(Wimbledon) World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz started his run on the right foot at Wimbledon on Tuesday as rain continued to batter south-west London.
Alcaraz defeated Frenchman Jérémy Chardy 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in the first round on center court. Only two courts have retractable roofs at Wimbledon: Center Court and Court No. 1.
The Spaniard will have an appointment with another French tennis player in the second round, since he must face the winner of the duel between compatriots Alexandre Muller and Arthur Rinderknech.
“Obviously, without the roof, and under the sun, it is preferable. And I think it’s the same for everyone, said Alcaraz in an interview on the court after his victory. Whether there is a roof or not, I have to play to my full potential. »
It was in their best spirits that Alcaraz won their first major title, at the United States Open, last year. He made the final at the French Open last month, but Serbian Novak Djokovic prevailed and claimed his 23rd career Grand Slam title.
Alcaraz had advanced to the second round at Wimbledon in 2021, when he was only a guest player. He reached the fourth round last year, and started his All England Club journey this season as the reigning Queen’s Club grass-court tournament champion.
Chardy, 36, was competing at Wimbledon for the 14th time in his career, and he still plans to retire at the end of this year’s tournament.
Alcaraz displayed all his talent in front of Kate, the Princess of Wales, who went to Wimbledon on Tuesday. She was accompanied for the occasion by the Swiss Roger Federer, who received a standing ovation of about 90 seconds from the spectators present on the spot as he settled into the royal box. His legacy was celebrated with a brief ceremony highlighting his career and his record eight Wimbledon titles.
Then, a few hours later, Andy Murray found himself in the pit under the royal box.
Murray has won two of his three Grand Slam titles in his career, and one of his two Olympic gold medals on the lawn of London and – even if his exploits date a bit, even if he is now aged 36 years old and having to deal with an artificial hip – British fans remember those good old days. Especially from the conquest of the title in 2013, allowing him to become the first British tennis player in 77 years to win at Wimbledon. Murray was therefore elated by their sustained cheers and amplified by the fact that the retractable roof was closed for his duel, en route to a 6-3, 6-0, 6-1 victory over compatriot Ryan Peniston in the first round.
“It was great to have royals here, but also tennis royals,” Murray said, referring to Kate and Federer.
“It’s great to have Roger there to support this event,” Murray said. The last time I was here on the court, he was there, in the stands, during the 2012 Olympics, in the dressing room (of his Swiss compatriot) Stanislas Wawrinka, to encourage my opponent. It was good to see him cheering after some of my shots today. »
When the host glanced at Federer and asked, “Roger, how did you find his performance today?” “, the Swiss replied with the thumbs up.
Peniston went on to say that “he (Murray) was resilient on every point.”
Showers again interrupted play on the second day of the Grand Slam tournament which is being played on grass.
Play resumed at most pitches shortly after 11 a.m. (local time) at the All England Club, but the drop cloths were quickly released as the rain returned about an hour later.
Elena Rybakina opened hostilities on center court on Tuesday against American Shelby Rogers – this beach is usually reserved for the defending tournament champion. Rybakina, who withdrew from the Eastbourne tournament last week due to a virus, regained her composure on serve after the first set to claim a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win over Rogers .
“I feel a lot better,” she admitted on the court. I was a bit unlucky. I had to work hard to regain a good physical condition, but now it’s better. I hope this victory will allow me to build my confidence for my next match. »
Rybakina also had to withdraw from the French Open due to illness, and she added that she was “very nervous” at the start of Tuesday’s match.
Meanwhile, sixth-seeded Ons Jabeur, who lost to Rybakina in the London final last year, ousted Magdalena Frech 6-3, 6-3.
The second seed, Aryna Sabalenka, also triumphed Tuesday, in two sets of 6-3, 6-1 against Panna Udvardy. It was her first match at Wimbledon since she was expelled last year, along with several of her fellow Belarusians and Russian players, due to the invasion of Ukraine.
“I didn’t realize how much I missed this place,” Sabalenka said. Until I find myself in the field. »
Cam Norrie, the top seeded Briton, seeded 12th, won 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 ahead of Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic.
Britain’s Daniel Evans, seeded 27th, however, lost 6-2, 6-3, 6-7 (5) and 6-4 to Quentin Halys, a Frenchman ranked 79th in the world.
Many Canadians will have to wait at least another day before playing or completing their first round matches at Wimbledon.
The rain again disrupted activities at the All England Club, forcing the organizers to postpone several meetings scheduled for Tuesday.
Bianca Andreescu, Denis Shapovalov, Carol Zhao, Milos Raonic and Rebecca Marino have had their first-round duels pushed back to Wednesday.
Moldova’s Radu Albot leads Shapovalov 7-5, 2-2 in a match that was halted due to darkness on Monday.
The Canadians had mixed results on the first day of competition.
Leylah Fernandez successfully passed the first round, but Félix Auger-Aliassime, seeded No. 11, lost in her first match.