LONDON — In just his third Wimbledon tournament, Carlos Alcaraz is already one of the main men to beat.
The top-seeded Spanish player hasn’t been past the fourth round at the All England Club, but he has become the primary threat in Novak Djokovic’s quest for a record-equaling eighth men’s title at the grass-court Grand Slam.
On Tuesday, Alcaraz beat Jeremy Chardy 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 on Court 1 — a fitting location for the No. 1 player in the world.
The match was played under the roof because rain affected play on the outside courts for the second straight day.
“Obviously without the roof, with sun, is much better for me. I think for everyone as well,” Alcaraz said on court. “With the roof or not, I have to show my best level.”
His best led Alcaraz to his first major title at the US Open last year. He reached the final at this year’s French Open, but Djokovic ended up winning his 23rd Grand Slam title in that match.
At Wimbledon, Alcaraz reached the second round in 2021, playing as a wild card. He made the fourth round last year and came into this tournament after winning the grass-court title at Queen’s Club and returning to the No. 1 ranking.
Chardy, 36, who was playing at Wimbledon for the 14th time and at his 56th major overall, planned to retire from the sport after this tournament.
After losing the first two sets, Chardy put up a fight in the third, going up 4-2 before Alcaraz buckled down again to finish off his opponent in a shade under two hours, sealing victory with a 10th ace.
While Alcaraz was taking care of business, Roger Federer was being celebrated on his return to Centre Court in the Royal Box.
“After the match I was on the phone checking everything I have, all the stories, all the posts. I saw that Federer was here. I was a little bit jealous,” a beaming Alcaraz told reporters.
“Honestly, I want him to watch one of my matches obviously. I wish to talk a little bit with him. That would be amazing.”
Federer was on hand to watch former rival Andy Murray notch a 6-3, 6-0, 6-1 victory over wild-card entry Ryan Peniston in an all-Brit first-round match.
“It’s amazing to have Roger here, supporting the event,” Murray said. “Last time I was on this court, and he was watching, was during the (2012) Olympics, and he sat in [Swiss countryman] Stan Wawrinka’s box and was supporting against me. So it was nice to see a couple of claps today after some good shots.”
Another Brit, 12th-seeded Cameron Norrie also won Tuesday beating Tomas Machac 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Because of the wet weather, the only courts where play was allowed after the rain began on Day 2 were the two with retractable roofs, Centre and No. 1. So by 8 p.m., only six of 77 scheduled matches had been completed and most of the others already had been postponed.
Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.
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