Twenty minutes later, at the other end of the All England Club, Serena Williams departed Court 1 with a triumphant grin and a shout of “Whooo!”
And all won.
“I just wanted to play well for my country,” Venus Williams said. “It was just great to be out there.”
She waited an extra day because of rain to begin her bid for a record fourth gold medal in Olympic tennis, then defeated recent French Open runner-up Sara Errani of Italy, 6-3, 6-1.
The U.S. team went 5-0, with John Isner and Varvara Lepchenko also advancing. Isner, seeded 10th, hit 15 aces and reached the third round by beating Malek Jaziri of Tunisia, 7-6 (1), 6-2. Lepchenko completed a rain-interrupted, two-day, first-round win over Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay, 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-2.
Roddick’s victory set up the first showdown of the tournament. As a price for being unseeded, he’ll face 2011 Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic on Tuesday.
“That’s my own fault,” Roddick said. “It’s tough. That’s obviously not an ideal situation, but I’m sure he’s not thrilled about it either.”
Venus Williams, also unseeded, drew a tough first-round foe in Errani, who has won four titles this year and is ranked a career-high No. 9. Williams served well, charged the net aggressively and appeared at ease on the Wimbledon grass, where she has won five of her seven Grand Slam titles.
“I’ve been working really hard on my serve,” she said. “I really haven’t had my serve where I wanted it this year. But I definitely worked a lot on it, so that way it would be a real weapon for me, which is what I’m used to.”
Despite being diagnosed last year with an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue, she began 2012 determined to make the Olympic team. She won the gold in singles at the 2000 Games and teamed with Serena to take the gold in doubles in 2000 and 2008.