Richard Krajicek, the Dutchman who surprised Pete Sampras and the seeding committee with his victory at the All England Club last July, showed encouraging signs of rehabilitation after surgery to his right knee in December, the latest setback in a career handicapped by injuries.
Seeded No 3 for the $1m Dubai Open, Krajicek negotiated a difficult opening round against India's Leander Paes, a former Wimbledon junior champion, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. A fascinating contest ended tamely, with Paes virtually immobile after straining a stomach muscle during the final set.
Krajicek has a film crew in tow, filming the build-up to his defence of the Wimbledon title. "It's a behind-the-scenes look at life on the circuit and shows the sort of life I lead," he said, underlining his determination to allow nothing to prevent his arrival on the Centre Court at 2pm precisely on 23 June when he added, "Even if I have to swim over the Channel I'll be there.''
Pat Cash is also filming here, using a camcorder to capture memories of his trip. The 1987 Wimbledon champion can be found hauling his own tennis baggage nowadays, a sort of Cash-and-carry with a wild card.
Few leading players have suffered as many injuries as the 31-year-old Australian, currently ranked No 755 in the world, who had one of his best days for ages in defeating Spain's Carlos Costa, 7-6, 7-6.
Relying on doubles matches to sharpen his form in order to gain entry to singles events, Cash was particularly disappointed to be defeated in the first round here when partnering Tim Henman, the British No 1. "I'd been looking forward to playing with Tim for a long time, and we both played like crap," Cash said. "But I've learnt that things can turn around quite quickly. Yesterday I felt like retiring. Today I felt quite good.''
Boris Becker, Wimbledon champion in 1985, '86 and '89, delivered 26 aces yesterday but still had problems overcoming a young compatriot, Marc-Kevin Goellner, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2.
Yesterday, after a confident start, the Becker surprisingly lost a second set tie-break, 7-5, and had to save two break points at 2-2 in the final set.Reuse content