Former champion Rafael Nadal of Spain is seeking a third Wimbledon title and started things off on the right foot with a 7-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci in the first round of action on Tuesday. A winner in 2008 and 2010, Nadal appeared to be suffering from his record-breaking seventh French Open triumph two weeks ago as he allowed world number 80th-ranked Bellucci to race into a 4-0 lead in the first set on Centre Court.
"It's always tough to make the change from clay to grass, especially when over the last couple of months I played almost every match on tour. Physically you start having some troubles," Nadal said of his transition from the recent French Open clay courts to Wimbledon's grass courts.
Nadal is looking to match Bjorn Borg's feat of winning the French Open and Wimbledon back to back on three occasions, and will next face Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic, a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 winner over Croatia's Ivan Dodig.
On the women's side of the draw, American Serena Williams fared better than her older sister Venus in opening round action, defeating Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-2, 6-4. Venus was eliminated from contention at Wimbledon, after a 1-6, 3-6 loss to Elena Vesnina of Russia. Serena took command of her match by breaking her Czech opponent three times in the first set. The players then traded breaks twice in the second before Williams broke again in the 10th game, winning her second match point when the 62nd-ranked Zahlavova Strycova sent a forehand just a little too long.
Williams was 46-0 in the first round of Grand Slam tournaments before losing her opening match at this year's French Open. Serena next faces Melinda Czink of Hungary, a 6-0, 6-2 winner over Swede Johanna Larsson.