| LONDON, June 24
LONDON, June 24 Japan's Ai Sugiyama notched a
record 57th consecutive grand slam appearance when she coasted
to a 6-4 6-2 first round win over Wimbledon debutant Yanina
Wickmayer on Tuesday.
When the 32-year-old Sugiyama contested the first point in
her match against the Belgian teenager, she surpassed South
Africa's Wayne Ferreira's benchmark of 56 successive
"I'm very happy. When I heard the number of grand slams I
have played, it's actually really huge numbers," Sugiyama, who
began her record run at Wimbledon in 1993, told reporters.
"This is my 16th Wimbledon and it's been great."
The Japanese player's best grand slam performances were
quarter-final appearances at the Australian Open in 2000 and at
Wimbledon in 2004.
On Tuesday, Sugiyama was keen to stress she would wanted to
back up her record run here by progressing deep into the
"I just don't want to be here, I want to perform well, as
well," she said.
Asked how long she felt she could keep going, the
38th-ranked Sugyiama said that would depend on her performances.
"Actually I never thought I can play this long and I never
thought I would be playing like this really. I never think too
much ahead but I would like to play next U.S. Open for sure,"
said Sugiyama, who has won six singles titles during her career.
"It's a good motivation for me to keep going as long as I
can and if I'm fit enough and play good enough to be top 50, 30,
20, that would be great.
(Editing by Clare Lovell)