Wimbledon Day 2: Alcaraz off to explosive start

Top seed speeds into second round as Federer watches Rybakina begin title defence in style

Carlos Alcaraz / 1er tour Wimbledon 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Reem Abulleil

On a rainy day that saw 69 matches get cancelled, a world No.1 put on a show, a legend graced the Royal Box on Centre Court, and a defending champion overcame early nerves to advance.

Here's what happened on Tuesday at Wimbledon...

Alcaraz cruises, Chardy bids farewell

World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz extended his winning streak on grass to six matches thanks to a dominant 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 victory over 36-year-old Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who was contesting the last singles match of his professional career.

A champion at Queen’s last month, the 20-year-old Alcaraz is bidding to become the third-youngest man in the Open Era to win the Wimbledon title this fortnight.

The Spaniard faces another Frenchman in round two, either Alexandre Müller or Arthur Rinderknech, who lost to Alcaraz in the opening round at Queen’s two weeks ago.

Alcaraz is oozing with confidence right now and is keen to add a second Grand Slam trophy to his CV, having reigned supreme at the US Open last autumn.

"(The goal is) To win the tournament. That's the main goal right now for me. I have a lot of confidence right now" he told reporters on Tuesday.

A legend returns to Centre Court

Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer returned to his happiest hunting ground on Tuesday, but this time as a spectator in the Royal Box of Centre Court.

Back to the site of some of his greatest achievements, Federer received an extended standing ovation as he entered the Royal Box, before eventually taking a seat between Kate, the Princess of Wales, and his wife Mirka.

“Today we honour his contributions to tennis and particularly to these very special lawns,” said the announcer as Federer showed up in the stands.

A short tribute video played on the screens with Ons Jabeur saying Federer “makes every shot look easy”, Taylor Fritz describing the Swiss legend as “an inspiration to everyone in my generation” and Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula deeming him “iconic”.

Federer, whose parents Robert and Lynette were also in the Royal Box, then sat to watch Elena Rybakina open play on Centre Court as the defending champion, against Shelby Rogers, and stuck around to watch Andy Murray face fellow Brit Ryan Peniston.

Alcaraz, who played on No.1 Court, admits he was "jealous" Federer was watching the action on Centre Court and not on No.1 Court.

"I saw that Roger Federer was here. I was a little bit jealous," said Alcaraz with a smile.

"Honestly, I want Roger Federer to watch one of my matches obviously. I wish to talk a little bit with him. For me would be amazing. I hope to see him around more than once."

The 41-year-old Federer retired from tennis last year and was given an incredible farewell at the Laver Cup with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray – his fiercest rivals – all in attendance and by his side representing Team Europe.

Roger Federer / Royal Box Wimbledon 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Rybakina made to battle in opener

No.3 seed Elena Rybakina came back from a set down to overcome American Shelby Rogers 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 and book a second round meeting with lucky loser Nao Hibino or Alize Cornet.

With Federer and the Princess of Wales just a few feet behind her, and a packed Centre Court crowd witnessing the start of her title defence campaign, Rybakina recovered from a slow start before wrapping up the win in one hour and 43 minutes.

“Of course, just the atmosphere and the attention to be on Centre Court, it's different than the last year, because last year I started on a smaller court. With every match I was playing better and better, feeling better,” reflected the Kazakhstani big-hitter.

“Here it's different. Straightaway you go to this big court. I think for me it's now new chapter and this is something I need to get used and try to maintain my level. Yeah, just to get used to all these things.”

World No.6 Ons Jabeur, who lost to Rybakina in last year’s Wimbledon final, eased into the second round with a 6-3, 6-3 success. The Tunisian won 83 percent of her first-serve points and broke serve four times in the 76-minute match. She plays Belgium's Ysaline Bonaventure or Chinese qualifier Bai Zhuoxuan next.

No.2 seed and reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka needed just 62 minutes to move past Hungarian Panna Udvardy 6-3, 6-1 and awaits Camila Giorgi or Varvara Gracheva in the second round.

Andy’s performance earns him a thumbs up from Roger

With his long-time rival Federer watching on, three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray produced a 6-3, 6-0, 6-1 performance against Ryan Peniston in what was the 19th all-British men’s singles match at Wimbledon in the Open Era.

Murray gave Federer a shoutout in his on-court interview and joked that he was glad to have the 20-time major winner supporting him for once.

Andy Murray / 1er tour Wimbledon 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

“It was amazing to have some royalty here, but also some tennis royalty as well,” said the Scottish former world No.1.

“It’s amazing to have Roger here supporting the event. Last time I was on this court and he was watching was during the Olympics and he sat in Stan Wawrinka’s box supporting against me, so it was nice to see a couple of claps today after some good shots.”

Did Federer approve of Murray’s performance? “Very good,” the Swiss said from the stands, giving him a thumbs up.

Murray will face Stefanos Tsitsipas or Dominic Thiem in the second round.

Quote of the day

“I've been waiting for Anett's match, and she hasn't played yesterday or today. Hopefully she will get to play. I believe the weather is sad that she's leaving, so they don't want her to play.”

Ons Jabeur is not ready for her good friend Anett Kontaveit’s retirement.

Stats of the day

Jabeur has won 22 matches on grass since the start of 2021 - the most on the WTA tour within that period.

Two-time champion Murray is making his 15th Wimbledon singles appearance this year, equalling Jeremy Bates’ Open Era record for most Wimbledon appearances made by a British man.

Tweet of the day

If you're wondering what players our doing during rain delays here at Wimbledon, many of them are up on the players' lawn socialising and chatting away; others, like Ysaline Bonaventure, are browsing their social media timelines, cracking jokes while they wait out the rain. Judging by the tweet below, the Belgian lefty clearly has a great sense of humour.