British No. 1 Cameron Norrie started his Wimbledon season with a four-set win over tricky Czech youngster Tomas Machac.
The 27-year-old, who reached the semifinals here last year, dropped the second set but recorded a 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win under the roof on Court One.
Machac, ranked No. 108 in the world, made his Wimbledon debut and played the first Tour-level grass match of his career.
Still, the 22-year-old was a dangerous first-round opponent, beating Norrie’s compatriot Dan Evans in the Davis Cup and leading Novak Djokovic to a tiebreak in the deciding set earlier in the year.
There was no drama for Norrie in the opening set, however, as he secured a break to make it 3-2 and another to finish.
The No. 12 seed still wears the tape on his knee that he wore throughout the Queen’s tournament, but whatever the problem, it didn’t bother him unduly.
But things turned around in the second minute when Norrie twice pointed an accusing finger at the turf after misreading the ball’s bounce and threw his forehand into the net before Machac equalized.
But in the third, Norrie got back on track and secured a double break to secure the set in just 24 minutes.
He grabbed an early break in the fourth set with a forehand that left a ailing Machac at the baseline.
More break points went back and forth but it was Norrie who managed a stick to secure an encouraging win in two hours and 32 minutes.
“For the past two years I’ve waited in the rain,” Norrie said. “So it was nice to have a run last year and then be able to play on this pitch.”
“It’s nice to have made it and get the first one out of the way.”
Evans was KO’d by Halys despite fighting back | British goals break away from tennis
Dan Evans admitted taking a break from tennis for a while would help him get over another disappointment in the first round at Wimbledon.
The British number 2 was eliminated at the first hurdle for the fifth time in eight main round games after a 6:2, 6:3, 6:7 (5:7), 6:4 defeat by Frenchman Quentin Halys.
Evans was knocked out in round one by Australia’s Jason Kubler last year and quickly found himself in his accustomed position of two sets down at the All England Club on Monday but had to return on Tuesday to complete his match.
Rain caused another delay and when all off-field games were canceled Evans relocated to Center Court where he suffered a setback.
But there would be no nighttime exploits if Halys could secure his second-round spot with a booming forehand winner.
“I think now it’s important to spend time with family and friends. Tennis won’t be on my agenda for a while,” Evans said after a disappointing season on the pitch.
“You know, it’s been a long six or seven months, whatever it is. It’s important to re-energize and prepare for a good swing in America, which I’m enjoying, but it’s also important to rest. Yeah, that’s all I do.” I’m really going to work for a while and then start all over again.
“I think it’s important to switch off completely now. You know, it’s important to keep your distance sometimes, to have a bit of a normal life and to escape life out of the suitcase for a longer period of time.”
World No. 30 Evans couldn’t explain his poor performance on Monday against a player who didn’t make his Wimbledon debut until 2022.
After waiting all day to begin his comeback, Evans prevailed in the tiebreaker of the third set, much to the delight of those still in attendance on Center Court.
It was hard for the Birmingham right-hander to nab break points and when he got a chance in game seven of the fourth set, Evans sent his forehand wide and Halys clinched the win with his first match point, inflicting a seventh loss in eight for the 33-year-old home favourite.
Evans added: “I haven’t done anything differently so yes it’s disappointing but you know there are good players out there. I think it’s everyone’s fault for having an opinion on certain players who should be beaten and who shouldn’t be beaten.”
“I think when the draw was announced I must have received so many messages saying ‘Quentin Halys is a clay-court player’. It’s very easy to overlook people.”
“These are all good players on tour and you have to put them down, that’s what I’m trying to do, but if I lose, which is what I am at the moment, you know – I wouldn’t say I hit a wall.” . It’s frustrating, it’s annoying, it’s whatever.
“But I’m not sure what else can be done. You just have to keep competing. It’s not good training, I’ve tried that. I’ve tried knocking out Eastbourne, and knocking out Nottingham, and first round, first round, it’s incredibly frustrating.
Evans hasn’t dropped out of the top 40 since 2020 and is hoping to bounce back for the US hard court swing in August.
After parting ways with Sebastian Prieto last month, he will have to spend some of the next few weeks fleshing out his coaching staff.
“I’ll have to see that,” Evans admitted. “You know I’m going to leave after tonight incredibly frustrated, work hard and then hit a double at 30.”
“But like I said, it’s important to switch off. When I feel like it’s right, I start thinking about it.”