Three Stars: Day 1

Monday June 20th, 2011

Veteran Jelena Dokic (above) fought valiantly in a three-set loss to sixth-seeded Francesca Schiavone on Monday's opening day at Wimbledon. (AP)

WIMBLEDON, England -- Here's a look at three players who distinguished themselves Monday at SW19.

1. Jelena Dokic, in a tie with the woman who beat her on Centre Court, Francesca Schiavone. The fans here are well aware of Dokic's story, a litany of heartbreak, physical abuse and the fact that Damir Dokic -- from whom she is estranged -- might be the most reviled tennis father of them all. Having admittedly fought depression, and a ranking that sank as low as 621, Jelena has fought back to No. 40 through sheer determination, and I'm not sure anyone in women's tennis strikes a flat, cross-court backhand with as much power. It took everything in Schiavone's power to pull out a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 win.

2. Rafael Nadal. There are few sights more inspiring than the men's defending champion strolling onto Centre Court, at precisely 1 p.m., to christen the tournament. It's a time for a storied performer to show his worth, refresh some sweet memories, and Nadal didn't disappoint in his 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win over American Michael Russell, who fought like a terrier for a while but couldn't withstand the sheer brutality of Nadal's assault. 3. The Centre Court roof. When a rainstorm forced a third-set delay in the Schiavone-Dokic match, it meant the roof would be employed for only the fourth time since it opened in 2009. As a journalist enamored with Wimbledon tradition, I ridiculed the  idea as it progressed through the planning stage, but it represents a powerful -- and necessary -- tool of modern technology. For my money, not a bit of atmosphere is lost when the roof is closed.

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