The big guns come out early at Wimbledon on Monday. Four of the biggest stars in all of tennis are scheduled to be in action on the show courts.
For the eighth time in his illustrious career Roger Federer will open the proceedings on Center Court at 1pm. Roger meets 6-foot-6 Romanian vet Victor Hanescu who he has tamed in all five of their prior meetings. Federer, seeded No. 3, was the champion last year and an early slip this time around could send the third-ranked Swiss tumbling out of the Top 4.
Although if Federer wins again he’ll set the record for the most Wimbledon titles with eight. But he’s not thinking about that yet.
“I’m just happy to be here and happy to be defending the title as of now,” Federer said Sunday. “That’s going to be the theme for me, you know, is taking it round for round, but trying to defend my title playing my best.
“I can talk about that if I’ve won the tournament, but not right before. I know the road is hard, but it is possible. I’m looking forward to the challenge really.”
Federer could potentially have to beat Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic next week.
Andy Murray returns to Center Court later in the day for the first time since his gold medal win over Federer last August. The Scot, who missed the French Open to rest a sore back, meets the big hitting Benjamin Becker in a rematch of their Queen’s clash a couple weeks ago.
“I mean, I know him pretty well,” Murray said of his German foe. “We practiced quite a few times together over in Miami. He’s got a very good attitude. He works very hard. He serves well. He hits the ball pretty flat, which works well on the grass courts. We had a tough match at Queen’s.”
Rafael Nadal is also in action, but the two-time Wimbledon champion will open up not on Center but on Court 1 against Belgian Steve Darcis. Nadal is playing his very first grass match since a shock loss a year ago to Lukas Rosol.
“He’s a good, talented player,” Nadal said of Darcis. “He knows how to play tennis in all the surfaces. He has good shots. I say he is a complete player. I have to play well. I have to play very competitive from the beginning.”
Nadal has won 22 straight matches and has reached the finals of all nine events he’s played this year, winning seven.
Also on a busy Monday, former champions Lleyton Hewitt, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova are on court. Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in on Court 1 while former No. 1s Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki will play on outer courts.
Wimbledon will be shown live all week in the U.S. on ESPN2.
MONDAY WIMBLEDON SCHEDULE
Centre Court 1.00pm Start Time
Victor Hanescu (ROU) v. Roger Federer (SUI)
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) v. Maria Sharapova (RUS)
Benjamin Becker (GER) v. Andy Murray (GBR)
No.1 Court 1.00pm Start Time
Maria Joao Koehler (POR) v. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
Rafael Nadal (ESP) v. Steve Darcis (BEL)
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) v. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)
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