Standing 5ft 9 inches, Jesse Levine hardly cuts an imposing figure. But what the 20-year-old lacks in height, he more than makes up for with a big heart and a decent amount of talent.
The left-hand baseliner has fond memories of Wimbledon where he won the junior doubles title in 2005. His route to his first singles tournament at the event was somewhat tougher as the 21-year-old made the first round draw via four qualifying matches.
And after dropping the first set, he raised his game against fellow American Donald Young to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. “I breezed into a 3-0 lead in the first set, then my body realised where I was,” Levine explained. “I was nervous walking on to the court and got shivers. I don’t remember the first three games but luckily my mind settled with my body. At times I was caught either not going for it or going for it too much so I tried to take my time and go to the net when I could. I wanted to focus on one point at a time and not worry about the outcome.
“As a youngster I dreamt about playing in a stadium. Wimbledon isn’t completely new to me but it’s a great experience. My mum screamed down the phone when I told her that I’d won.”
Naturalised American Wayne Odesnik experienced a painful debut against 24th seed Jarkko Nieminen.
Twenty-two-year-old Odesnik, originally from Johannesburg, has been tipped for great things. However, he arrived on court with heavy strapping on his thigh and succumbed to injury after losing the opening set 6-3.