WIMBLEDON — Jodie Burrage toasted a win that should lift her into the top 100 and Liam Broady was grateful for Manchester City’s support as the British contingent got off to a mixed start on Monday.
Five British wildcards took to the courts across Wimbledon before Dan Evans was in action – the British No 2 trails Quentin Halys by two sets with that match resuming Tuesday – and while proceedings started with a defeat for Harriet Dart, both Burrage and Broady enjoyed impressive straight-set wins before Jan Choinski stunned Dusan Lajovic in four.
The rain may have delayed Burrage but she soon made light work of Caty McNally to make it third time lucky at Wimbledon. The 24-year-old had exited in the opening round in her previous two attempts, but the world No 108 was able to build on her run to the Nottingham Open final last month by recording a convincing 6-1, 6-3 win over McNally in just 64 minutes.
It is a win that lifts her into the top 100 in the live rankings, a significant boost ahead of her meeting on Wednesday with No 11 seed Daria Kasatkina.
“I’ll have bigger things to worry about but it would be a pretty cool thing to say I’m in top 100,” said Burrage. “Hopefully it does happen. I’ll work to make sure it does, take the question mark out of it.
“Obviously [Daria] is a great player. She made finals last week in Eastbourne. It’s going to be a very tough match.”
Injuries have hampered Burrage’s progress over the years while more recently uncertainty for rugby-playing partner Ben White has proved difficult, the Scottish international signing for Toulon after London Irish went into administration.
“It’s not been easy,” said Burrage. “His job, he just didn’t have one. It’s just awful for everyone involved. It’s really sad to see the club go under, as well, when you know so many people who aren’t in good positions.
“Fortunately enough, Ben has had a really good opportunity at Toulon. It’s tough because I won’t be going with him. My base is here, my training is here. We’ve always said we’ll do what’s best for our careers.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City fan Broady is used to nail-biters at Wimbledon and so he thoroughly enjoyed his routine 6-1, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Constant Lestienne.
“It was about 20 or 30 minutes before I went on today. City tweeted me. I thought, ‘Oh, God, I’m not going to tweet them now before the match, I’m want to try and get a win, then I can reply.’
“They’re amazing. They’re always so supportive of me. I can remember playing here at the age of 17 and buzzing off them tweeting me. It’s still the same to this day. I absolutely love it.”
Broady boosted his own chances of breaking into the top 100 in the world for the first time and the British No 5 sets up a potential giant-killing against US Open and French Open finalist Casper Ruud, who needed four sets to see off qualifier Laurent Lokoli.
A Norwegian opponent, then, for the player who received a tweet of support from City, with whom Erling Haaland recently won the Treble.
“[Norway] are good at producing great athletes,” Broady said. “Both are beasts in their own right. Haaland, physically a beast; Casper has a beast of a game. He absolutely rips the ball. He’s a physical beast in his own way.
“I think it will be a fantastic opportunity. I mean, I just said a couple minutes ago to one of my friends, ‘This is the reason I play tennis.’ To get these opportunities.
“I’m proud of the fact that I played Andy on Centre Court at Wimbledon. He might have slapped me around for a few hours, but that’s a fantastic thing in my eyes to have been able to have played Andy on Centre.”
Wimbledon results for British players on Day One
- Harriet Dart (WC) loses to Diane Parry 6-7, 6-0, 6-4
- Jodie Burrage (WC) beats Catherine McNally 6-1, 6-3
- Liam Broady (WC) beats Constant Lestienne 6-1, 6-3, 7-5
- Katie Swan (WC) loses to Belinda Bencic 7-5, 6-2
- Jan Choinski (WC) beats Dusan Lajovic 5-7, 7-6, 6-2. 6-2
And on the prospect of a bigger court than Monday’s Court 15, he added: “Look, everybody wants to play Centre Court at Wimbledon. That’s just what it is. It’s like playing a Champions League final. It’s just what you want to do.
“I’d happily play him on Court 12 out in the bullpen, on the outside of Centre Court as well.
“I actually find the outside courts, the atmosphere for me is sometimes better than the bigger courts. I played Court 3 against Diego Schwartzman last year. I’ve never played in an atmosphere like that at Wimbledon, be it Centre Court or Court 1. I don’t know if people have a few more drinks on the outside courts. They get way more stuck in.
“When the crowd does get loud on those courts, it takes your breath away. On the outside courts, consistently, especially for the British players, it’s just amazing.
“I’m playing the No 4 in the world second round of Wimbledon. I’ll play him back up in Stockport if I have to!”
Earlier in the day, Dart fell in three sets to Diane Parry. The former had progressed beyond the first round in two of her four Wimbledon appearances heading into this year’s tournament, but the quality of former junior No 1 Parry eventually saw through, particularly in a whirlwind second set as the 20-year-old prevailed 6-7, 6-0, 6-4.
“I felt pretty poor out there,” Dart said afterwards. “What’s amazing was I had a chance to win playing not great tennis. I still feel like I have so much to improve on.
“I’ve had a really good grass-court season. It’s just disappointing that my worst match of the grass court season came here. Naturally being British, you want to play well here. I just didn’t really get going. She also made it tricky for me. Credit to her, she played better tennis than me today.”
Elsewhere, Choinski, ranked 167 in the world, sprung an upset on Court 17 when recovering from a set down to beat Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic 5-7, 7-6, 6-2. 6-2.
German-born Choinski faces No 17 seed Hubert Hurkacz next as he looks to defy the rankings once more, with Lajovic the current No 56.
Katie Swan suffered a fourth consecutive first-round exit at Wimbledon with the world No 147 no match for Olympic champion Belinda Bencic.
Despite sending down 11 aces, Swan lost a narrow first set before No 14 seed Bencic wrapped up a 7-5, 6-2 win.
Andy Murray, Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter are among the Brits in action on Tuesday.