Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Wimbledon off to a racing start

Actress Amanda Holden replicates the poster girl from 1976
The poster girl from 1976

The first day of Wimbledon got off to a racing start with some compelling matchplay and, most importantly, no disruption from the weather.

In fact, the only need for umbrellas during yesterday's opening round was to shade spectators from the hot sun. This was a particular relief to organisers who last year coped with one of the wettest tournaments in history.

Thousands of fans flocked to SW19 to watch the opening battles of the eagerly-awaited championship, while millions more looked on from home.

The world-famous All England Club is expected to welcome some 500,000 fans through its turnstiles as the cream of the world's tennis talent vie for a coveted Grand Slam title.

While the tennis was well worth watching, visitors also kept themselves entertained by making a start on the 62,000lbs of strawberries expected to be scoffed along with 12,000 pints of cream. The tournament favourite was selling for £2.25 — 25p more than last year.

Spectators on Centre Court watched reigning Wimbledon champ Roger Federer make a promising start to his bid for a sixth consecutive title.

Last year he became the first man to emulate Bjorn Borg by winning five singles titles in a row. Despite a disappointing season for the 26-year-old Swiss so far, he laid down the gauntlet yesterday with a win over Slovakian Dominik Hrbaty.

Fellow number one seed Anna Ivanovic also breezed through to the second round of the women's competition.

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