Novak Djokovic paid tribute to Jarkko Nieminen as the Finn’s last Wimbledon appearance ended with a straight-sets defeat on a sweltering Wimbledon Centre Court.
The defending champion strolled past the Finn 6-4 6-2 6-3 as the mercury soared on court to a punishing 41.2C.
The two players embraced at the end of the match and departed Centre Court together.
Bernard Tomic is up next for Djokovic in the third round as the Serb ratchets up his claim on this year’s title.
Djokovic said: “It’s his last Wimbledon. I have had a very nice relationship with Jarkko for many years.
“When I was coming into professional tennis as an 18-year-old I was playing some challenger in Helsinki in Finland, that’s where I met him for the first time.
“He’s one of the nicest guys on the tour that I know on and off the court. It’s a milestone for him, it’s his last match in Wimbledon. So he deserved the ovation.
“The heat wasn’t as bad as I thought. People were talking about it and predicting really difficult conditions. But I didn’t find it as difficult as it might be.”
Nieminen broke Djokovic early on to take a 3-1 lead, but the No1 seed hit back with 13 points in a row as he powered through to take the first set.
Djokovic, who is bidding for his ninth Grand Slam title, broke Nieminen five times while facing only one break point on his way to another resounding victory.
But the Serb believes Tomic will present a formidable barrier to his passage on the Australian’s favoured grass surface.
He said: “I do expect him to serve well and I do expect him to mix up the game, come up with a lot of variety. He’s got a lot of talent in his hands.
“He can play flat shots. He can play shot slice, come to the net. It’s very difficult to read on grass.
“This is the surface that he loves playing the most on. So it’s going to be a difficult match. I remember it was 2011, quarter finals, we played against each other here. Four tough sets. So I’m not expecting anything easy here.”