Paire hits back at code violation for ‘lack of effort’
Earlier I brought you news of the whitewash of a set Benoit Paire lost to Diego Schwartzman, but it turns out the Frenchman was also handed a code violation for lacking effort in his very brief appearance on court.
In press, he’s just opened up on the mental struggles he’s faced over the last year with the Covid bubbles on tour and says he ‘doesn’t care’ what the fans think.
“Mentally it is not easy for me since we start again. I said to the press every time with the bubble it is not for me. I try my best when I am in the bubble, but for me playing tennis like this is impossible. So I try my best. It is tough for me. I pulled out last week from Eastbourne because mentally I was not good enough. This week I tried my best and when you try your best you will take a warning because you do not do your best effort.
Paire was asked what response he has to a member of the crowd saying he was wasting everyone’s time with his lack of effort. His response:
“I do not care about the people. I play for me and that is it. I do not play for people. I just try to stay in my room, do my Covid test. I disagree with everything. I like the tournament. When I started on the tour I said I don’t like the tournament but I really like it now. This thing I don’t like is how they treat us, like stay in bubble and everybody is out in the city.”
Barty takes charge of opening set
The top seed told Telegraph chief sports writer that Wimbledon is the ‘most magical place on Earth’ ahead of the Championships. And the feeling appears mutual as she races to a 4-1 lead in the first set.
Roof called into action
The roof is closed on Centre and Court One, and we’re back underway. There’s also a smattering of outside courts where play is still happening. Yep, I don’t get it either.
Rain suspends play
The covers are on Centre and Court One and play is briefly held up by the rain. It’s frustrating for the fans around the grounds, especially over on Court Two where spectators are preparing to get behind Briton Fran Jones as she takes on American teenager Fran Jones.
Blink and you miss it on Court Two
Wow, over in the bowl on Court Two, there was a blink and you miss it set of tennis that was held over from last night.
Benoit Paire trailed 6-3, 6-4 to ninth seed Diego Schwartzman when they resumed earlier, but the Frenchman lost the third set 6-0 after just 16 minutes on court.
Venus gets over the line
At the third match point of asking, five-times Wimbledon champion Venus Williams books her second-round place by overcoming Buzarnescu 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
She sets up a tough test against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.
A special moment over on Centre Court
It’s all going on now, with Zverev surging through the opening set of his clash with Griekspoor on Court One, and now we welcome the top seed Ash Barty over on Centre Court on what is sure to be an emotionally-charged day for Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.
Suarez Navarro is making her farewell at the tournament, and will sign off from tennis later this year.
The former world No 6 was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma last September, but announced in April she was cancer free and made her return to the courts at the French Open last month.
Buzarnescu makes Venus wait
Venus Williams is closing in on another victory at Wimbledon in her 23rd appearance in south west London, but her opponent is making her battle hard at the business-end of the deciding set.
Just like Murray last night, Venus was cruising, serving at 5-1 up in the third, only for Buzarnescu to break and make one final attempt to reel her rival in. Watch this space?
Business-like for Evans
Game, set and match to Evans as he becomes the third British man to reach the second round following wins for Liam Broady and Andy Murray yesterday.
Lopez was slightly lacklustre today, but Evans maintained a professional approach throughout, winning through 7-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Court One ready for action
Fourth seed Alexander Zverev and Holland’s Tallon Griekspoor are warming up on Court One. The Dutchman is making his first appearance at Wimbledon and not expected to trouble Zverev who is looking to improve on his fourth-round best showing at SW19.
Saying that Zverev did suffer a first-round KO to qualifier Jiri Vesely two years ago.
Meanwhile, an intriguing match-up is set for the second round.
Evans comes through sticky game
There were nervy moments for the British No 1 in the seventh game of the third set staring two break points at 15-40.
But he pulled two crucial big first serves out of his locker to steer the game out of the Spaniard’s grasp. A key hold and moves him 4-3 up in the third. Just two games away from booking his place in the second round.
Evans leads Lopez 7-6, 6-2, 4-3.
One Brit bites the dust
It was always going to be a tall order for Harriet Dart to match her third-round best at Wimbledon from two years ago after drawing 13th seed Elise Mertens in the opening tie. The 24-year-old departs with a 6-1, 6-3 defeat.
Dart becomes the fourth Briton to exit at the first-round hurdle this year.
Evans in command against Lopez
The British No 1 is in complete control of his clash with Lopez over on Court Two. Two breaks of serve secure a 6-2 second set and one step closer to the second round. The football-mad Midlander will be keen to get the match wrapped up early so he can come through press and then prepare for England-Germany later at the Euros.
Eighth seed Pliskova progresses
No upsets so far today in the women’s draw with eighth seed Karolina Pliskova becoming the third seed of the day to stay alive at the Championships.
Have to say that I didn’t fancy her chances against French Open semi-finalist Tamara Zidansek, but I’m happy to say she’s proved me wrong.
Pliskova got the job done in straight sets too 7-5, 6-4.
Jabeur one to watch this fortnight?
Still buoyed by her first WTA title win at Birmingham earlier this month, the 21st seed Ons Jabeur has booked her place in the second round.
The Tunisian dropped three games in her 6-1, 6-2 win over Rebecca Peterson.
Meanwhile, playing in her record 90th grand slam event, the 41-year-old Venus Williams has taken the opening set 7-5 against Mihaela Buzarnescu, a spring chicken in comparison at 33.
Evans takes first set on tiebreak
The British No 1 recovers from being 3-0 and 4-1 up in the breaker to take it 7-4. Two sloppy points allowed Lopez back at 4-3, but great net coverage and solid serving got Evans over the line.
Meanwhile, French Open semi-finalist Maria Sakkari meant business today as she registers the first win on day two.
