There were contrasting fortunes on Monday at the All England Club for the last two women to win the Wimbledon singles title. While 2022 winner Elena Rybakina eased through to the second round, defending champion Marketa Vondrousova was bundled out in her Centre Court return by Spain's Jessica Bouzas Maneiro.

Vondrousova is just the fourth Wimbledon champion to lose in the first round of their title defense all-time, and second woman: Steffi Graf lost her first match in 1994 to Lori McNeil, a former Top 10 player, after winning three straight titles from 1991-93.

But there were unknowns around Vondrousova when she arrived at SW19, as she entered her title defense with questions about her physical health. After reaching the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, where she was beaten by eventual champion Iga Swiatek, Vondrousova played a match and 10 games of grass-court tennis ahead of Wimbledon; leading 5-3 in her second-round match against eventual finalist Anna Kalinskaya in Berlin, Vondrousova slipped and fell, hurting her hip, and retired two games later.

She attempted to assuage those concerns in her pre-tournament press conference on Sunday, telling reporters that she felt "fine" after the "scary" episode, and "had couple of great practices here."

But alarm bells rang early for the Czech in her first competitive action at SW19 this year: She double-faulted three times in the opening game to drop serve, and the trend continued throughout. She double-faulted seven times, looked hindered at points in her movement, and was broken five times in the 6-4, 6-2 defeat.

Vondrousova is just the second woman to lose in the first round of her Wimbledon title defense in the Open Era.

Vondrousova is just the second woman to lose in the first round of her Wimbledon title defense in the Open Era.


Post-match, Vondrousova admitted she thought that she was more affected mentally than physically in the match. The first woman in the Open Era to win Wimbledon unseeded last year, she admitted that the pressure that came with a role reversal proved difficult for her to manage.

"I was a bit scared because of my leg, too. But I don't think that was the reason. I felt the nervous from the start," Vondrousova said. "She was playing a good match, too. Yeah, I didn't feel at my best. I think she didn't gave me many points for free, too. So credits to her, too."

"I feel like even if you, like, don't want to think about it, you just think about it, I don't know, all the time here. I see posters here and everything, my name everywhere," she added.


The historic victory is also notable in world No.83 Bouzas Maneiro’s personal annals: It marks her first main-draw win across all Grand Slams, a first tour-level win on grass, and her first career Top 10 win. Earlier this year, the 21-year-old scored her first WTA main-draw victory against former world No. 2 Paula Badosa in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open, and won over the Centre Court crowd with a fearless mindset and earnest post-match interview.

Playing in just her second Wimbledon, Bouzas Maneiro dubbed the moment "one of the most important moments of [her] life."

"The atmosphere here, the tournament, is one of the most beautiful tournaments that I've ever played in my entire life," she said.

Vondrousova racked up 28 unforced errors in 67 minutes on court, double the total of Bouzas Maneiro.


Elsewhere, Rybakina overcame a scratchy start to finish strong. She dropped serve to start the match against qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse with three groundstroke errors and a double fault, and trailed 3-1 in the opening set.

But the fourth-seeded Kazakh, who, like Vondrousova, retired in Berlin (due to illness) had no plans of losing a similar stunner. She won 11 of the last 12 games in an eventual 6-3, 6-1 romp.