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Spain's Jessica Bouzas Maneiro returns the ball to Czech Republic's Marketa Vondrousova during their women's singles tennis match on the second day of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on Tuesday. Image Credit: AFP

London: Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday became the first defending women's Wimbledon champion to lose in the first round for 30 years as Andy Murray ran out of time in his fitness race.

Czech sixth seed Vondrousova went down 6-4, 6-2 to Spain's unheralded Jessica Bouzas Maneiro in 66 minutes.

Vondrousova is only the second defending champion to lose in the first round at the All England Club in the Open Era.

The only other time it has happened was 30 years ago, when Lori McNeil defeated three-time defending champion Steffi Graf in the 1994 opening round.

World No 83 Bouzas Maneiro, playing in only the third Grand Slam main draw of her career, broke her opponent five times in the match under the roof on Centre Court.

Until Tuesday she had never defeated a top-40 player, while her only other grass-court match this year was a first-round loss in a low-key event in Italy.

Vondrousova, who said she was wary in her first match since she hurt her hip at last month's Berlin grass-court tournament, struggled to impose her serve and made 28 unforced errors.

"Practice was fine and everything," said the Czech. "Today I was a bit scared because of my leg too. But I don't think that was the reason. I felt nervous from the start."

She added: "It's tough to go out defending the title."

It was a different story for 2022 champion Elena Rybakina, who cantered past Romania's Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3, 6-1, turning the game on its head with a run of nine straight games.

Women's fifth seed Jessica Pegula raced through her match against US compatriot Ashlyn Krueger in 49 minutes, losing just two games.

Murray withdrawal

On the men's side, Murray's camp confirmed he was not fit enough to play singles at his final Wimbledon as Novak Djokovic prepared to launch his bid for a record-equalling eighth men's crown.

The withdrawal of two-time champion Murray means Djokovic is the only member of the fabled "Big Four" in the men's draw at the All England Club.

Roger Federer has retired and Rafael Nadal opted to skip Wimbledon to prepare for a shot at another Olympic title.

Murray, 37, is hoping to end his stellar career at the upcoming Paris Games but desperately wanted to make a final singles appearance at Wimbledon, where he was champion in 2013 and 2016.

The Scot, who has been ravaged by injuries in recent years, will still play doubles with his brother Jamie in what is bound to be an emotional farewell in front of his adoring British fans.

Murray underwent surgery to remove a cyst from his back last month after being forced to pull out of Queen's, a procedure he described as "not insignificant".

But he admitted defeat in his race to be fit on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, despite working incredibly hard on his recovery since his operation just over a week ago, Andy has taken the very difficult decision not to play the singles this year," said a statement from Murray's representatives.

He was replaced in the draw by Belgium's David Goffin, a lucky loser from qualifying.

Djokovic, born a week apart from Murray in May 1987, had a knee operation after pulling out before his French Open quarter-final - sparking fears he would not be fit in time for Wimbledon.

But the Serbian world No 2, who was beaten by Carlos Alcaraz in last year's final, has said he is "pain-free" and opens against Czech qualifier Vit Kopriva.

He knows time is not on his side as he bids to equal Federer's Wimbledon title record and become the first player - man or woman - to win 25 Grand Slam singles titles.

"I do have something that is described as a feeling of not missing out at a Grand Slam while I can still play and while I'm still active and at this level," said Djokovic, who has reached the past five finals at the All England Club.

Also in action on the second day of the Championships is women's world No 1 and five-time Grand Slam champion Iga Swiatek, eager to progress beyond the quarter-finals for the first time.

Swiatek, 23, who arrives at the All England Club on the back of a 19-match winning streak, takes on American Sofia Kenin.