Venus Williams will begin the defence of her Wimbledon title today, looking to carry on where sister Serena left off on the opening day.
Venus takes on Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele on Centre Court as she seeks a third straight triumph at the All England Club and sixth singles crown in total.
The 29-year-old has an amazing record in SW19, winning 58 of her 65 matches since making her debut in 1997. In the last nine years the American has won the title five times and appeared in two other finals – but has failed to repeat such success at the other three grand slams.
Williams has won the US Open twice but has never won the Australian Open or French Open, reaching just one final in Melbourne (2003) and Paris (2002).
She is only the third seed this year behind Serena and world number one Dinara Safina, but such minor details have never been much cause for concern.
“I think Dinara should be the number one seed,” Serena insisted after her 6-1 7-5 victory over Portugal’s Neuza Silva, a player making her grand slam debut at the age of 26.
“She’s been really consistent the last couple months. She’s earned that number one ranking.”
Safina has indeed been consistent, reaching the final at the year’s first two grand slams in Australia and France but falling at the final hurdle both times (losing to Serena in Melbourne and Svetlana Kuznetsova in Paris).
The 23-year-old Russian, whose brother Marat Safin was a surprise semi-finalist at Wimbledon 12 months ago, has never been beyond the third round here – losing at that stage in three of the last four years.
But she will be expected to have few problems against Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez Lino, the world number 72 who has never won a match at Wimbledon.
French Open champion Kuznetsova was also scheduled to be in action today, the fifth seed taking on Japan’s Akiko Morigami on Court Two, while former world number one Ana Ivanovic – the 13th seed – was up against Lucie Hradecka, of the Czech Republic, on Court Four.
Another former world number one, Jelena Jankovic, was due to face Germany’s Julia Goerges on Court Three – with ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki, of Denmark, playing Japan’s Kimiko Date on Court Two.