Cachin and Cerundolo, the underdogs: two Argentinians play in Centre Court for the first time on Day 1
LONDON – For the first time in its 101 years of history, Centre Court will host two Argentinians on Wimbledon’s opening day. Pedro Cachin and Juan Manuel Cerúndolo will be able to say that they experienced that privilege on the frenetic Day 1 of Wimbledon. Both “invited” there because of the status of their rivals: Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner.
The defending champion is in charge of opening the action every year in the theater of tennis. Djokovic, who recognized the grass of Centre Court in 2023 precisely against Sinner during an entertaining practice connected with AirPods, will start this Monday his path to the records.
The Serb has in his sights two targets with a full name: Margaret Court and Roger Federer. The recent Roland Garros champion is hunting the all time record of 24 titles of Grand Slams, only in hands of the Australian; and also he could equal the eight Wimbledon crowns of the Swiss.
Very hungry, he will start that route against the Argentinian Pedro Cachin, who after realizing that the draw put him next to the top favorite, tweeted with humor: “VAMOS, the positive side of this match is that they will no longer put CACHIN with an accent on the I. Add positive things I read you”.
Cachin means that the anglo organization will show the surname to the world without misspellings, since the phonetics leads to confusion among Spanish-speakers, who tend to write a tilde (an accent) that doesn’t exist in English grammar, and neither in his last name.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club confirmed to CLAY that only once before in history, an Argentine (man or woman) inaugurated the action in Centre Court. It was in 1986, when an 18-year-old Boris Becker started the road to his second title in London against Eduardo Bengoechea, who became the 21st best player in the worlds ranking the following year.
In the third round, after the match between the five-time champion Venus Williams and the Ukrainian Elena Svitolina, Juan Manuel Cerúndolo will be the underdog against the Italian Sinner. Perhaps, the tennis player nicknamed “La Compu” for his “cerebral” way of playing (as a computer), finds inspiration in his brother Francisco to try to beat one of the favourites.
The eldest of the Cerúndolo family arrived at Church Road as the Eastbourne champion. Guillermo Vilas was not the last South American champion on grass, no. In 1995 Javier Frana lifted the trophy in Nottingham.
Opening photo: Juan Manuel Cerúndolo // CÓRDOBA OPEN