problem, missing the U.S. Open and Australian Open. Since returning to action
this year, he had made it to the finals of all nine tournaments he entered,
After winning the French Open, Nadal pulled out of a grass-court tuneup in Halle, Germany. He came to Wimbledon without any serious grass-court preparation.
"The opponent played well," Nadal said. "I had my chances. I didn't make it. So in grass (it's) difficult to adapt yourself, to adapt your game. When you don't have the chance to play before, I didn't have that chance this year, is tougher. I didn't find my rhythm."
Ten years after his first Wimbledon championship, Federer opened play on Centre Court as defending champion and looked right as home as he dismantled Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-3, 6-2, 6-0.
This was a grass-court clinic lasting 68 minutes. Federer had 32 winners, seven aces and just six unforced errors. He won 90 percent of the points when he put his first serve in. When his serve is clicking, Federer usually is unbeatable. On this day, he won his first 15 service points and 24 out of the first 25.
"I'm happy to get out of there early and quickly," Federer said. "So it was a perfect day."
Last year, Federer equaled Pete Sampras and William Renshaw with seven Wimbledon titles. He is now contending to become the first man to win the tournament eight times, which would bring his total of Grand Slam titles to 18.
Federer came out wearing a white collared jacket with orange trim, then quickly got down to business. He never faced a break point and broke six times.
Federer has a habit of making things look easy. And so it was in the opening game when, stranded at the net, he reached behind him for a reflex forehand volley that landed in for a winner. In the third set, Federer lifted a perfect backhand lob over the 6-foot-6 Hanescu for a break and a 5-0 lead.
Another Wimbledon champion, 2002 winner Lleyton Hewitt, displayed his grass-court prowess by upending 11th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka 6- 4, 7-5, 6-3. In a match that finished in fading light on Court 1, the 32-year-old Australian fell to his knees at the baseline, then jumped and pumped his fist as if he had just won the tournament.
Playing his 15th consecutive Wimbledon and his 57th Grand Slam overall, Hewitt has bounced back from various injuries and reached the semifinals at Queen's Club to serve notice he is still dangerous.
"I know that I can still play the game," he said. "I compete against the best guys. I play well in the big tournaments. That's why I'm still playing."
Murray, the U.S. Open champion who again tries to become the first British man to win the trophy since Fred Perry in 1936, got off to a strong start with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 win over Benjamin Becker of Germany.
"It was a tough start for me. He is a very good grass player," Murray said. "I was ready and to win in three sets was a good start. There's always nerves at the start of a Grand Slam and I'm glad to get it out of the way and hopefully I can improve as it goes on."
It was Murray's first match on Centre Court since he beat Federer on the grass for the gold medal at last year's London Olympics - a month after losing to Federer in the Wimbledon final. The two could meet in the semifinals this year.
The weather was mostly cloudy but dry for the beginning of the two-week championships. Among those in the Royal Box were former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Pippa Middleton, the younger sister of Prince William's wife, Kate.
In women's play, there was an early upset as fifth-seeded Sara Errani was eliminated by Puerto Rican teenager Monica Puig 6-3, 6- 2.
Puig slugged 38 winners in overwhelming Errani in the first match on Court 18. The 19-year-old Puig, playing her first grass-court tournament as a pro, completely outplayed the Italian veteran with her hard-hitting baseline game.
Puig said she has been building on a recent run of success, including a third-round showing at the French Open.
"Definitely pulling off some big career wins and not being afraid to close out matches, which was my problem at the beginning of the year," she said. "Finally just having the confidence to close them out."
In other women's matches, second-seeded Victoria Azarenka overcame a right knee injury from a scary fall beating Maria Joao Koehler of Portugal 6-1, 6-2.
Azarenka screamed in pain after slipping and falling at the baseline in the second game of the second set. She sobbed on court and received medical treatment.
Playing the rest of the match with a heavy wrap on her right knee, Azarenka limped noticeably but managed to win comfortably against an opponent making her Wimbledon debut.
"I was in such pain at the beginning, it wouldn't let go," Azarenka said. "I think it calmed down."
Third-seeded Maria Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion, came through a first-set tiebreaker and beat 37th-ranked Kristina Mladenovic of France 7-6 (5), 6-3.
Sharapova drew attention over the weekend by delivering a sharp news-conference rebuke to Serena Williams over critical comments attributed to the top-seeded American in a recent magazine article. Sharapova swatted away questions about the feud Monday.
"I've said everything that I wanted to say about the issue," she said. "Wimbledon started. This is my work. This is my job. I'd really appreciate it if we move on."
Other women's winners Monday included No. 9 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 12 Ana Ivanovic and No. 16 Jelena Jankovic.
Advancing among the men were No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 10 Marin Cilic, No. 15 Nicolas Almagro and No. 18 John Isner. Janko Tiparevic, seeded No. 14, lost to fellow Serb Viktor Troicki, 6-3, 6- 4, 7-6 (5).
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