After that, things just went downhill: Dokic
Jelena Dokic was unable to shake off the rust of a two-month layoff and lost to Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the US Open on Monday.
Dokic had not played competitively since a first-round loss at Wimbledon due to a debilitating bout of mononucleosis.
The 26-year-old Australian had 41 unforced errors, nine double faults and no aces while losing to the 93rd-ranked Flipkens in 66 minutes.
"It's tough because I think I could have had a much better year," said the 83rd-ranked Dokic, who opened 2009 with a run to the Australian Open quarter-finals.
"I was still playing well around Miami (in March) and the French Open. After that, things just kind of went downhill.
"I was fit and I was playing well. When I got sick at Eastbourne (in mid-June) and then Wimbledon, things really started going downhill. It's just so unlucky."
Dokic said she was determined to rebound and play well the rest of the year.
"It counts how many times you get up, not how many times you fall down," she said.
Image: Jelena Dokic
The Federer express begins rolling
Roger Federer opened his bid for a sixth successive US Open title by overwhelming teenage wildcard Devin Britton 6-1, 6-3, 7-5 in a first-round match at Flushing Meadows on Friday.
Federer needed only 88 minutes to advance but was down a break in the second and third sets against Britton, an 18-year-old American who won the 2009 NCAA singles title as a freshman and is ranked number 1,370 in the world.
"I didn't drop a set (but it was a) tricky match for me, playing a guy who's got absolutely nothing to lose obviously," said the Swiss world number one.
"I'm here as a five-time defending champion, so it makes it a bit tricky. He did play really well."
The 28-year-old Federer sympathised with his awestruck opponent, who was playing in his first grand slam tournament before a crowd of 23,000 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"With the success I've had, especially young players right now, they'll always be in awe, maybe, of great players," added Federer.
"That's what happened with me. All of a sudden I was in front of Pete Sampras at Wimbledon and I couldn't believe it."
Federer, who will play 65th-ranked Simon Greul of Germany in the second round, lost only three points on his serve in the opening set, an 18-minute blowout.
Image: Roger Federer
'I'm glad that I have those memories'
Kim Clijsters had an enjoyable saunter down memory lane on Monday as she made an emphatic return to grand slam tennis at the US Open.
The 26-year-old, who began her comeback to the tour earlier this month after two years away during which time she gave birth to her first child, crushed Viktoriya Kutuzova of Ukraine 6-1, 6-1 to cruise into the second round.
Clijsters' 2005 US Open triumph is her only grand slam title to date and the Belgian said the memories had come flooding back when she came through the gates at Flushing Meadows.
"During the match it doesn't (affect you), but before, walking down the corridors here and waiting to get on court, it does," she said. "Obviously the situation was a lot different then but you kind of get the whole feeling for it again.
"Just driving up here this morning, just seeing the court and everything, the same memories come back," she said. "But it's nice. I'm glad that I have those memories."
Clijsters beat France's Mary Pierce to win the US Open in 2005 but was unable to defend her title in 2006 due to an injury and had already retired by the time of the 2007 event.
The US Open was the first grand slam event to use the Hawkeye video challenge system in 2006 but Clijsters only had her first experience of it in New York on Monday.
In the second round, Clijsters will play France's Marion Bartoli, whom she beat in her first comeback match, in Cincinnati earlier this month.
Image: Kim Clijsters
Serena is an inspiration to herself
Serena Williams began the defence of her US Open title with a straightforward 6-4, 6-1 victory over fellow American Alexa Glatch in the first round on Monday.
The world number two, looking for her third grand-slam title of the year and 12th in all, survived a lapse in concentration midway through the first set to advance in just over an hour.
Williams began strongly but was broken when serving for the opening set at 5-2 as world number 103 Glatch settled after a nervous start.
But she made no mistake second time round and then cruised through the second to set up a clash with Italian Maria Elena Camerin or Hungary's Melinda Czink.
Image: Serena Williams
Venus digs deep to defeat unseeded Dushevina
Venus Williams had to dig deep to avoid one of the most shocking upsets of her illustrious career as she beat little-known Russian Vera Dushevina 6-7, 7-5, 6-3 in a first-round marathon at the US Open on Monday.
Williams was down a set and a service break before hitting her stride late in the match to overpower the 47th-ranked Dushevina before nearly 24,000 fans on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"I had a lot of help from the fans here," Williams, a two-times winner at Flushing Meadows, said during a courtside interview.
"I felt so much energy from everyone when I was serving to stay in the match in the second set. It feels good to play at home."
The seven-times grand slam winner won the final three games of the second set and first four of the decider against the demoralised 22-year-old Russian.
Williams committed 54 unforced errors and had 10 double faults but won the match in two hours and 43-minutes to set up a second-round date against American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Three games into the match Williams was forced to take an injury break because of nagging tendinitis in her left knee.
She emerged with the knee wrapped and played tentatively until her power game resurfaced midway through the second set.
"I'm not one to complain," she said. "Everyone has injuries they're dealing with. I did my best tonight despite anything I was going through.
"In the next round, I'm just going to do my best to get prepared."
Image: Venus Williams
Roddick happy to play for the late-night 'crazies'
He said it was all part of the show.
"It's just unique," the fifth-seeded American told reporters after his 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 demolition of Bjorn Phau of Germany.
"You play in all sorts of atmospheres. You know, there's not as many people, but the ones that are there sure are vocal/drunk."
Roddick agreed with the suggestion that the boisterous crowd that stays into the wee hours were "crazies."
"I think so," he said. "I guarantee half the people out there were probably here all day, too. They have to be pretty passionate and really enjoy what they're seeing and the whole experience of it.
"It's one in the morning. I guarantee you, they all have to work tomorrow. They certainly have to get up earlier than I do.
"It is kind of unique and pretty cool."
Roddick said the special character of the different grand slams help make tennis interesting.
"It's all part of our game," he said. "We don't play on the same surface. We don't use the same balls. We don't play in the same place. It's all different all the time.
"The thing that makes Wimbledon so cool is the tradition and the whites. I get into that when I'm there. I love it. I think it's great.
"I think the equivalent of that here is the night sessions and the craziness, the fact that it's a show and it's an event as well as a tennis tournament.
"The more things that we have that make our events unique, I think the better our sport is for it."
Image: Andy Roddick