Novak Djokovic sent out a warning to his rivals just two days before Wimbledon gets under way by beating Gael Monfils in straight sets to win the Aegon International.
The 12-time grand slam champion has not won a tournament since his Qatar Open success six months ago, but the top seed saw off Monfils 6-3 6-4 to claim a first grass-court title since his Wimbledon triumph two years ago.
Djokovic will face Martin Klizan in the first round at the All England Club next Tuesday on the back of an impressive debut at Eastbourne, where he did not drop a set in his four matches.
The world number four has endured a difficult year, but has looked far more like the player who dominated the men’s game before enduring a fall from grace to raise hopes he can mount a challenge at SW19.
Monfils has now failed to defeat Djokovic, who has added Mario Ancic to his coaching team for Wimbledon, in 14 attempts and never really looked like denying him a 68th ATP singles title at Devonshire Park.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) July 1, 2017
Djokovic set about putting Monfils under pressure right away and was rewarded with a break in the first game of the match.
The Serb mixed up his game effectively and was dominant on serve, not allowing Monfils an opportunity to break back in an ultra-efficient opening set.
Monfils saved three break points to prevent going 5-2 down, but was a set behind when Djokovic drilled a backhand just inside the baseline which the second seed skewed well wide.
A positive Djokovic charged to the net to volley a winner for a hold in the opening game of the second set after Monfils had his first two break points of the match.
Monfils drilled a sumptuous cross-court winner in the Serbian’s next service game and was scenting a break at 0-30, but the favourite won the next four points to hold.
A defiant Djokovic saved another break point before taking a 3-2 lead and the second set continued to go with serve until Monfils blazed a forehand long on match point to give the former world number one victory.