Rafael Nadal was denied a chance of a first hit on grass by drizzle, which greeted his arrival at London’s Queen’s club event, with the Spaniard unable to train on schedule due to the weather.
Just 24 hours after defeating Robin Soderling 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to claim another title at Roland Garros, Nadal was primed for action as he anticipated getting onto the grass for the first time in a year.
But British weather intervened, with the last of 18 matches interrupted on the day.
“Wimbledon is a tournament I’m very comfortable with,” said Nadal, who won a treble of Roland Garros, Queen’s and Wimbledon in 2008.
“This is my objective. I’ll try and arrive as prepared as possible to play my best Wimbledon ever.” The top eight seeds, with Nadal heading the tournament list, receive first round byes at the elite Wimbledon tune-up.
Novak Djokovic takes the second seeding ahead of holder Andy Murray, with the Scot beginning play against Spaniard Ivan Navarro, who beat Daniel Koellerer of Austria 6-3, 6-4.
In the first round, a pair of players made long-heralded returns, with Richard Gasquet celebrating a 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
Gasquet missed much of 2009 as successfully cleared his name in a doping allegation case. He last played on grass in the fourth round of 2008 Wimbledon. Nishikori underwent elbow surgery and was playing his first ATP match since March, 2009, some 15 months ago.
“I have great sensation and great feelings on the grass court even if I didn’t play here last year,” said Gasquet. “I like to play on this court, for sure.
“I’m happy to win, it’s a good match for me.” Three other seeds advanced, with number 12 Frenchman Michael Llodra leading the way with his defeat of Kazak Andrey Golubev 6-3, 6-2.
Israeli number 14 Dudi Sela beat Australian Chris Guccione, only back recently from a long duration ankle injury recovery, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. The 16th-seed, Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, put out the first of the Brits as he defeated Jamie Baker 6-1, 6-4.
American Robby Ginepri followed up with a win over local player James Ward 6-3, 7-5, while US compatriot beat Ryan Harrison 6-3, 6-3.
South African Kevin Anderson denied Taylor Dent as the American served for victory, but ended up losing 6-7 (7-9), 6-3, 7-5.
German Rainer Schuettler won his first ATP-level match since mid-March, reaching the second round at the expense of Spain’s Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-1, 6-2. Schuettler next plays sixth seed Gael Monfils.