London, England – Fading five-time champion Venus Williams suffered a first-round loss at Wimbledon for the first time in 15 years on Monday.
The former world No. 1 succumbed to Russian Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-3 in 1 hour, 15 minutes on Court 2 at the storied All England Club. Vesnina cruised past a listless Williams in seven games in the first set and got the break she needed for a 4-2 lead in the second and never looked back.
The 32-year-old Williams titled here in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 and is a three-time Wimbledon runner-up.
She's now 71-11 at tennis' most prestigious event and hadn't lost in the first round here since making her Wimbledon debut in 1997.
"Give credit to her, she played very well," Williams said of Vesnina.
The 25-year-old Vesnina reached the fourth round at Wimbledon three years ago.
Williams has played sparingly over the last year after being diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, an incurable autoimmune disease that causes fatigue and joint pain.
Meanwhile, Agnieszka Radwanska, Samantha Stosur, Li Na and Sabine Lisicki were a slew of seeded players advancing on Day 1.
The third-seeded Radwanska earned a 6-3, 6-3 decision over Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova, while Stosur, the fifth seed and reigning U.S. Open champion, eased past Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-1, 6-3. The 11th-seeded former French Open champ Li thumped Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan, 6-3, 6-1, and Lisicki, a semifinalist last year at the All England Club, cruised to a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Croatia's Petra Martic.
Italy's Camila Giorgi provided the first upset of the tournament with a 6-4, 6-3 win over 16th-seeded countrymate Flavia Pennetta.