On Court One, the Dutchman Paul Haarhuis declined to shake hands with the umpire after losing to Michael Chang, 6-4, in a fifth set carried over from Monday because of bad light, and on Court Three there was an echo of yesteryear when a couple of McEnroe expletives were directed at an official.
Though the headband and aggressive swagger were familiar, the voice belonged to the younger McEnroe, the normally quiet, undemonstrative Patrick. Not here. The New Yorker became so angry about perceived errors in the line calling while losing to Britain's Chris Bailey, 7-5, 7-5, 7-5, that twice he let fly at the umpire, Michael Rice, of South Africa, with the F-word.
Having survived without so much as a warning, McEnroe used the word 'sucks' to express his feelings about another call in the penultimate game and then told the umpire: 'You don't know what the hell's going on.' The American promptly double- faulted, and Bailey served out the match to join four male compatriots in the second round.
'I might have used some bad language, but I didn't feel I directed it towards him (the umpire),' McEnroe said. 'I don't remember exactly what I said, but I know I said he was gutless. I felt like things weren't going my way, and the other guy played better than I did. That's the bottom line. It's not fun to lose in the first round at Wimbledon. You like to do better.'
John McEnroe was fined dollars 10,000 after an ITN microphone picked up seven expletives he fired towards a linesman in the space of 13 minutes at Wimbledon in 1991. It will be interesting to see if Patrick's comments overheard by BBC viewers will incur a fine.
The leading ladies, meanwhile, were going about their 100th championship in a brisk, sporting manner: Graf dispatched Kirrily Sharpe, an Australian qualifier, 6-0, 6-0; Martina Navratilova dismissed another Australian, Michelle Jaggard-Lai, 6-2, 6-2; and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario accounted for Radka Zrubakova, from Slovakia, 6-1, 6-1. These matches were completed in a total of two hours 23 minutes.
It was altogether more hectic for Goran Ivanisevic. The player who was runner-up to Andre Agassi after hitting 206 aces last year, struggled for five sets to subdue Jonathan Stark, an American ranked No 52 in the world. Along the way, the Croat received a code violation for a verbal obscenity on set point in the second set.
'My friend the linesman called me a foot fault again and again, every time I made an ace,' Ivanisevic said. 'Then I told him something to say hello to his mother and father. But I was happy with the way I won that match, because I need a match like this. This is important, to fight until the last point.'
Stark had four break points at 4-4 in the fifth set, but the tall left-hander escaped, aided by aces 26 and 27. He then broke his opponent with his second match point to win, 6-4, 5-7, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4.
'It doesn't matter who you play,' Ivanisevic said, 'this is Wimbledon. Stark is a very good player on grass, especially for the first round. After the game on
4-4, love-40, which I won, I said, 'Now is my chance'. He missed a couple of first serves, and I hit two good returns and then it was match point.'
Two other leading contenders also played their way into the tournament the hard way. Boris Becker, fourth seed and three times champion, was tested by the pounding shots of Marc Goellner, a 22-year-old compatriot, and was relieved to advance, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Pete Sampras, the top seed, put his reputation and an injured shoulder on the line against Neil Borwick, an Australian ranked No 121, and survived, 6-7, 6-3,
Goellner, who came to attention by defeating Stefan Edberg and Ivan Lendl on consecutive days to win the Nice Open on clay in April, finished the first set against Becker in spectacular fashion. He double-faulted for
0-15, and then delivered four aces in a row.
'After the first set I think he turned his motor on,' Goellner said. 'I just tried my best. It just didn't work out the way I thought it would work out, but it was fun. Playing Boris on the Centre Court was great. He said once in a German interview that it was his living room, and I've always wanted to play him in his living room.'
Becker thought that his visitor was beginning to outstay his welcome. 'I have played here so many times, and he's played the first match of his life on the Centre Court and played a solid match,' he said.
'He has an excellent serve, and good shots from the back. After 10 or 15 minutes I didn't think he was nervous at all. I would say that his volleys are not that solid. Sometimes he was hitting the balls way out. I would say that his best game is more hard court or clay court.'
Sampras described his experience yesterday as 'like walking into an exam without studying'. The shoulder injury which developed last week had cast doubts in his mind. 'I didn't feel like I was really prepared,' he said. 'I didn't play well at Queen's, and I hardly practised at all last week. I came out today and was a bit apprehensive. It was a really good match to get under my belt and I hope my tennis will get better as the tournament goes on.'
He was a bit jumpy yesterday. At 4-2 in the opening set he allowed himself to become distracted by a rustle in the crowd. This turned out to be a Chelsea Pensioner opening a bag of sweets.
The world No 1 remains concerned about the injury. 'I'm going to do everything I can to prevent it from really flaring up,' he said. 'This is a new injury. I've had some arm trouble in the past, but I've never really had trouble with my shoulder. Today I felt fine. I felt I served really well, but I wasn't going for an ace on every serve like I usually do.'
In the second round, Sampras plays Jamie Morgan, another Australian - the one who defeated Edberg at Queen's and also held four match points against Michael Stich.
The 22-year-old Sydneysider gives the impression of being one of the most laid-back players on the tour. 'When I get nervous my character gets flat,' he said. 'I just don't show my emotions. The thrill of winning is not as intense as losing, if you know what I mean.'
Would he be surprised if he defeated Sampras at Wimbledon? 'No,' he said, flatly.
Thomas Muster of Austria, the No 16 seed, maintained his record of never having won a match at Wimbledon as he fell in straight sets to Olivier Delaitre of France. And in the women's singles, Mary Pierce, the 13th seed, withdrew from the tournament with flu.Reuse content