Ivan Lendl was a big force in men’s tennis in the eighties and early nineties. Originally from Czechoslovakia, Lendl became a US citizen in 1992. During his illustrious tennis career lasting over a decade, Lendl won 8 out of 19 Grand Slam finals that he contested. He held the Grand-Slam-final- appearance record until 2009, when Roger Federer broke it. Rafael Nadal also went past that record in 2014. Lendl’s achievements are legendary in an era that also had tennis greats like John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and several others. Lendl attained the world no. 1 ranking in early 1983 and for most part of the next five years, he stayed as world’s top-ranked player for a total of 270 weeks. In all, Lendl won 94 singles and in the open era, he was second to Connors’ 109 titles. But the great Ivan Lendl could never succeed at Wimbledon despite making two appearances in the final in 1986 and 1987. In an interview to British media those days, Lendl said that he was ready to forfeit all his titles to just one Wimbledon victory. Such is the aura of Wimbledon in the canvas of world tennis. The victory at Wimbledon is considered as the greatest achievement of a tennis star. The 129th edition of Wimbledon began on Monday June 29, 2015 and most seeded players got through to the second round with some exceptions.
2014 champion Novak Djokovic began his title defense with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Germany’s Philippe Kohlschreiber at the center court. After his loss to Stan Wawrinka in French Open final, it was the first outing for the Serb. World no.33 Kohlschreiber was a tough opponent, against whom Djokovic committed 20 unforced errors but he broke Kohlschreiber once each in every set to cruise through to the second round. At court no.1, top seed Serena Williams fell 1-3 behind in first set but worked herself back to defeat Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan 6-4, 6-1. In a repeat of his first round against Portugal’s Joao Sousa, Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka scored a 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 over the Portuguese. The fourth seeded Wawrinka sent down 25 aces and won 60% points on his first serve. Sousa also struck 11 winners but he was broken six times by the Swiss. Fourth seeded Maria Sharapova defeated UK’s wild card Johanna Konta 6-2, 6-2 without any difficulty and American Sloane Stephens eased through to the second round with a 6-4, 6-2 straight sets victory over Czech Republic’s 27th seed Barbora Strycova.
In arguably the biggest tussle of the day, Japanese 5th seed, Kei Nishikori was stretched all the way before winning in five sets against Italian Simone Bolelli. After winning the first set 6-3, Nishikori faced all sorts of trouble before finally winning against the Italian 6-3, 6-7, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. No.11 seed Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov took less than 90 minutes to see off Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-0, 6-4. The casualties on day 1 were Spain’s 19th seed Tommy Robredo, 28th seed Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, 9th seeded woman Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, 24th seed Italy’s Flavia Pennetta and 27th seeded Czech Barbora Strycova.