Wimbledon Day 1 recap: Djokovic, Ruud take first steps at All England Club

(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images) /

The 2023 Wimbledon Championships kicked off Monday and saw many big names in action. We recap all the action that went down as defending champion Novak Djokovic had to wait a bit for rain, and he even tried to help with the drying process. What a guy! Several matches were suspended as a result of mother nature.

As for his tennis, the Serbian megastar eased past Pedro Cachin 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (4). It was the kind of routine start the defending champion would like, and he still hasn’t lost on Center Court at the All England Club since 2013.

Number 4 seed Casper Ruud, not seen since his French Open final defeat, dropped a set to French journeyman Laurent Lokoli. However, the ever-sturdy Norwegian recovered and ended up winning going away in a relatively comfortable four sets.

Recapping Wimbledon Day 1

Across the ground, another pre-tournament darkhorse, the young Italian Jannik Sinner, looked very impressive as he dispatched Juan Manuel Cerundolo 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. He looked eager to build on his deep run at last year’s event.

Two players that came into Wimbledon in good form, Alexander Bublik and Jordan Thompson, both continued playing well as they advanced into the 2nd round. Bublik battled past the young American Mackenzie McDonald and Thompson needed 5 grueling sets to fight past Brandon Nakashima.

On the ladies’ side, the chaos began early right away as the 7th seeded Coco Gauff fell in a terrific three-setter to the qualifier and former Grand Slam champion, Sofia Kenin. This was more about Kenin raising her game to new levels than Gauff playing poorly.

WTA number 1 Iga Swiatek only dropped four games as she raced into the 2nd round. Other seeds to win on Day 1 were 19-seed Victoria Azarenka who needed 3 sets to dispose of Yue Yuan and the 12-seed Veronika Kudermetova who took care of the always crafty Kaia Kanepi.

The top ranked American and No. 4 Seed Jessica Pegula had a more difficult match than anticipated, but she fought past Lauren Davis 6-2, 6-7 (10), 6-3. Elina Svitolina continued her comeback to the game as she knocked out the 43-year-old Venus Williams 6-4, 6-3. Venus received a standing ovation as she walked off the court for what could be the final time.

Some seeded players from both draws that were knocked out on opening day include 11-seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, 24-seed Yoshihito Nishioka, 31st-seed Mayar Sherif, and 15-seed Liudmila Samsonova. Several other seeded players had their matches suspended including 9-seed Taylor Fritz who is up 3-2 in the 5th set against Yannick Hanfmann.

3-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka booked his place in Round 2 with a 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 win over Emil Ruusuvuori. The 7-seed and recent Halle Finalist Andrey Rublev appeared to be very excited to be back at Wimbledon after missing last year’s tournament. He dispatched the Australian Max Purcell in swift fashion, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.

What to watch for at Wimbledon Day 2. dark. Next

With some matches not completed, the action on Day 1 at Wimbledon still did not disappoint. We saw some big names fall as well as some new faces booking places in the 2nd round. To think this is just the beginning of an exciting fortnight is enough to get any warm-blooded tennis fan excited.