It’s a great tradition that the defending champion open Center Court play at Wimbledon. And for the first time in his career that honor goes to Rafael Nadal tomorrow. Nadal, who was unable to fulfill his role in 2009, now returns Monday where he’ll get his proper due and it will likely overshadow his match against American journeyman Michael Russel.
Nadal is joined on the most historic court in tennis by former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and in the last match Andy Murray.
Schiavone plays Jelena Dokic while Murray meets Daniel Gimeno-Traver on a good first day Wimbledon schedule.
There may not be a lot of great or even interesting matches, but there are some big names in action. Former finalists Tomas Berdych and Andy Roddick are both on Court 1. US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro plays on Court 18.
Five-time winner Venus Williams was sent out to Court 2 against Amanmuradova.
Among the better matches, there is Marin Cilic vs. Ivan Ljubicic, Ivo Karlovic vs. Janko Tipsarevic, Fabio Fognini v. Milos Raonic, Fernando Verdasco v. Radek Stepanek and Gilles Muller vs. Tommy Haas.
I’ll also be interested to see how Roddick looks. Will he stay defensive or try to open things up. It is grass afterall. Roddick begins against German qualifier Andreas Beck. Beck, a 6-foot-3 lefty, and Roddick have never played.
Overall, I don’t think we’ll see any surprises. Zvonareva, who plays Alison Riske, could get a little scare. Otherwise, the big two courts should flow in straight sets.
That said, let’s hope the weather is clear and we see some good tennis.
MONDAY WIMBLEDON SCHEDULE
Centre Court 13:00 Start Time
Rafael Nadal (ESP) v. Michael Russell (USA)
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) v. Jelena Dokic (AUS)
Andy Murray (GBR) v. Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP)
No. 1 Court 13:00 Start Time
Alison Riske (USA) v. Vera Zvonareva (RUS)
Filippo Volandri (ITA) v. Tomas Berdych (CZE)
Andreas Beck (GER) v. Andy Roddick (USA)
No. 2 Court 12:00 Start Time
Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) v. Venus Williams (USA)
Gael Monfils (FRA) v. Matthias Bachinger (GER)
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) v. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
Radek Stepanek (CZE) v. Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
No. 3 Court 12:00 Start Time
Katie O’Brien (GBR) v. Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN)
Potito Starace (ITA) v. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)
Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) v. Marin Cilic (CRO)
Jelena Jankovic (SRB) v. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP)
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