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Venus hits 15-year low

Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams suffered her worst All England Club defeat in 15 years on Monday, but top seeds Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova powered into the second round.

sports Updated: Jun 26, 2012 00:51 IST

Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams suffered her worst All England Club defeat in 15 years on Monday, but top seeds Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova powered into the second round. Williams lost 6-1, 6-3 to 79th-ranked Russian Elena Vesnina in what was the 32-year-old's first opening round loss since her 1997 debut. But the former world number one - the champion in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 -believes she can still compete at the top level despite her ranking having slipped to 58 after a six-month absence fighting serious illness. Won't give up "There's no way I will give up just because I have had a hard time in the first four or five friggin' tournaments back. That's not me," said a feisty Williams after the match. The American star arrived at Wimbledon, where she was unseeded for the first time since her 1997 debut, short of confidence having been sidelined with Sjogern's Syndrome, a disease which causes joint pain and fatigue. Monday's defeat was just her fourth loss at the first round stage of a Grand Slam against 52 wins. Vesnina, who had lost in the first round of nine of her last 10 Grand Slam appearances, will face Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska for a place in the last 32. Top seed Djokovic, opening business on Centre Court, reached the second round with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over Spanish veteran Juan Carlos Ferrero. Djokovic, playing for the first time since his French Open final defeat to Rafael Nadal, will next face either America's Ryan Harrison or Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan. Sharapova, who completed a career Grand Slam with victory at the French Open, was second-up on Centre Court and eased past Australia's Anastasia Rodionova 6-2, 6-3. No fly-zone For the first time since 9/11 attacks, UK has imposed a no-fly zone over the Wimbledon but and made it clear that it was more to cut "noise" than for "security". However, the general security for the event has been notched up in wake of the upcoming Olympics. Pete Dobson of the Metropolitan Police said that general security had been increased for this year's tournament, which ends just 18 days before the Olympics. Who is Vesnina? The 25-year-old Russian is better known in India as Sania Mirza's former doubles partner. Sania and Elena Vesnina started the successful partnership last year and even made the finals of the French Open. But early this year the duo parted ways as Vesnina was advised to pair up with another Russian keeping the Olympics in mind. Vesnina has also partnered Leander Paes and made the Australian Open mixed doubles final in 2012.