LONDON, Great Britain - It's not Wimbledon without a few rainy days and sure enough, the rain came late in the afternoon to cancel and suspend a significant number of matches. Top seeds who didn't get on court today include Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova, and Timea Bacsinszky.
But before the rain came, here's what happened:
Serena Williams passes her first test: It's never easy to play an unknown player in the first round of a major, but Serena Williams moved through with relative ease, beating Swiss qualifier Amra Sadikovic 6-2, 6-4. After the win she was asked whether the prospect of chasing Slam No.22 was wearing on her.
"I think about winning Wimbledon," she said. "I don't necessarily think about winning 22. Mentally I've been further down than anyone can be. Well, maybe not anyone, but I've been pretty low. There's nothing that's not mentally too hard for me."
Serena faces a familiar foe in the second round in Christina McHale. The two have already played twice this year. Read more about McHale's comeback from injury here.
? Jeff Watson (@Jeff_Watson88) June 28, 2016
Amra Sadikovic just wants a hug: Sadikovic saw five break point chances against Serena, converting just once. That was the biggest difference in the match, as Serena simply played the big points better. But it was nothing but positives for the 27-year-old, who was making her Slam debut on Centre Court.
"It was a dream come true, especially playing Serena here on Centre Court, it can't be better," she said. "Already this, the chance to play her on Centre Court, was confirmation for me that coming back was the right decision."
Sadikovic and Serena shared a nice moment at the net, and when asked for what the two talked about, Sadikovic just laughed. "I asked her if I could hug her," she said. "Serena can I hug you? [And she said] Yeah sure!"
"I'm stretching and Carlos comes to me:
'You're playing Wozniacki.'
'Canadian Wozniacki, right?'
'No no no, Caroline.'
'No no no, you're joking, right?
"And then I'm doing this stretching and I look at him five times, 'You're joking, right?'
"And he's like, 'No no, I'm not joking, seriously!'
"And I'm like, 'No no no, it couldn't be.'
"I asked him like three times."
Kuznetsova went on to win 7-5, 6-4 under the roof on Centre Court.
Sveta the Artiste: "I play the best when I enjoy it," Kuznetsova said. "I see myself as an artist. That's what I do. There are some girls who have to go and practice cross-court - I do have to practice, and I do have to work, and I do enjoy it a lot. But when I go on court I want to create. If I don't do it, it's boring."
Kuznetsova said it's taken her years of experience and hard work to build a base to free herself to play the way she wants to play on court. And that's the catch: talent alone is never enough.
"Normally players who can create, they are really talented," she said. "And when the player is talented you cannot expect a lot from the talent. Talent won't bring you to No.1, will not bring you to win Slam, will not bring you to Top 10. The work always will. You still gotta work. You gotta do the base. When you are strong like that, then on top of this you can create."
Caroline Wozniacki drops out of the Top 50: Wozniacki looked to be playing better tennis in her lead-up in Eastbourne, but she was no match for a focused and in-form Kuznetsova. She's been handed a series of tough draws at the Slams over the last 18 months, but she hopes her luck swings back around soon. She will drop out of the Top 50 for the first time since February 2008 after Wimbledon.
"I mean, at one point you're just like, You know what, it has to turn, it has to go the other way eventually," she said. "I'm just going to take the punches I'm getting and just try and learn from it and try and move forward.
"By now I can't expect an easy draw. It's not like last year when you're five in the world and expecting some easy couple of rounds or easier couple of rounds. Now I know that most likely I'm going to face a tough opponent from the start. I just need to be ready and improve my game even more so that I can beat the top players in the earlier rounds, then it can kind of open up from there."
Give CoCo Vandeweghe a break: The last time we saw CoCo Vandeweghe she was in tears on court, losing to Barbora Strycova in the Birmingham semifinals. The fatigue and emotions of her two weeks came crashing down on the 24-year-old that day, and she knew she didn't have it in her to play Eastbourne the following week. Her coach Craig Kardon was on the same page.
"My coach before Craig, he was definitely more in that mindset of playing every week," Vandeweghe said. "I don't know why. It was never explained to me as to why from week to week he wanted me to play every single week. At one point it was really hard to even recover for the next day, for the match, or even for practice.
