Williams lost 6-1, 6-3 to the Russian world No79 and only held her serve once throughout the opening set but regardless remained defiant about her future prospects.
“There’s no way I’m going to sit down and give up,” said Williams, a five-time champion at the All England Club. “I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself, it doesn’t feel good. I’m going to use the time to feel positive. I love this sport.”
Defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic and third seed Roger Federer began their campaigns with far greater ease after almost effortless respective victories over Juan Carlos Ferrero and Albert Ramos, though the elimination of sixth seed Tomas Berdych means the threat of another potential rival has been extinguished.
Djokovic beat Ferrero 6-3, 6-3, 6-1, while Federer won 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 and appeared to be at his exceptional best. The Serb advances to play America’s Ryan Harrison while Federer will face Fabio Fognini of Italy, but there will be no such luxury for Czech Berdych, who lost 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4) to Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis.
British wildcard Oliver Golding also lost, despite testing world No93 Igor Andreev in a 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (9-7) 7-5 defeat, though Josh Goodall was the first Briton to exit after losing to fellow wildcard Grega Zemlja.