Former Wildcat Jesse Witten Falls in First Round at Wimbledon

June 25, 2010

LONDON, England - Former UK men's tennis great Jesse Witten dropped his opening-round match at Wimbledon in four sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (7-5), 6-3 to Michael Llodra of France, Monday at the All England Tennis Club. Witten made his first career appearance at the world's premiere tennis tournament played on grass.

Witten's showing at Wimbledon marks his second Grand Slam tournament of the summer. The Naples, Fla., native qualified for the French Open before suffering a first-round loss to Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 on May 24 at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France.

Witten's professional career also includes qualifying twice for the singles tournament at the US Open (2006 and 2009), highlighted by a third-round finish in 2009. He also took part in the US Open doubles tournament in 2006.

Witten earned one of 16 qualifying positions for Wimbledon after winning three consecutive matches last week. He defeated Greg Jones (6-2, 7-6 [8-6]) and Bobby Reynolds (5-7, 6-3, 6-1) before claiming a best-of-five-sets final round victory against Go Soeda of Japan, 6-2, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 on June 17.

Witten grew into an iconic tennis figure at Kentucky during his college days (2002-05), becoming only the 11th four-time men's singles All-American in NCAA history. Witten was named the 2005 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and advanced to the championship match of the 2005 NCAA Singles Championship. As a newcomer in 2002, Witten was named SEC Freshman of the Year, helping the Wildcats to a 23-10 mark and eighth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.