HENMAN humbled. Make way for Murray mania.
Scotland’s Andy Murray, 19, plays Frenchman Julien Benneteau today for a place in the third round. Glum Tim Henman fans in the queue were smiling again this morning and extolling the virtues of porridge.
With the Fed Express rolling on – Roger Federer’s crushing win over Henman was his 43rd consecutive victory on grass – Wimbledon desperately needs the Scottish teenager to progress.
A shock defeat for Venus Williams. The defending champion won her first round match with ease but, for once, lost out in the fashion stakes.
All England Club officials were smiling. For the first time in several decades there was no football on TV. This was the day for Wimbledon to claim its rightful place in the spotlight. Even prodigal son Boris Becker was back for a flying visit in a short break from World Cup commentating duties with German TV.
Sadly, no-one had told Bethanie Mattek from Minnesota. Obviously aware the nation was missing its fix of Motty, she strode on to Centre Court dressed as a seventies footballer, complete with knee-high socks, tight white shorts and chandelier earrings.
BLUE sky over Wimbledon. Even early in the morning it was sunny and hot, casting shadows over the courts.
Time for the sun cream, along with defending champion Venus Williams to make her first appearance on Centre Court.
Match of the day for British fans is scheduled last on the same court. Tim Henman has nothing to lose against Roger Federer. It’s a perfect summer’s day.
THE woman sitting behind me sighed: “Why does he do this to us?” We’d all been here before.
Having had it in his grasp, Tim Henman was on his way to losing a first set tie-break with a double fault. Suddenly the skies darkened and a chill wind blew around Court One.
Our boy eventually claimed victory at the end of five sets, but it took three hours and 14 minutes before we could be certain there would be no first round disaster.
Less than an hour into the action, those predicting the end of Henmania were looking smug. It was all of 14 minutes before the first cry of “come on Tim” finally rang out from the crowd.
Swede Robin Soderling clenches his fist a little too often for the regulars at SW19. But where was Tiger Tim’s roar – and had his public deserted him?
THE sun is out, and so are the stars. Roger Federer and Tim Henman were just two players getting some practice in before their first round matches this afternoon. An added bonus for the crowds.
There’s not much doubt about Federer’s fate today. He’s already one set up after his brief appearance yesterday. Henman’s future is less certain. If he beats Swede Robin Soderling, he faces a certain R. Federer in the second round.
A yellow ball was first used at Wimbledon in 1986. Today we’re promised something similar in the sky over Centre Court.
The sun isn’t here yet – but it’s on its way, along with a bumper day of tennis. Bet the unlucky spectators who were soaked here yesterday are delighted. They will get a full refund, not that it makes up for missing the sort of line-up on court this afternoon that tennis fans dream about. It’s going to be packed.
DRIZZLE was the word of the day. Defending champion Roger Federer started the defence of his title on time, but was defeated by the Centre Court coverers after just 35 minutes. A rare British victory.
By mid-afternoon, the BBC also admitted defeat and started interviewing celebs. Little Britain’s David Walliams was led to the roof of the Broadcasting Centre to talk about his imminent cross-Channel swim for Sport Relief. He’d obviously come to SW19 for some last minute training.
HIGH noon on the first day of Wimbledon and the covers are coming off. But don’t put that brolly away just yet.
Rain was pouring down when I first looked out of my window at 5.15am today. By 10am it was falling in a diagonal direction. Anything to entertain the thousands who were queueing up outside the grounds at what looked like an international umbrella convention.
DAY one and the forecast is rain. Welcome to the 120th All England Lawn Tennis Club Championships. Walking around an empty Wimbledon, all is nearly ready for the half a million spectators who will follow me through the gates over the next fortnight. Ask the players what they think of the place and the one word you hear above all others is “special”. The annual sporting drama on English summer lawns is about to begin.