Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic has admitted to communicating with his coach Boris Becker during matches but denied that his actions constitute cheating.
Becker last week revealed that he has ways of signalling to world No1 Djokovic, who begins his quest for a third title at the All England Club against Germany’s world No33 Philipp Kohlschreiber today, while on court.
Tennis rules forbid mid-match communication of any kind between coach and player and, while Wimbledon top seed Djokovic admits its prevalence is rife, the 28-year-old is adamant such actions are not a breach of the sport’s laws.
“We can’t pretend like that’s not happening in tennis,” said Djokovic. “Of course there are situations when it happens, and not just with the top players, with everybody.
“Of course there are certain rules but also there are times when the team of the player communicates with the player when he gets to go and take the towel in the corner, which is closer to the box, or in different ways.
“I think it’s all fine as long as it’s not regular, I think it just depends. I don’t think that we’re cheating. I don’t think that’s how you can call it.
“I think with all the cameras pointed out to him [Becker] and to the box, I think you would already notice if he would just kind of go kick serve, slice, to do the backhand or forehand.”
Eight-time grand slam winner Djokovic arrived at Wimbledon having not played a competitive match since 7 June, when he lost in four sets to Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in the final of the French Open.
The Serbian once again opted against playing ATP ranking tournaments such as the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club or the Halle Open in Germany as part of his pre-Wimbledon preparation, instead choosing to play exhibition matches at Boodles, but dismissed suggestions that he may be undercooked.
“In the last couple of years I haven’t been playing any lead-up tournament to Wimbledon and I still managed to play the final two years ago and to win the title last year,” added Djokovic.
“Even though my rivals [Andy] Murray, [Roger] Federer and [Rafael] Nadal have been winning grass court tournaments in the previous years as well leading up to Wimbledon, it’s not my concern, honestly. I’m happy with the way I’ve practiced.”
ORDER OF PLAY:
■ Djokovic  v Kohlschreiber
■ Sharapova  v Konta
■ Wawrinka  v Sousa
■ S Williams  v Gasparyan
■ Bolelli v Nishikori 
■ Dimitrov  v Delbonis