Marinko Matosevic v (18) Fernando Verdasco (Spain)
Bernard Tomic v Evgeny Donskoy (Russia)
Sam Groth v (21) Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine)
Luke Saville v Dominic Thiem (Austria)
While Marion Bartoli retired 40 days after winning her first grand slam title so unexpectedly last year, Andy Murray returns to deafening applause to defend what a British man has not previously owned since Fred Perry in 1936. Back surgery last September was disruptive, but a French Open semi-final encouraging, and the circus surrounding his appointment of coach Amelie Mauresmo - a woman, gasp! - has made for an entertaining build-up to the Scot’s Monday opening of the centre court program against Belgian David Goffin.
Novak Djokovic believes Murray will be feeling less pressure, having finally won the seemingly unwinnable, but more of another kind in the different role that is a title defence. ''Knowing Andy and the experience he has, I think he mentally a matured a lot in the last couple [of] years,'' Djokovic said. ''Winning the Olympic Games and Wimbledon definitely helped his character, helped his mental strength, and I think he shouldn't feel that too much.''
The top seed
Serena Williams’ half of the draw is not scheduled until Tuesday, and Williams herself will not play on centre court because of the curious discretionary decision to nominate 2014 runner-up Sabine Lisicki as Bartoli’s you-get-the-honour replacement, but that’s another story. Djokovic is the top men’s seed, elevated above world No.1 Rafa Nadal using the All England Club’s quaint grass court formula - for men only, but where are the gasps? - and the 2011 champion starts against Kazakh Andrey Golubev, wary of the potential for early round upsets that manifested on the one-month-a-year-surface in 2013.
''I feel like there is a new wave of players, especially the younger generation, like Dimitrov and Raonic and Nishikori, Tomic, those kind of players, that have proven before that they can win against the top guys in the big events,'' Djokovic said. ''This can easily happen here. Grass is a very rare surface in our sport. There is only [a] few weeks in the year that we play on this surface. So especially for the top players, for us who haven't played a lead-up event, who don't have a few official matches under the belt, it's going to take us some time to get into match play on this surface … That's where it gets very dangerous, especially in the opening rounds.''
The talking point (still)
Female coaches (see Mauresmo, above). Marinko Matosevic was being his usual unfiltered self when he said he would never employ a female coach because, well, he really doesn’t rate women’s tennis. The previous British champion, Virginia Wade, went as far as saying she thought the news must have been a joke. ''I thought they were all fooling around,'' said Wade, the 1977 champion. ''I think again (Murray) is maybe trying to mess with everybody.'' Djokovic was more diplomatic on Saturday when he described as ''interesting'' the unconventional appointment, admitting he was unsure how well it would all work out. Earlier, the now-notorious Matosevic opinion was relayed to both Serena Williams, who said Murray had the right to decide on any coach of his choosing, and Maria Sharapova, who was more expansive.
''I certainly heard his comments,'' said Sharapova of the colourful Victorian subsequently labelled ''pig-headed'' by the usually benign Sam Stosur. ''I think it's great from Andy's part. I had my fair amount of trouble playing against (Mauresmo). I think she's a very knowledgeable player, knowledgeable person. Ever since she's retired, she's been around the game for so many years from a men's and women's perspective. It's great to see her be his coach.''