Wimbledon Day 1 matches to watch: Andy Murray returns to Centre Court
LONDON — Here are the storylines and matches to watch on Day 1 of Wimbledon. Play begins on the outer courts at 6:30 a.m. ET and 8:00 a.m. on the three show courts. ESPN begins its coverage at 7:00 a.m. before ESPNews takes over at 11:30 a.m. Click here for the order of play, and see the full TV schedule here.
Andy Murray begins his title defense: Here's the first question-and-answer exchange from Murray's Champions press conference, which was held on Sunday afternoon:
Q. You may have heard there's a football tournament going on in Brazil at the moment, and England hasn't done very well. How does it feel to have the hopes of a despondent nation on your shoulders?
ANDY MURRAY: Wow. (Laughter.)
At least the defending champion could laugh about it. Fifty weeks after ending Great Britain's 77-year drought for a male singles champion, Murray is back with the spotlight firmly on him again. He admits he's nervous and says that's a good thing.
"When you come back to a Grand Slam, there's always nerves and pressure there before you start the event," Murray said. "I feel fairly similar to last year."
Murray will open play on Centre Court at 1:00 pm against David Goffin.
"Tomorrow, I need to enjoy that moment when I walk back on the court," he said. "But as soon as I start playing the match, it's about trying to win. I enjoy winning. That's it. I mean, I don't really want to go out on the court tomorrow and enjoy playing and then lose."
Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens lead the American start: Eleven Americans are in action on Day 1, including Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams, Ryan Harrison, and Sam Querrey. Stephens opens against former top 10 player Maria Kirilenko (first match, Court 18) and should cruise given the Russian's injury woes this season. Now ranked No. 84, Kirilenko has just one main draw win in 2014. Venus plays No. 53 Maria-Teresa Torro Flor (second match, No. 2 Court), Harrison takes on 11th-ranked Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov (second match, Court No. 1), and Querrey plays fellow American Bradley Klahn (fourth match, Court 4).
Matches to watch
Dustin Brown vs Marcos Baghdatis (second match, Court 12): It's the best unseeded match-up of the first round, pitting the athletic and entertaining Brown — who beat Rafael Nadal two weeks ago in Halle — against perennial fan favorite Baghdatis, who earned a wildcard after winning the ATP Challenger tournament in Nottingham two weeks ago. This should be a fun one.
CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Garbine Muguruza  (fourth match, Court 7): Can Vandeweghe carry her form from her maiden title run in 's-Hertogenbosch this weekend to beat the Spaniard for the second time in as many weeks? The American, who will be up to a career-high No. 51 on Monday, beat Muguruza 7-6 (3), 6-1 last week in the Netherlands. We saw how big Muguruza can hit the ball at the French Open when she stunned Serena Williams and took Maria Sharapova to three sets in the quarterfinals, but she's still an unknown presence on grass.
Victoria Azarenka  vs. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (first match, No. 1 Court): The more I look at Azarenka's draw the more I become convinced she can make a solid second week run here, even after coming in with just one match under her belt since Indian Wells. The rust is evident in her match play, but her competitive fire goes a long way in toughing out wins when she's not playing her best. The only time these two played was here at Wimbledon in 2010. Azarenka won 6-3, 6-3.
Grigor Dimitrov  vs. Ryan Harrison (second match, No. 1 Court): It was just a little over two years ago that Harrison was the higher ranked of the two and it was Dimitrov who was struggling to stay inside the top 100. The 22-year-old American is now down to No. 140 but successfully navigated qualifying to earn a main draw look. Once again he's been given a tough first round draw in Queen's champion Dimitrov. Surprisingly, though Dimitrov is just a year older, the two have never played each other on the pro level.
Samantha Stosur  vs. Yanina Wickmayer (first match, No. 3 Court): Stosur split with coach Miles Maclagan last week, a surprising move given her game looked to finally be getting on the right track. Despite a few bad losses, Stosur really is hitting the ball better now than she was a few months ago. The question is whether she believes she can play well on grass. If you listen to her talk about her grass woes, it sure doesn't sound like it.
Steve Johnson vs. Roberto Bautista Agut  (third match, Court 6): This is a big opportunity for Johnson, who's in the midst of the best season of his career. Bautista Agut just won his first title over the weekend in 's-Hertogenbosch and will have just 48 hours to turn around and play his first round match.