Things We Learned on Day 1 of Wimbledon 2015

It’s here!

The last remnants of red dirt have been wiped away, the all-whites have been adorned and the lawns are looking beautiful. Wimbledon 2015 has officially begun and day 1 has had plenty of entertaining matches to get the mouth watering for two weeks of great tennis. We’ll be here every step of the way picking out the best bits from on- and off the court.

1. Grass is scary

Yes, I’m happy Wimbledon has started. No, I still don’t condone the extreme sport of grass court tennis. Azarenka’s 2013 fall-and-scream still rings loudly in my ears. So many lives at risk, you guys. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE DANGER OF DEW.

2. Venus Williams and Wimbledon are a match made in heaven

She didn’t have a great clay season, but clay has never really been Venus’ thing. Grass, on the other hand is her speciality, and the elder Williams sister looked formidable in her first round match against compatriot Madison Brengle.

Brengle hasn’t been able to recapture the form that saw her make a ludicrous run at the Australian Open earlier in the year, and even playing at her best it’s hard to imagine what she could have done today. Venus was playing at the top level of her game and when she does that on grass…you’re lucky to win a point. Brengle barely did, with Venus taking the match 6-0 6-0 in just 41 minutes.

(Side note: is there another player as elegant as Venus Williams in full flight?)

Venus is slated to play world no.1 Serena Williams in the fourth round and if she keeps up this kind of form, it could be a thriller.

Venus Williams through, 6-0 6-0

3. Hewitt has reached the end of the road at Wimbledon

It’s fitting that Lleyton Hewitt should end his Wimbledon career in a first round, five set battle. Five set matches have been something of a trade mark for the former champion and world no.1 – something that has endeared him to some and caused utter frustration for others.

While he has a fine history of survival, he couldn’t quite make it happen today against fellow veteran Jarkko Nieminen. Hewitt will still be involved in Australian Davis Cup, and could be back at Wimbledon playing doubles in the future. So it’s so long, rather than goodbye.

Nieminen through, 3-6 6-3 4-6 6-0 11-9

4. You should never underestimate a qualifier… 

…and Serena Williams doesn’t. Williams has a habit of starting matches slowly but few expected her Russian opponent Margarita Gasparyan to start firing so quickly. The qualifier rushed to a 4-1 start, giving the world no.1 quite a scare but Williams quickly rallied to fight back to 6-4 before storming through the second set.

Nerves would be understandable from Williams this week, there’s a lot on the line: she has a chance to win her second “Serena slam” as she already holds the US Open 2014 and the Australian and French Open titles this year, not to mention her opportunity to keep that calendar slam alive. It’s high stakes, but if anyone is capable it’s Serena Williams.

There’s a wonderfully funny video on the Wimbledon website of Serena “interviewing to be Wimbledon Champion” in which she describes herself as a “professional tennis player and dancer, in my mind” and when asked how she deals with stressful situations, “um, I don’t deal with them with grace!”

It’s great, watch it:

Serena Williams through, 6-4 6-1

5. Mixed results for the Broady bunch

Jarkko Nieminen was not the only man who needed five sets to progress today. There were a whole host of five set grinds, with Britain’s Liam Broady inevitably grabbing the headlines as one of the home interests. SO I’M BRINGING IT UP BECAUSE I’M BRITISH TOO MUAHAHAHA.

It took the Brit 3 hours and 14 minutes to pull through over Australia’s Marinko Matosevic, coming back from two sets down for a spot against the talented David Goffin in the second round.

Broady is sporting a rather wonderful beard too, which is worth mentioning and also looking at:

Big sister Naomi Broady didn’t perform as well towards the end of the day, losing in straight sets to Colombia’s Mariana Duque-Marino.

Liam Broady through, 5-7 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-3

Duque-Marino through, 7-6 6-3

6. No problem for Novak

Much was made of Djokovic’s first round match up with Philip Kohlschreiber, but ultimately the talented German couldn’t offer too much by way of defence against the world no.1’s brilliant game. Novak will be looking to cheer himself up from that French Open final loss and reassert the dominance he’s shown in 2015 by defending his title here at Wimbledon.

He might have to face Stanislas Wawrinka again in the semi-final here, which could provide some fascinating drama. The French Open champion was also a winner today, coming through in straight sets versus Sousa. Also, his naked photo shoot is out. So. Here’s that:

Djokovic through, 6-4 6-4 6-4
Wawrinka through, 6-2 7-5 7-6

7. Fine form from Sharapova and Ivanovic

Maria Sharapova looked comfortable today against Britain’s Jo Konta, who performed extremely well in home town Eastbourne last week. The former champion was able to dominate out on centre court and she’ll need all her energy if she’s to find herself in a semi-final versus Serena Williams late next week.

Ana Ivanovic had a great French Open and will be looking to reflect her results here on the grass, on which she’s far less comfortable than the red clay of Paris. Ivanovic actually has a really tough draw here at Wimbledon so an easy straight sets win in Round 1 will be a confidence booster moving forward, and we all know that the Serbian is all about confidence.

Sharapova through, 6-2 6-2

Ivanovic through, 6-1 6-1

Andrew can be found in the mountains of Switzerland, watching tennis and trying not to eat too much Swiss cheese. You can follow him on twitter @BackSwings