Day One

Day One



You can take your tarnished World Cup, Mr Blatter, and boot it into Row Z, because this is one title we can lift. Yes, Britain has a Wimbledon champion preparing to defend his singles crown - and we've been waiting 78 years to say that.

What I wonder will it be like commuting daily to London SW19, via the armchair and widescreen TV, without willing an end to the most agonising losing streak in British sport?

It will be hard to break the habits of a lifetime: the superstitious pre-match rituals, the involuntary grunting, the bananas between sets, the inevitable choking - and that's just in my sitting room. At last we have a champion who can vanquish the rest - the peerless Swiss, the Spanish matador, the Serb with dynamite in his racket. Crikey, we can relax at last! Can't we?


Sue Barker introduces live coverage of the opening day of the third Grand Slam tournament of the year, which gets under way at the All England Club with the first-round matches in the men's and ladies' singles, including Novak Djokovic v Andrey Golubev, Andreas Haider-Maurer v Kyle Edmund and Johanna Konta v Shuai Peng. The fortnight on the famous grass courts last year produced many memorable events and a whole host of drama, all of which was largely overshadowed as soon as Andy Murray created his own piece of history on Centre Court by becoming the first British man to win the singles title at SW19 for 77 years. Murray will return today against David Goffin and be among the star attractions, hoping to avoid any drama and book his place in round two with the minimum of fuss. That was certainly the case in 2013 for then-defending champion Roger Federer, who showed his customary grace and flair to record a 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 win over Victor Hanescu. The Swiss maestro may be some way past playing the quality of tennis that has seen him victorious here on seven occasions, but he will still be among the favourites as he aims to overhaul Pete Sampras by winning for an eighth time. While Murray was always likely to be a contender last year, the ladies' singles produced a huge surprise, as Marion Bartoli of France won the tournament without dropping a set, beating Sabine Lisicki in the final, although Bartoli was soon to retire from tennis due to the effects of injury, and will not be back to defend the title. With Laura Robson also missing this year through injury, the main focus on British hopes in the ladies' draw will be on Heather Watson, who has recovered from a debilitating bout of glandular fever to continue to show the promise that has made her one of the rising stars of the game.