Andy Murray begins defence of his Wimbledon title

In keeping with tradition, Andy Murray had the honour of playing the opening match on Centre Court as the defending Wimbledon men's champion — and he looked right at home.

Canada's Pospisil, Wozniak among the players exiting

Andy Murray of Britain plays a return to David Goffin of Belgium during their first round match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships on Monday. (Pavel Golovkin/The Associated Press)

Andy Murray arrived on Centre Court to a standing ovation and left to another.

After ending Britain's 77-year wait for a homegrown men's champion at Wimbledon last year, Murray got off to a strong start Monday in his bid to become the first to retain the title since Fred Perry in 1936.

In keeping with tradition, Murray had the honour of playing the opening match on Centre Court as the defending men's champion — and looked right at home in beating David Goffin 6-1, 6-4, 7-5.

Murray broke the 105th-ranked Belgian four times, saved the only two break points against him and sealed the contest with an ace, his eighth of the match. It was Murray's 450th tour-level match win.

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who lost to Murray in last year's final, also put on a commanding performance in his opening round match on Centre Court. The Serbian player won the first 11 games and swept to a 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 win over Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan in less than 90 minutes.

Murray received a huge ovation when he strode onto the court where he beat Djokovic a year ago, soaking in the applause and giving a wave to the crowd — including those fans who queued up for tickets overnight for the rare chance to see a reigning British champion.

"It was nice," Murray said. "I was nervous this morning, nervous yesterday. Walking through brings back a lot of good memories."

The pressure will now be on Murray's next opponent, Blaz Rola of Slovenia, who advanced with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 win against Pablo Andujar of Spain. Asked about facing the champion on Wednesday on Centre Court, Rola said: "Hopefully, I don't poop my pants and don't play well."

Djokovic, meanwhile, never faced a break point in his dominant victory against the 56th-ranked Golubev, who fell to his 10th consecutive loss on grass. The score was 6-0, 5-0 before Golubev finally won a game. It was Djokovic's first grass-court match of the year.

"It was a great start, especially in the first two sets," Djokovic said. "I cannot be happier."

Canada's Vasek Pospisil saved three match points before falling to Robin Haase, 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in a first-round match at Wimbledon.

Pospisil, who turned 24 on Monday, came to the All England Club after reaching the quarter-finals on grass last week in the Netherlands in his best career performance on the surface.

The No. 31 seed from Vancouver couldn't keep the momentum going, losing in a battle lasting one hour 38 minutes to leave his Wimbledon main draw record at a 2013 win and two defeats.

Pospisil hammered over 21 aces against Haase and produced 58 winners to 44 for his opponent, but he converted on only one of five break points.

The Canadian dropped the opening set in a tiebreaker and levelled by winning the second before Haase took the lead two sets to one as he broke in the final game of the third.

Haase earned another break for a 3-1 lead in the fourth set but was unable to close it out immediately as Pospisil salvaged three match points in the ninth game.

Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que., fell 6-1, 6-2 to No. 10 seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in a match that lasted exactly an hour.

Among other men's winners was sixth-seeded and 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych, who beat Victor Hanescu 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4, 6-3. No. 7 David Ferrer, No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov, No. 12 Ernests Gulbis and No. 17 Mikhail Youzhny also advanced.

But 18th-seeded Fernando Verdasco fell to Australia's Marinko Matosevic, losing 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

In women's play, second-seeded Li Na of China advanced with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Paula Kania of Poland. Li, the 2011 French Open champion, rallied to win the last four games of the first set after being down a service break at 5-3.

Five-time champion Venus Williams won her first singles match at Wimbledon since 2011, posting a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor of Spain. Williams lost in the first round in 2012 and missed last year's tournament because of a back injury.

"I've come back so many times from injuries," said Williams, who served 11 aces. "I just feel like the more I keep playing, the better I get."

Rain came late in the day, forcing suspension of seven in-progress matches.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 14th-seeded Frenchman, was ready to serve for the match at 5-4 in the fifth set against Jurgen Meltzer when play was stopped for the day. Among the women, No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska was up 4-2 in the first set against Andreea Mitu, and No. 16 Caroline Wozniacki led Shahar Peer 6-3, 2-0.

With files from The Canadian Press