Korda on front foot against Eastbourne champion
Two days after his sister Nelly won the Women’s PGA Championship, and Sebastian Korda hopes to continue his family’s sporting heroics this week by upsetting the Eastbourne champion and 15th seed Alex De Minaur.
Korda has taken the opening set 6-3 with this being his first Wimbledon appearance.
Dart drops opening set
Watching the light drizzle fall for most of the day yesterday can’t have been much fun for Harriet Dart. Unfortunately having her match held over to today under the brighter skies hasn’t helped either. Dart has lost the opening set against 13th seed Elise Martens 6-1 after just 30 minutes.
Evans feeding off fans’ support
British No 1 is into his stride on Court Two and relishing having the home crowd behind him. He’s up against a tricky and experienced opponent in Feliciano Lopez today, who is making his 19th appearance at SW19.
Evans saved a break point in the eighth game of the opening set to stay on serve at 4-4 before and then turned the screw in the next game, forcing his own break point but solid serving saw the 39-year-old over the line. It remains on serve.
While Barty opens proceedings on Centre at 1.30pm, sixth seed Alexander Zverev will open his Wimbledon campaign on Court One half an hour earlier against Holland’s Tallon Griekspoor.
2018 Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber will follow against Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic. And wrapping up the day’s play on Court One will be the second seed Daniil Medvedev, who faces a tricky opponent in Jan-Lennard Struff.
Medvedev has not been beyond the third round of Wimbledon in three attempts.
All set to start on time
Seven Brits in action on day two
British No 1 Dan Evans and Harriet Dart will be among the homegrown talent getting proceedings underway on the outside courts at 11am.
They are just two of the seven Brits scheduled to play their first-round matches today.
Here’s the lowdown on the Brits in action:
First on Court Two: 22nd seed Dan Evans vs 2019 Queen’s Club champion Feliciano Lopez
Third on Court Two: Fran Jones vs 17-year-old Coco Gauff
Fourth on Court Two: Cam Norrie vs Lucas Pouille
First on Court 18: Harriet Dart vs 13th seed Elise Mertens
Second on Court 17 to finish: Jay Clarke vs Egor Gerasimov – 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5) (which was held over by the bad light last night)
Fourth on Court 17: Samantha Murray Sharan vs Sorana Cirstea
Fifth on Court 17: Emma Raducanu vs Vitalia Diatchenko
It was not until nearly five hours after play was scheduled to get under way on day one at 11am that the first balls were struck on the outside courts due to the light drizzle and mizzle that loomed over south west London yesterday.
Ticket holders today will be heartened to read that conditions look a little drier, but there is still potential for rain later this afternoon.
The All England Club will hope there isn’t too much of a rain hold up for fear of creating a backlog of ties at the start of the Championships.
As is its, the first-round clashes for Britons Dan Evans against Feliciano Lopez and Harriet Dart’s contest against 13th seed Elise Mertens were held over from yesterday.
After Murray Mayhem Monday comes Tasty Tuesday
Welcome all to coverage on day two of Wimbledon after a breathtaking opening day despite the rain’s best attempt to spoil the Championships’ return after a two-year absence.
Andy Murray provided the late-night drama, deciding that leading two sets and 5-0 up wasn’t value for money for the paying customers on Centre Court and putting spectators inside Wimbledon and watching back home through the wringer again.
Our tennis reporter Simon Briggs summed it up best in his report last night:
Everyone knows Murray’s reluctance to take the direct route when a more circuitous journey is available. Even by his standards, though, this was an agonising satnav failure. Having moved so decisively ahead in the third set, he then lost seven straight games and had to leave the court while the roof closed on account of the fading light.
Suddenly another motoring metaphor sprung to mind: that endless drive back from a family holiday where you finally turn into your home street, only for your young child to wake up and puke all over the back seat.
Heather Watson wasn’t able to produce a similar result last night as she slipped to a sixth first-round exit in 11 Wimbledon appearances to lucky loser Kristie Ahn at 10.17pm.
With rain cancelling 18 matches yesterday and bad light cutting short the conclusion of other ties, today, weather permitting, is awash with big match-ups and intriguing contests.
Here are a few we’ve picked out:
The stuff of fairy tales
In the absence of injured defending women’s champion Simona Halep, top seed Ashleigh Barty has the honour of opening up Centre Court proceedings against Carla Suarez-Navarro.
Spain’s Suarez-Navarro will be making her 12th and final appearance at Wimbledon, after a turbulent 12 months that saw the former world No 6 diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma last September, require eight sessions of chemotherapy before announcing she was cancer free in April.
Meanwhile, two years after exploding onto the tennis scene with her infamous victory over Venus Williams, 17-year-old Coco Gauff returns to south west London with experience under her belt as she surges up the rankings.
The 20th seed takes on Britain’s Fran Jones, who grew up with posters of Rafa Nadal and Serena Williams on her bedroom walls, but now will be rubbing shoulders with tennis’ elite as she prepares for her Wimbledon debut.
How will Federer show up?
His grass-court preparations may not have been to his usual perfect standards, but Roger Federer returns to Wimbledon after sitting out most of 2020 through injury. Following two knee surgeries, Wimbledon marks his fifth tournament back to action since the start of the year, where he takes on a dangerous opponent in 32-year-old Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
Mannarino is a grass-court specialist and most recently reached the Mallorca Open semi-finals. He enters this year’s Wimbledon with a good amount of match practice under his belt, while Federer is still suffering with consistency and fitness. Key to the battle could be how Federer copes with Mannarino’s left serve given the eight-times champion’s recent struggles on his return game.
Who are you looking forward to seeing most today? Add your thoughts in the comments section below.