Nadal takes centre stage

After wins for Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, it was Rafael Nadal’s turn to begin his Wimbledon campaign today with a first-round match against Germany’s Andreas Beck.

Five-time champion Federer cruised into the second round with a straight-sets win over Dominik Hrbaty yesterday, while Djokovic overcame a lapse in concentration to beat Germany’s Michael Berrer in four sets.

Nadal, tipped by Bjorn Borg to end Federer’s reign at the All Englasnd Club, was expected to enjoy equally straightforward progress against qualifier Beck on centre court.

However, the 22-year-old left-hander did reach the quarter-finals in Halle recently – an event won by Federer – and could provide second seed Nadal with a useful work out as he looks to build on winning his first title on grass at the Artois Championships.

Sixth seed Andy Roddick, twice a beaten finalist, was also in action on Court One against Argentina’s Eduardo Schwank, while fourth seed Nikolay Davydenko was up against Germany’s Benjamin Becker.

Federer needed just one hour and 19 minutes to beat Hrbaty 6-3 6-2 6-2 and send a message to those who had been suggesting he was vulnerable this year.

“I haven’t been reading and I haven’t been listening to what has been said so I haven’t been affected either,” said the world number one, seeking a record sixth straight title in SW19.

“I’ve been working as defending champion, trying to defend the title again. That’s all that mattered to me.

“I came from a good tournament in Halle. I couldn’t do any better than not dropping a set, not dropping a service game, so I feel like I’m right there to do the same thing again this week.”

Federer will face Sweden’s Robin Soderling in the second round, a dangerous player sometimes let down by the mental side of his game.

“Against me, he’s had some issues,” Federer added. “He gave up against me in Miami which surprised me. But he’s a guy I respect a lot. It’s not a whole lot of fun playing against him in the second round of Wimbledon.”

The first day saw two shock results, with seventh seed David Nalbandian and 18th seed Ivo Karlovic dumped out.

Nalbandian reached the final in 2002, losing to Lleyton Hewitt, but was beaten in straight sets by Canada’s Frank Dancevic, while big-serving Croatian Karlovic lost in four sets to unknown German Simon Stadler.

Nalbandian, who also lost 6-1 6-0 to Djokovic in the semi-final of the Artois Championships recently, then gave a strange press conference in which he admitted to being injured, but refused to reveal what the injury was with a series of perfunctory answers.

“I didn’t have many chances in that match. I didn’t play well,” Nalbandian said. “I never thought it was going to be like this. You have that kind of day sometimes. I tried. Every shot I missed, I missed close.

“I couldn’t turn it around. I expected better than this for sure.”

Asked about the injury, he added: “I can’t tell you. There’s no reason to talk for.”

More on this topic

Rain stops play in men's final

Men's Wimbledon final delayed by rain

Venus and Serena double up

Venus takes the first setVenus takes the first set

More in this Section

Owen Farrell says England duty is good news for Saracens playersOwen Farrell says England duty is good news for Saracens players

Dual star O’Hara goes on trial with Hawthorn as McShane arrives in AustraliaDual star O’Hara goes on trial with Hawthorn as McShane arrives in Australia

Federer and Djokovic ease into Australian Open third roundFederer and Djokovic ease into Australian Open third round

Rashford confident of Manchester United return before end of the seasonRashford confident of Manchester United return before end of the season


Lifestyle

Dr Sarah Miller is the CEO of Dublin’s Rediscovery Centre, the national centre for the Circular Economy in Ireland. She has a degree in Biotechnology and a PHD in Environmental Science in Waste Conversion Technologies.‘We have to give people positive messages’

When I was pregnant with Joan, I knew she was a girl. We didn’t find out the gender of the baby, but I just knew. Or else, I so badly wanted a girl, I convinced myself that is exactly what we were having.Mum's the Word: I have a confession: I never wanted sons. I wanted daughters

What is it about the teenage years that are so problematic for families? Why does the teenage soul rage against the machine of the adult world?Learning Points: It’s not about the phone, it’s about you and your teen

Judy Collins is 80, and still touring. As she gets ready to return to Ireland, she tells Ellie O’Byrne about the songs that have mattered most in her incredible 60-year career.The songs that matter most to Judy Collins from her 60-year career

More From The Irish Examiner