Kristina Mladenovic was knocked out on the opening day of Wimbledon but fans took notice of more than just her tennis ability.

Tennis fans gave a thumbs up to Kristina Mladenovic’s choice of outfit at Wimbledon as she bucked the trend at the conservative grand slam — but there was no smiling as she lost her first round match in straight sets.

Angelique Kerber defeated the Frenchwoman 6-0 7-5 on the opening day of the major, which saw many matches on outside courts cancelled because of London’s rain.

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Wimbledon has a strict all-white dress code and Mladenovic changed things up a bit just a day after Aussie Nick Kyrgios said the All England Club wouldn’t know what was “cool” in the fashion world, adding he’d like the rules to be relaxed so he could add a touch of black to his on-court outfit.

Mladenovic wore a crop top which caught the eye of tennis pundits. Journalist Carole Bouchard said the outfit reflected Wimbledon had become more accepting of different fashion choices.

“Mladenovic playing in what the young gen is calling a crop top, but what my gen is calling a bra,” Bouchard tweeted. “Sign of the times that Wimbledon has no issue with that. Still can remember the year some had troubles because of ‘too short’ skirts lol.”

Tennis producer David Kane said the outfit reminded him of Madonna’s famous “cone bra”.

“The structured effect on the Adidas crop top Mladenovic has on is giving … Madonna cone bra?” he tweeted.

Others were happy to see the world No. 33 try something different in the fashion department.

Meanwhile, teenage star Emma Raducanu explained her choice of attire, saying she was hoping to channel the fighting spirit of Rafael Nadal by wearing his “raging bull” logo on her top after beating Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4 6-4 in the opening round of Wimbledon.

The 19-year-old US Open champion, who was an injury doubt in the run-up to the tournament, struggled to impose herself early in the contest but broke her Belgian opponent’s serve in the seventh game.

Van Uytvanck broke back but Raducanu again seized the initiative by breaking again and survived a tough test on her serve to take the first set 6-4.

The pair swapped breaks in the second set and Raducanu broke again in the ninth game, comfortably holding serve and sealing victory with a backhand volley to the delight of the crowd.

“It was an amazing experience on Centre Court,” said the British 10th seed. “It was the first time I played on there. From the moment I walked out through those gates, I could really just feel the energy and the support and everyone was behind me from the word ‘go’.”

Raducanu has struggled with a string of minor injuries since her sensational win at Flushing Meadows last year, including a side strain earlier this month.

She has also come under scrutiny over her failure to settle on a long-term coach and admitted it had not been plain sailing since her triumph in New York.

But she is looking to learn from Nadal, who has won the Australian Open and the French Open this year to take his Grand Slam tally to 22 titles.

“I think Rafa just embodies fight, that sort of energy,” she said when asked why she was wearing his logo on a polo shirt at her post-match press conference.

“That’s what I’m bringing in. In terms of energy-wise, I think that I have had a tough year, like it’s no secret.

“It is all worth it just to go out on Centre Court and get a win like that. “I definitely am very happy to be here. All the lessons I’ve taken from the last year will only hold me in good stead for the future.”

Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins was the day’s biggest casualty as the seventh-seeded American was knocked out by Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic.

The world number 66 clawed back from a break down in the final set to win 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

Around two hours of play was lost on Monday due to rain — and 10 matches cancelled — but that did not faze new women’s world number two Ons Jabeur.

The Tunisian, a quarter-finalist in 2021, eased past Swedish qualifier Mirjam Bjorklund 6-1, 6-3 in just 54 minutes under the Court One roof.

World number three Anett Kontaveit began her bid to reach the second week for the first time with a 7-5, 6-1 win against Bernarda Pera of the United States.

Belinda Bencic was pulling off a stunning comeback after losing the first set 6-4 to Wang Qiang. The Swiss star was trailing 1-5 in the second set and looked destined to be knocked out, but reeled off six straight games to level things up, before play was suspended because of the weather.

Serena Williams will play her first singles match since last year’s championship as she bids again to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slams.

The American star, a seven-time champion at Wimbledon, gets her campaign under way on Tuesday.

With AFP

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