Alcaraz starts Wimbledon with a straight-set win


WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — In only his third Wimbledon tournament, Carlos Alcaraz is already one of the main men to beat.

The top-seeded Spaniard hasn’t been past the fourth round at the All England Club, but he has become the primary threat in Novak Djokovic’s quest for a record-equaling eighth men’s title at the grass-court Grand Slam.

On Tuesday, Alcaraz beat Jeremy Chardy 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 on No. 1 Court — a fitting location for the No. 1 player in the world.

The match was played under the roof because rain affected play on the outside courts for the second straight day.

“Obviously without the roof, with sun, is much better for me. I think for everyone as well,” Alcaraz said on court. “With the roof or not, I have to show my best level.”

His best led Alcaraz to his first major title at the U.S. Open last year. He reached the final at this year’s French Open, but Djokovic ended up winning his 23rd Grand Slam title in that match.

At Wimbledon, Alcaraz reached the second round in 2021, playing as a wild card. He made the fourth round last year and entered this year’s tournament after winning the grass-court title at Queen’s Club.

The 36-year-old Chardy, who was playing at Wimbledon for the 14th time and at his 56th major overall, planned to retire from the sport after this year’s tournament.

Kate, the Princess of Wales, was at a rainy Wimbledon on Tuesday and sat in the Royal Box at Centre Court next to Roger Federer, an eight-time champion who has retired from the sport. Federer was feted before play began.

Matches began on most courts shortly after 11 a.m. at the All England Club, but the tarps came out as the rain came down about an hour later.

Rain is forecast for much of the day Tuesday in southwest London.

Elena Rybakina opened play on Centre Court play against American opponent Shelby Rogers — the traditional spot for the defending women’s champion. The defending men’s champion, Djokovic, had the honor of starting play in the main stadium on Day 1.

Rybakina, who withdrew from the Eastbourne International last week citing a virus illness, improved her serve after the first set and beat Rogers 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

“I’m feeling much better,” she said on court. “It was a bit unlucky for me. It was not easy to get again to the fitness and physical condition, but now I’m much better. Hopefully this win gives me more confidence for the next round.”

Rybakina had also pulled out of the French Open because of an illness and said she was “pretty nervous” at the start of Tuesday’s match.

Djokovic’s match was delayed by rain Monday, and he even helped dry the court before play resumed. The seven-time champion ended up beating Pedro Cachin 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (4).

No posts to display