From choosing the right grass to looking after it all year round, Wimbledon’s courts undergo special care and treatment.
Roger Federer began his 63rd consecutive grand slam tournament with a majestic 6-1 6-3 6-3 first-round win over little-known Bosnian Damir Dzumhur at Wimbledon.
Meanwhile, two-time winner Rafa Nadal, condemned to a lowly 10th seeding this year, got his campaign off to an impressive start with a straight-sets dismissal of Thomaz Bellucci.
Second-seed Federer’s pursuit of a record eighth title at the All England Club could not have started more convincingly as he broke the Wimbledon debutant five times to draw rapturous applause from the faithfuls who had flocked to see their hero on Centre Court.
The 33-year-old started off with an unreturnable serve, threw in some crowd-pleasing volleys before finishing off Dzumhur with a love service game to chalk up his 74th victory at the citadel of grasscourt tennis.
Nadal, who has slipped down the sport’s pecking order after 18 months of injury and below-par performances, showed glimpses of his power and determination in a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over Brazil’s Bellucci on a sun-drenched Number One Court.
If the draw goes to plan Nadal will have to get past Andy Murray and Roger Federer to earn a shot at a third title, potentially against top seed Novak Djokovic in the final.
Nadal had warmed up for this year’s tournament by winning on the grass of Stuttgart, though he went out in the first round at Queens.
Sam Querrey (U.S.) beat Igor Sijsling (Netherlands) 7-5 6-3 6-4
22-Viktor Troicki (Serbia) beat Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Kazakhstan) 6-1 6-4 3-6 6-3
2-Roger Federer (Switzerland) beat Damir Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina) 6-1 6-3 6-3
30-Fabio Fognini (Italy) beat Tim Smyczek (U.S.) 6-4 6-3 6-2
25-Andreas Seppi (Italy) beat Brydan Klein (Britain) 6-3 6-2 6-2
20-Roberto Bautista (Spain) beat Ruben Bemelmans (Belgium) 6-1 6-3 7-6(6)
Benoit Paire (France) beat Mikhail Youzhny (Russia) 6-4 6-4 6-3
In the women’s draw, Petra Kvitova began her Wimbledon defence as she left off in last year’s final with a brutal exhibition of power tennis, dismantling Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 6-1, 6-0 in a 35-minute rout.
The Czech second seed has form for leaving the Centre Court crowd feeling slightly short-changed after battering Eugenie Bouchard in 55 minutes to lift the Rosewater Dish trophy 12 months ago.
Bertens was overwhelmed by Kvitova’s relentless barrage of winners and almost went the entire match without winning a point on the Czech’s serve.
Kvitova spared her blushes by serving a double fault when leading 5-0 in the second set but the twice champion swiftly wrapped up the match.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) beat Mona Barthel (Germany) 6-7(3) 7-6(4) 6-2
2-Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) beat Kiki Bertens (Netherlands) 6-1 6-0
17-Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) beat Misaki Doi (Japan) 3-6 6-3 6-2
Casey Dellacqua (Australia) beat Tamira Paszek (Austria) 6-2 6-2
10-Angelique Kerber (Germany) beat Carina Witthoeft (Germany) 6-0 6-0