Venus crashes out in Wimbledon first round
June 25, 2012 — Updated 1625 GMT (0025 HKT)
- Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams suffers first-round loss
- Williams loses 6-1 6-3 to Russia’s Elena Vesnina but quashes retirement talk
- Early victories in women’s draw for Maria Sharapova and China’s Li Na
- Qualifier Carmila Giorgi beats Italian compatriot and No. 16 seed Flavia Pennetta 6-4 6-3
(CNN) — Five-time champion Venus Williams went out in the opening round of Wimbledon for the first time as she slumped to a 6-1 6-3 loss to Russia’s Elena Vesnina.
The former world number one started the match with two double faults and was never able to match the energy of Vesnina, ranked 79 in the world.
Williams came into the match on the back of her toughest year in tennis following a six-month break battling Sjogren’s Syndrome, an incurable autoimmune disease that causes chronic fatigue and joint pain.
She was unseeded at the All England Club for the first time since her debut in 1997, having dropped to 58 in the world rankings.
However, Venus quashed talk of retirement following the defeat.
“There’s no way I’m going to give up. I love this sport,” the American said in her post-match press conference.
“I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. The only thing I can do is be positive.”
Andy Murray’s secret weapon
Kvitova and Navratilova’s Wimbledon
Who will taste Wimbledon glory?
Williams was the most high-profile casualty so far of an opening day in which most of the women’s seeds came through unscathed.
Current world No. 1 Maria Sharapova, fresh from her victory at the French Open earlier this month, began her assault on the title she won as a teenager in 2004 with a 6-2 6-3 win over Australian Anastasia Rodionova.
The No. 3 seed, Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland, wasted little time in wrapping up a 6-3 6-3 win over Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova.
Australia’s Samantha Stosur, the No. 5 seed, beat Carla Suarez Navarro, from Spain, 6-1 6-3.
China’s Li Na, the 2011 French Open champion, quickly wrapped up a 6-3 6-1 win over Ksenia Pervak from Kazakhstan while Sabine Lisicki, the German No. 15 seed, recorded a 6-4 6-2 victory over Petra Martic.
One upset of the afternoon came courtesy of Italian qualifier Carmila Giorgi, who beat compatriot and No. 16 seed Flavia Pennetta 6-4 6-3.
Part of complete coverage on
June 25, 2012 — Updated 1645 GMT (0045 HKT)
Britain hosts a sporting event which combines every stereotype associated with the nation — rain, royalty and heroic British failure.
June 22, 2012 — Updated 1943 GMT (0343 HKT)
Open Court looks at the build up to this summer showdown for the men and women’s titles.
June 22, 2012 — Updated 1934 GMT (0334 HKT)
Champions Martina Navratilova and Petra Kvitova take CNN for an exclusive tour of the Wimbledon courts.
CNN’s Paul Gittings says the odds are stacked against Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova both defending their Wimbledon titles.
June 19, 2012 — Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
David Nalbandian prompted a police investigation with his act of frustration at Queen’s Club, continuing a long line of tennis stars who lose it on court.
June 8, 2012 — Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Michael Chang is the youngest winner of a grand slam, but his French Open triumph in 1989 is largely remembered for one extraordinary moment.
June 9, 2012 — Updated 1943 GMT (0343 HKT)
Maria Sharapova overpowers Sara Errani to win the French Open at Roland Garros for the first time and complete a career grand slam.
May 29, 2012 — Updated 1341 GMT (2141 HKT)
In 2005, Brian Baker was one of the rising stars of American tennis. Seven years later he is resurrecting his career after an injury nightmare.
May 25, 2012 — Updated 1546 GMT (2346 HKT)
You don’t get any prizes for guessing that Maria Sharapova is the world’s highest-earning female athlete. But second place is more of a surprise.
May 24, 2012 — Updated 1743 GMT (0143 HKT)
Maria Sharapova is focused on completing a coveted career grand slam of titles, but she already has plans for her next off-court project.
February 14, 2012 — Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
The life of a tennis professional is tough, but the rewards are plentiful — and not just in a financial sense.
May 11, 2012 — Updated 2124 GMT (0524 HKT)
It’s been called “something Smurfs would play on” and labeled a danger to players. Why are tennis stars so upset with Madrid’s blue clay?
April 27, 2012 — Updated 0917 GMT (1717 HKT)
She lives in Monaco, and she honed her skills in Marbella and Arizona — but world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka was most definitely made in Minsk.
April 25, 2012 — Updated 1644 GMT (0044 HKT)
Lower-ranked players will earn more than ever at Wimbledon this year after the “Big Four” of men’s tennis helped negotiate a pay rise.
March 30, 2012 — Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
U.S. tennis legend Pete Sampras chats with CNN’s Open Court show host Pat Cash about his remarkable career and the modern game.
Today’s five most popular stories