said.
Wimbledon has already announced that from 2015, the tournament will start a week later to allow players more time to recover from the French Open.