Rod Laver dubs Ashleigh Barty "the favourite in every sense"

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Rod Laver dubs Ashleigh Barty "the favourite in every sense"

Grand Slams can host the most thrilling games of the year, produce the greatest fluffy-yellow-balls vibes, and reveal some big surprises. But Majors are also a place where it is easier for the past and present of tennis to mix, for core legends and rising stars to interact.

Wimbledon’s first main draw day led to many thunderbolts, including the early exits of favorites such as Stefanos Tsitsipas and Naomi Osaka, but the Monday sun set on some nice messages to conclude the opening journey.

“Congratulations to the talented Cori Gauff, who made history today as the youngest player since 1991 to win in the first round of women’s singles,” wrote Billie Jean King on Twitter. “Two generations of greatness on the court, and a tremendous win over her idol, Venus Williams”.

Fifteen-year-old Gauff managed to hold her ground and snatch her first Grand Slam win in two 6-4 sets against the five-time Wimbledon champion. The young American will lock horns with 30-year-old Magdalena Rybarikova in the second round.

After King, Australian legend Rod Laver also made his round of compliments to some of his favorite players. Countryman Alexei Popyrin was praised following his 7-6(2) 7-5 6-2 victory over Pablo Carreno-Busta with a short message, “Congratulations Alexei Popyrin - impressive win over a quality player.

Keep going young man. Listen to Pat Cash, he knows how its done!” Later on, the former World No. 1 didn’t miss the occasion to encourage Ashleigh Barty, first seed of the tournament, “Very much looking forward to seeing world No.1, French Open champion and all-round brilliant young Aussie Ashleigh Barty begin her Wimbledon campaign today.

I know you can do the double Ash, one step at a time. You are the favourite in every sense, a true champion. Relish it!” The Aussie got rid of Saisai Zheng 6-4 6-2 to book her place in the second round.