Day 1 preview
The 2005 Wimbledon Championships open with former title holders Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt and Lindsay Davenport featured on the famed English lawns. Among those seeking similar Wimbledon fortunes include Australian Open champion Marat Safin, Mario Ancic, Kim Clijsters and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
• World No. 1 Roger Federer begins his quest for a third consecutive Wimbledon title as he opens play on the most famous court in tennis against Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu. Federer, who has been shut out in his first two Slams this season, enters Wimbledon riding a 29-match grass winning streak and as the prohibitive tournament favorite. On the flip side, the overmatched Mathieu is a talented player in his own right, but with just three career grass court wins the numbers are not on his side for an upset Monday.
• In perhaps the best match of the day, Australian Open champion Marat Safin faces the colorful Paradorn Srichaphan. Safin has been outspoken in the past of his distaste for the grass. But the powerful Russian's attitude toward the tour's softest surface may be changing after reaching his first grass final two weeks ago in Halle, where he pushed Roger Federer to three sets. Safin's had his share of troubles at Wimbledon, reaching the quarterfinals here just once in five tries.
• 2002 Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt continues his return to the game today against Christophe Rochus. Hewitt had a great start to the year until suffering a toe injury in March and then cracked his ribs in a fall in May. His bad ribs forced him out of the French Open but he's back at Wimbledon hoping to resume his high level of play, and Rochus figures to be the perfect opponent as he has lost in the first round here the last four years.
• Top-seeded Lindsay Davenport begins her 2005 Wimbledon campaign against Russian journeywoman Alina Jidkova. Davenport, a winner here in 1999, is coming off a solid French Open where she reached the quarterfinals, defeating Kim Clijsters en route before falling to Mary Pierce. The 28-year-old Jidkova has scored the upset before, most recently stunning Serena Williams last fall in Linz. These two met just once before with Davenport losing just one game at the 2000 Australian Open.
• After missing 2004 with a bad wrist, speedy splitter Kim Clijsters returns to Wimbledon in fine form fresh off an Eastbourne title on Saturday. The bubbly Belgian has been to three Slam finals but is still seeking her first title. Today she'll face 19-year-old British wildcard Katie O'Brien.
Also in action
Former French Open champions Juan Carlos Ferrero and Anastsia Myskina will try their hand on the grass. Seeking a bit more success are big servers Mario Ancic, Joachim Johansson, Mark Philippoussis and Greg Rusedski. Amelie Mauresmo, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Dementieva will also be in action on the women's side.
Taylor Dent leads the American charge on the top half of the men's draw. Dent will challenge the big-serving veteran Dick Norman. James Blake, Jeff Morrison, Justin Gimelstob and Kevin Kim are also slated. On the women's side, No. 28 seed Amy Frazier faces Mashona Washington. Joining the pair on the courts today will be Marissa Irvin, Shenay Perry, Abigail Spears, Lilia Osterlohm, Meghann Shaughnessy and Jamea Jackson.
Miki Singh is a tennis researcher for ESPN.
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