There were no nasty first-round surprises for Nadal, Roger Federer or Andy Murray yesterday as the three star names in the bottom half of the men’s draw made progress in straight sets.
Lying in wait for Spaniard Nadal next tomorrow though will be Dustin Brown, a tricksy player he knows can cause him trouble on grass, because Brown beat him last June in Halle, Germany.
“It is difficult to think about how the match is going to be. He’s not a usual player. Anything can happen,” said Nadal, a 6-4 6-2 6-4 winner on Court One against Brazilian Thomas Bellucci.
“He beat me last year in Halle. It is a dangerous match. He’s a tough player. He won today against a good opponent in Lu (Yen-hsun).
“He will probably come with good confidence. I’m going to try to be ready for it.”
Brown, who represented Jamaica until 2010, counts grass as his favourite surface and saw off Taiwanese player Lu 3-6 6-3 7-5 6-4.
Federer sped through his opener against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur with familiar panache. The seven-time champion was never in any danger as he enjoyed a 6-1 6-3 6-3 stroll on Centre Court.
Murray’s bid for a second Wimbledon title began purposefully enough with a straight-sets victory over Mikhail Kukushkin.
Kukushkin, ranked 59th in the world, offered a stiff examination for Murray, who came through 6-4 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 on Centre Court.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was pushed all the way by Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller, a player who beat Grigor Dimitrov at Queen’s Club where he also took a set off Murray.
The 13th seed from France came through a 7-6 (10/8) 6-7 (3/7) 6-4 3-6 6-2 winner, a searching examination that should set him up well for the tests to come.
“I thought it was going to be difficult, and it was. He’s a very good player, especially on grass and indoors. He likes that kind of surface,” Tsonga said. “In the end, the most important is to win, and I think I did a good job.”
Eugenie Bouchard tumbled out at the first hurdle as the bottom half of the women’s draw at Wimbledon lost two of its biggest stars.
Canadian Bouchard was joined in being bumped out by the third seed Simona Halep, but defending champion Petra Kvitova made rapid progress to the second round.
A year ago it was Bouchard who became the undisputed star of the show in the women’s singles, drawing her Genie Army to the All-England Club and powering through to the final, her athleticism and ebullience winning over the crowds. She was all out of power on this occasion though, citing a stomach injury suffered in Eastbourne as a major factor in her 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 defeat at the hands of China’s Duan Ying-Ying on Court Three.
“There was no question I was going to play even though I was advised not to,” Bouchard, enduring a dismal season, said. “I’m disappointed because I lost and it was probably not the smartest decision.”
Reports on social media that Bouchard was given a warning over her visible black bra straps were denied by a Wimbledon spokesman.
That would have compounded another bad day for Bouchard, who said: “I was not aware of that at all. And no one told me anything about my bra.”
Romanian Halep became the highest seed to join the Wimbledon first-round exodus as she perished to Jana Cepelova 5-7 6-4 6-3.
Kvitova thrashed Holland’s Kiki Bertens in straight sets, dropping just one point on serve throughout , which came with a double fault in the final game, as she beat Bertens 6-1 6-0 in 35 minutes. Caroline Wozniacki was in early trouble against China’s Saisai Zheng but the Danish fifth seed roared back to win 7-5 6-0.