Watson leads Wimbledon charge

Bicester Advertiser: Heather Watson opens her Wimbledon campaign today Heather Watson opens her Wimbledon campaign today

British female number one Heather Watson will begin her Wimbledon campaign today, after Andy Murray's first round victory yesterday ensured Murray mania is back for another year.

And today also sees a host of big names step out onto the courts in SW19 including Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Roger Federer.

Watson will take on Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic, while fellow British hopeful Samantha Murray will take on reigning French Open champion Maria Sharapova - in perhaps the most daunting match-up of the round.

Asked about what she thought of her British opponent at the weekend, Sharapova said: "I don't know much about her. I will try to find some videos, do a little scouting."

Another British player stepping out at the All England Club today is Daniel Smethurst who launches his bid for glory against the USA's John Isner.

Tennis is not the only sport in town this summer though, and the England team are set to play their final World Cup game against Costa Rica tonight in Brazil.

Murray has objected to the notion that the hopes of the nation depend on him winning Wimbledon following England's World Cup disaster.

It was a star-studded family affair for the Scot yesterday with a sell-out crowd on Centre Court that included his parents, grandparents, and a host of celebrities, who looked on as he beat Belgium's David Goffin in the first round.

The sun was out over the All England Club on the opening day of the famous tennis tournament, and tickets sold "quicker than we've seen", according to an official.

With England's footballers set to fly home early from Brazil, hopes are pinned on Murray to make it two in a row following his historic victory last summer against Novak Djokovic.

But the 27-year-old has objected to people asking him about how England's failure means hopes of a second Wimbledon title have been increased.

Asked if he was giving British sports fans something to cheer about, Murray told the press: "No. I'm here to do my thing.

"I don't think that the English football team get asked about me in their press conferences. So I'd appreciate it if that wasn't brought up when I was playing because I'm yet to hear Wayne Rooney talk about my matches at Wimbledon. I don't think it's fair."

Murray will face Slovenian Blaz Rola tomorrow, and Rola admits he does not know what to expect when he takes to Centre Court for the first time, if the match is played there.

He said he thinks he will embrace it, but added: "Hopefully I don't poop my pants and don't play well."

Meanwhile, a cash-strapped British tennis player whose funding was stopped won her first ever match at Wimbledon - after researching how to become an au pair just last year.

Naomi Broady, 24, was suspended from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) in 2007 after a photograph of her standing next to a condom machine on a night out appeared on social networking site Bebo.

The "naughty" tennis player has funded herself since and yesterday's victory means her Wimbledon winnings will be at least £43,000 - putting her in a more attractive position than she was in last summer.

"Last year when I was looking at other things to do, it was specifically because I couldn't fund my tennis. It was, therefore, hindering my tennis and I wasn't getting the best out of it," she said.

Adding: "Well, this time last year I was lucky enough to get a wildcard into the qualifying for Wimbledon. But the week before that, I was researching how to become an au pair, and I was going to go live in another country somewhere.

"I was going for Paris. If you can go anywhere, I was going for Paris. I was looking at doing First Aid courses, language courses, to become an au pair because I couldn't afford to play tennis."

Broady, who fancies treating herself to a Mulberry handbag, said she likes her "bad girl" reputation.

Adding: "So I quite like that people are intrigued by my naughty side which doesn't exist. That's great."

Broady was asked how she feels about people still bringing up the controversial photograph, and she said: "Well, it's my own fault because I haven't done anything since then.

"If I'd had a big win, posted another disgusting picture since, we'd have something else to talk about, but we don't.

"It was clearly a joking picture standing like that next to a condom machine. Didn't even know it was a condom machine."

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