London: His 43-match winning streak broken but his well-known sense of humor still intact, Novak Djokovic was ready for some tough questions on the eve of Wimbledon.
"You had this losing streak of one, so what are you going to do to change that?" Djokovic was asked Saturday, as he prepares to play for the first time since losing to Roger Federer in the French Open semifinals.
The inquisitor? None other than Caroline Wozniacki, the top-ranked woman, who sneaked her way back into the All England Club's main interview room shortly after sitting through her own news conference.
"Well, you know what? I will try to look up to some women players who have been so consistent with their wins. For example, like, Caroline Wozniacki," Djokovic said, smiling all the way through his answer. "I don't know if you've heard about her. She's been winning so much. She's become a role model for all of us ATP players.
"So I'm going to try to look (at) some of her matches and try to break this losing streak of one," he added. "Try to get on the right path."
With only two days ago before the first point is played, Wozniacki was already having fun.
A few minutes after she finished answering questions from the media and left the main interview room, she sneaked her way in through a door at the back of the mini-theater and took a seat as Djokovic was busy speaking to reporters. As one journalist began to ask a question, Djokovic noticed the new face in the crowd.
"Sorry, I have a question there," the Serb said, motioning toward Wozniacki. "Where are you from?"
The Dane said she worked for the "Monaco newspaper on Avenue Princess Grace," where the two live near each other.
"So who is your favorite women's tennis player?" Wozniacki asked.
"Well, we'll have to keep that a secret," Djokovic answered, but later relented, saying his favorite player was also his neighbor. "Yes. From time to time we have coffee there on the beach and just relax and have lunch, have a jog."
"I'm sure she must be a really, really nice girl," Wozniacki said.
"She is a really, really nice girl. She's a great entertainer. No. 1," Djokovic said. "You never heard about her?"
Djokovic's perfect season and six-month winning streak ended in Paris. His "losing streak" is now about two weeks long, because he decided to pull out of the grass-court tournament at Queen's Club.
He'll get his first chance to snap the skid when he faces Jeremy Chardy in the first round. To win his first Wimbledon title, the second-ranked Serb may have to beat six-time champion Federer in the semifinals.
For Federer, that's just fine.
"I know I can beat Novak on any surface. I've done that in the past," said Federer, who had lost to Djokovic in the U.S. Open and Australian Open semifinals before beating him in the same round at Roland Garros.
"Just because he's on a great winning streak doesn't mean he's unbeatable. That was my mindset going into the match in Paris," Federer added. "Here at Wimbledon, anyway, I'm even more confident. I think I'm a better player than in Paris, so I expect myself to do really well here, even better maybe."
Federer and top-ranked Rafael Nadal have combined to win the last eight titles at the All England Club. And with one more for Federer, he would tie Pete Sampras' record of seven Wimbledon titles.
"There's always something on the line at this point when I play the Grand Slams just because I have the record already," the 16-time major champion said. "So I could push it one forward or I could tie with Sampras here. It's obviously something very special and important at this point really."
Another man considered a true contender is the one with the most weight of expectation on him.
Andy Murray is trying to become the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title since Fred Perry in 1936, but he prefers to look on the bright side.
"You get obviously the support on the Centre Court, and on the other courts that I play on. I've always had really, really good support," Murray said. "It makes a big difference."
In the women's tournament, much of the focus will be on the return of the Williams sisters to Grand Slam tennis. The American siblings have won nine of the last 11 titles at Wimbledon.
Defending champion Serena Williams, who had been out of action since winning the title in 2010, returned to the tour at Eastbourne this week, winning her first-round match in three sets but then losing in the second round. Venus Williams also returned at Eastbourne and lost in the quarterfinals. Her previous match had been at the Australian Open, when she retired in the third round with a hip injury.
"They're obviously the ones to beat on grass," said Maria Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion who will face Anna Chakvetadze of Russia in the first round.
Besides the Williams sisters and Sharapova, the other top contenders are French Open champion Li Na and Wozniacki, who is still looking for her first Grand Slam title to complement her No. 1 ranking.
"I know I can play really well on grass. I've won Eastbourne before. I won the (Wimbledon) junior title," Wozniacki said. "At the same time, on grass, it can be small things that decide a match, and also the serve and the returns are key points at this point. So it's important just to focus and just enjoy it."