"I think I really resented my coach in that idea that he wanted me to play every single week because that's not how I grew up playing. Whether it was because I had other sports I was playing or a parent who really didn't understand tennis as far as the junior circuit and what tournaments to play. The tournaments I played were where my mom wanted to go. That was what it was. It wasn't like I played the ITFs in God knows where. It was we live in California, we're gonna stay in California, I like going to Palm Desert, we're playing this tournament in Palm Desert.
"I need the breaks. I need to be normal. In a sense this is not normal. Playing, competing, being away from home, being on your game, even when you're traveling and on the road, being at the tournament, being around your peers, it's not relaxing. It's impossible for yourself to be mentally on guard all the time every weeks. I need the breaks personally and that's what I try to do and I'm lucky to have a coach that understands that."
The Kardon/Vandeweghe partnership has been a wildly successful one. A long-time veteran of the game, Kardon quickly stepped in when Vandeweghe's previous coach, Maciej Synowka, quit three days before the French Open last year.
"We got in a huge fight on court in Strasbourg," Vandeweghe said. "Things were said between the two of us and he also had visa issues getting back into the United States. That was also a big problem. I live in the United States, I train in the United States, and if you can't come in here what good are you to me? So that kind of all imploded and he quit.
Vandeweghe's agent quickly put out some feelers. And Kardon stepped up immediately. "Craig forced himself on me," Vandeweghe said, laughing. "He booked a ticket before I even said yes for the French Open. He left me a voicemail, 'Listen I'm coming, trust me this is going to work out.' I was kind of on the fence. I had only met him a couple of times and I kind of needed someone to make the decision for me and he kind of just made the decision for me."
A quarterfinalist here last year, Vandeweghe plays Timea Babos in the second round.
Daniela Hantuchova's newfound perspective: Now 33-years-old and ranked No.194, the former World No.5 needed a wildcard to get into the main draw at Wimbledon. She lost to Christina McHale 7-5, 6-2, but despite her ranking and recent results, Hantuchova says she's the happiest she's ever been.
"If I had this head 10 years ago the results would have been much much better," Hantuchova said.
"I just appreciate everything so much more. Everything we do is such a blessing and privilege. I'm in a really nice place life-wise at the moment and -- just being aware of how lucky I've been in my life -- before I was taking everything for granted.
"French Open was a good experience for me where I managed to qualify and when they gave me the credential for the main draw it was the first time in my career I appreciated it. Probably everything came so fast for me in the beginning. Maybe it didn't help. Everything happens for a reason. But because of this I still want to keep going."
Hantuchova's ranking dropped precipitously after a combination of injury woes and poor form and she's not grinding away on the ITF circuit or in qualifying. "It was a good test for my ego because if you're really worried about the ranking and the results then you say, that's it I'm done, I don't have to do this," she said. "But I realized in those difficult times that I still love it. When that changes one day, that's when I'm going to stop."
Hantuchova was playing her 16th Wimbledon, a stat that continues to shock her. "If somebody told me at the beginning of my career that I would be able to play here 16 times, that is a win right there already for me," she said. "I was really lucky to speak to Goran and John McEnroe before this tournament and they told me to really enjoy it. That's the reality. I love every second of it. To be able to play so long, that means so much for me."
Tara Moore makes good on her wildcard: The Brit, who is ranked No.227, scored a win over Alison Van Uytvanck, 6-3, 6-2, to notch her first Slam win. She'll play Svetlana Kuznetsova next. Here's the Tara Moore international dossier for the uninitiated:
"My father is British," she said. "My mum lives in Hong Kong. I was born in Hong Kong. I grew up in America. I trained at the Bollettieri Tennis Academy. I lived here pretty much since I was 16, 17. I moved back over to England. I've been here ever since. I definitely feel very British."
Rain washes out play: The rain came as expected at about 4:30pm BST, and while Svetlana Kuznetsova and CoCo Vandeweghe were able to get their matches finished under the roof, play was eventually called on the outer courts. Here are the matches that were in progress and suspended:
Johanna Konta leads Monica Puig, 6-1, 2-1.
Anastasia Pavluchenkova leads Hsieh Su-Wei, 7-5, 1-6.
Evgeniya Rodina leads Lesia Tsurenko, 6-3, 4-3.
Julia Boserup leads Tatjana Maria, 4-3.
Eugenie Bouchard leads Magdalena Rybarikova, 6-3, 2-1.
Andrea Petkovic leads Nao Hibino, 3-6, 7-5, 5-1.
Matches will resume on Wednesday. Weather permitting...