Wimbledon: Venus, Nadal win on first day
WIMBLEDON, England ó
Back on one of tennisí top stages, Venus Williams cut a familiar figure Monday at Wimbledon, from her latest original, somewhat-see-through outfit to her trademark booming serves and aggressive groundstrokes.
Williams smacked seven aces at up to 118 mph, totaled 23 winners to only five unforced errors, and overwhelmed 97th-ranked Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 6-3, 6-1 in the first round at the All England Club.
The seven-time major champion recently was off the tour for about five months with a bum hip, including missing the French Open, and this is only her fourth tournament in nearly a year.
ěItís a good place to start. And this is kind of like a home for her. She loves it,î said Williamsí hitting partner, David Witt. ěShe feels confident out here, and in womenís tennis, ëconfidentí goes a long way.î
There sure was nothing shy about a playsuit Williams called ětrendyî: white and sleeveless, with a deep ěVî neckline, a triangle cut out in the back, a gold belt and gold zipper.
Williamsí outfit ó and, of course, superb play, which betrayed no lingering effects from her injury ó generated the most buzz on Day 1 in the 125th edition of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.
ěI do realize I donít have as many matches,î said Williams, only 5-2 this season and only 9-3 since last July. ěSo, yeah, for sure, I know I need to kind of come out firing. Been pretty good at that in the past ó and today.î
Others reaching the second round included 10-time major champion Rafael Nadal, whose parents sat in the Royal Box during his 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over 90th-ranked Michael Russell of Houston; No. 4 Andy Murray, and No. 10 Mardy Fish.
It was Nadalís first chance to play the tournamentís opening match on Centre Court, an honor given to the defending menís champion, and something he called a ěbig emotion.î Bad knees forced Nadal to withdraw in 2009, a year after he won Wimbledon for the first time.
He was more blase about his parentsí special seats, saying: ěIt doesnít make any difference to me whether I see them in my (guest) box or in the Royal Box. But I think it was a beautiful experience for them.î
Nadal now faces another American, 69th-ranked Ryan Sweeting of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., who dropped the first two sets against Pablo Andujar of Spain before coming all the way back to win 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-1.