Home Sport Vondrousova blames nerves after being knocked out of Wimbledon at opening hurdle

Vondrousova blames nerves after being knocked out of Wimbledon at opening hurdle

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‘Today I was really nervous since the start. I couldn’t shake it off. Also she was playing good. I didn’t have many chances to come back into the match or she didn’t give me many free points.’

Spain’s Jessica Bouzas Maneiro celebrates after winning her first round match against Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova at Wimbledon on Tuesday. Picture: REUTERS, Matthew Childs

Defending champion Marketa Vondrousova was knocked out in the first round of Wimbledon on Tuesday, the first female holder to fall at the opening hurdle since Steffi Graf 30 years ago.

Czech Vondrousova, who became the first unseeded woman to lift the title last year, earned a far less welcome accolade after a 6-4 6-2 defeat by Spain’s Jessica Bouzas Maneiro.

“Yeah, it just didn’t go as planned today,” a downcast Vondrousova said, adding that despite her best efforts the pressure of defending the title had got to her. “I feel like even if you don’t want to think about it, you just think about it … all the time here, I see posters here and everything, my name everywhere.

“Today I was really nervous since the start. I couldn’t shake it off. Also she was playing good. I didn’t have many chances to come back into the match or she didn’t give me many free points. Yeah, credit to her. I’m going to come back stronger, I hope.

“It was an amazing feeling to go back on Centre Court. Now it’s like mixed feelings. I love to be here. I would love to stay longer also. Yeah, today was really tough.”

Ranked world number 83, Bouzas Maneiro had won only one tour-level match all year heading into Wimbledon, but secured her first win across all Grand Slams when she slapped a backhand down the line.

“It is one of the most important moments of my life,” the Spaniard smiled as she soaked up the cheers. “I’m just … I’m surprised with myself to be honest.

“I was just thinking about enjoying the moment and try to play Marketa. She’s one of the best players in the world. She won last year here.

“I had no pressure, enjoy the moment, enjoy the tournament and just trying to be free-playing and I did it.

“The atmosphere was so nice, so … elegant … it feels like I was at home, I don’t know why,” she added, explaining her lack of nerves on one of the sport’s greatest stages.

The 21-year-old from Galicia hit the ball cleanly throughout an unremarkable Centre Court clash, but only really needed to keep it in play as errors flew from Vondrousova’s racket with alarming regularity.

Struggling with a hip injury which derailed her preparation, sixth-seeded Vondrousova now heads for the exit while Bouzas Maneiro will next face compatriot Cristina Bucsa or Romanian Ana Bogdan in the second round.

Djokovic cruises

Meanwhile, Seven-times Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic eased concerns about his knee with a clinical display to beat Czech qualifier Vit Kopriva 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the second round.

Playing with a support on his right leg following a minor operation less than four weeks ago that cut short his French Open, the 37-year-old made a solid start and drew first blood in a marathon fourth game.

The Serb, bidding for a record 25th Grand Slam title to end his trophy drought this year, broke on his sixth attempt and breezed through the opening set under the Centre Court roof before heaping the pressure on Kopriva early in the next.

He let out a big roar, having grabbed another break after a 21-shot rally and used it as a platform to double his advantage in the match, as the 123rd-ranked Kopriva struggled to keep pace with last year’s runner-up.

The Wimbledon main draw debutant offered resistance early in the third set but was unable to subdue second seed Djokovic, who shifted up another gear to run away with the match.

Reuters

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