THERE were tears on Court 11 today as a sobbing Elena Baltacha sank to her knees after the final point.
For once, they were tears of joy, and relief, as she became the first British player to reach the second round.
But normal service was resumed a few hours later when Alex Bogdanovic crashed out of the men’s singles on the same court.
The jury is still out on the Lawn Tennis Association’s moves to improve the state of British tennis.
Just nine Brits – four men and five women – were entered into the singles draws at Wimbledon, seven of them thanks to wild cards.
Andy Murray opens his campaign last on Centre Court tomorrow, with one eye on the BBC’s early evening TV coverage.
He will follow on from Rafael Nadal with the pair due to meet in the quarter finals.
The Scot (pictured below signing autographs today) will be judged a success if he gets that far, while Tim Henman is still Britain’s No 7, even though he retired last September.
The LTA spent £39m on their new National Tennis Centre in London and promised success would follow down the road at SW19, given time.
A new crop of juniors has yet to be served up into the adult game but LTA chief executive Roger Draper describes some of them as “world class”.
Which leaves us with a waiting game, a lull before what should be a British tennis storm – if those juniors live up to expectations.
With five players now in the world’s top 200, I asked Elena after her win if she was optimistic about the future of the British women’s game.
“I am, yes. We’re all working much harder. The LTA are really backing us up – we’re all pushing each other up. So, yes, I think it is looking much brighter.”
But the real battle will be won, or lost, far from the lawns of the All England Club or the gleaming spires of the nation’s tennis HQ.
The authorities know they have to vastly increase the number of children taking up the sport, so extending the potential talent pool.
Various campaigns have met with limited success.
Tennis is still a relatively expensive game to play with difficult skills to learn, however simply you serve up the basics for children.
Football rules, both in the playground and the local park, with tennis very much the poor relation, aside from the annual rush to find a court during Wimbledon fortnight.
Ironically, one of the LTA’s critics could prove to be its saviour.
If Andy Murray can one day win the Men’s Singles title here it would transform the outlook for British tennis.
For the moment, that waiting game goes on.
Wylie’s Wimbledon 2008