WIMBLEDON, England - The big names held serve and their places at the top on Tuesday at Wimbledon, meaning those who prefer their tennis played by the rich and famous never had to hold their breaths. Unlike a year ago.
Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal, both ranked No. 1, scored straight-sets victories in opening matches. So did Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova, who, as the other two, are former Wimbledon champions.
In 2013, Nadal was upset in the first round, Federer and Sharapova in the second. There was no tumult, or tumbles, this time.
Nadal, after a wobbly start, beat Martin Klizan of Slovakia, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3; Williams was a 6-1, 6-2, winner over fellow American Anna Tatishvili; Federer blitzed Paolo Lorenzi of Italy, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3; and Sharapova beat Samantha Murray of Britain, 6-1, 6-0.
Although Williams, a five-time Wimbledon champ, needed 10 minutes to win the first game, she never was in danger. In fact, the postmatch questions from U.S. journalists focused on the U.S. team in the World Cup -- "We were so close to getting that win [against Portugal]," she said -- and LeBron James maybe leaving Serena's hometown team, the Miami Heat.
Nadal, the French Open champ (for a ninth time), said he didn't think of last year's stunning defeat to Steve Darcis, only about transitioning from clay courts to the grass at Wimbledon. "Is always like a restart," the Spaniard said.
Federer, who has seven Wimbledon titles among his record 17 Grand Slam victories, seemed particularly upbeat. He will be 33 in August, and this probably will be his last great opportunity here.
"I [got] the break, I think, in all three sets the first return game," he said. "I was always up in the score. It's easier to play that way."
Sharapova who carries a Russian passport but lives in Manhattan Beach, California, won this month's French Open, as did Nadal.
Asked about trying to make the double (Nadal and Federer have done it), Sharapova said the problem not only is the quick turnaround from clay to grass but that the French winner went the full two weeks in Paris after numerous tournaments before that.
John Isner, the only American seed, defeated 23--year old Daniel Smethurst of Britain, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. The 6-10 Isner had 26 aces.