When Wimbledon ended last year, there were two great takeaways from the tournament: Novak Djokovic would soon be pulling away in the grand slam title race and Ash Barty was beginning a new era of dominance.

Both seemed to be knock-ins, and yet neither has come to pass. Djokovic missed out on a calendar Grand Slam in New York before being banished from Australia, and despite drawing level with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 grand slams with his Centre Court triumph, he now finds himself two adrift of the Spaniard again.

Barty, meanwhile, has left her own party. The then world number one stunned the tennis world by retiring in March, having added the Australian Open she so craved to her trophy cabinet.

Djokovic and Iga Swiatek head into Wimbledon, which begins on Monday, as the top seeds.

Stats Perform has used Opta facts to consider what the men's and women's singles might deliver.

KING ROGER'S REIGN IS OVER, BUT DJOKOVIC AND NADAL KEEP GOING STRONG

There will come a time when the Wimbledon favourite is not one of the 'Big Three'. That time is not now.

Djokovic is the man most likely, as he targets his fourth straight Wimbledon title and seventh overall; since 2011, when he beat Nadal in the final, the Serbian has only been absent from the trophy match three times (in 2012, 2016 and 2017).

His winning run of 21 matches at Wimbledon is the fifth-longest in the men's singles. Bjorn Borg holds the record (41 between 1976 and 1981).

The last player other than Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray to win the Wimbledon men's title was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002. Federer is absent this year and may have played his last Wimbledon.

Nadal has won Wimbledon twice, in 2008 and 2010. He won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010, the only season of his career when he has won three slams. This year, at the age of 36, he has the Australian and French Open trophies already locked away, potentially halfway to a calendar Grand Slam, last achieved in men's singles in 1969 by Rod Laver.

Should Nadal pull off another major coup, it would make him only the second man in the Open Era (from 1968) to win the season's first three singles slams, after Laver in 1969 and Djokovic last year.

Can the rest hope to compete?

What of Murray? Well, only Federer (19), Sampras (10), Laver and Jimmy Connors (both nine) have won more ATP titles on grass than the Scot in the Open Era. If he recovers from an abdominal strain, he has a shot at reaching the second week. He will of course have the full backing of the Wimbledon crowd.

Last year's runner-up Matteo Berrettini is fancied more than Nadal by many, having won Stuttgart and Queen's Club titles in the build-up.

There has not been an American men's singles champion since 2000, and although the United States has six players seeded, more than any other nation, it seems a safe enough assumption we will be saying a similar thing again in 12 months' time.

Third seed Casper Ruud has never won a singles match at Wimbledon, while fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas has not had a win since reaching the fourth round in 2018. Daniil Medvedev, the world number one, cannot compete at The All England Club after their contentious decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

IF SERENA CAN'T CHALLENGE SWIATEK, WHO CAN?

From the jaws of retirement, Serena Williams is back. Silence from the 40-year-old about her intentions had become almost deafening, and yet here she is, back at Wimbledon on a wildcard, hoping to rekindle the old magic.

Because she has pushed back against the doubters for over two decades now, you have to take this seriously. Her haul of 23 grand slams is one short of Margaret Court's all-time record and Williams would dearly love to at least match it.

Three years ago, Williams became the oldest player to reach Wimbledon's women's singles final when she lost to Simona Halep. Six years ago, she was the oldest champion when she beat Angelique Kerber.

Only four women in the draw this year besides Williams have been champion before: Petra Kvitova (in 2011 and 2014), Garbine Muguruza (in 2017), Kerber (in 2018) and Halep (in 2019).

World number one Iga Swiatek starts as favourite. Junior Wimbledon champion four years ago, she has scooped two women's French Open titles since then and is on a 35-match winning streak.

After triumphing at Roland Garros in early June, Swiatek will hope to become the first woman since Kerber in 2016 (Australian Open and US Open) to win two singles slams in the same season.

The only competitive warm-up for Williams came in two doubles matches at Eastbourne, having not played since sustaining a hamstring injury at Wimbledon last year. The seven-time champion might consider it a challenge that there has never been an unseeded Wimbledon women's singles finalist during the Open Era.

The women's top two seeds have not met in the final since Serena faced her sister Venus in the 2002 title match, so don't hold your breath for a Swiatek versus Anett Kontaveit showpiece on July 9.

Could Gauff be best of the rest?

Coco Gauff made a breakthrough with her run to the French Open final. Although she was blown away by Swiatek, for the 18-year-old American it was another mark of progress. Gauff reached the fourth round in Wimbledon in 2019 (lost to Halep) and 2021 (lost to Kerber).

Fitness is likely to be the key factor in how US Open champion Emma Raducanu fares at her home grand slam, given her injury problems. Raducanu reached the fourth round on a wildcard last year and the 19-year-old will attempt to become the first British woman to reach that stage in back-to-back seasons since Jo Durie (1984, 1985).

Ons Jabeur, meanwhile, should not be discounted. The world number three reached the quarter-finals at SW19 last year and heads to Wimbledon having won on grass at the Berlin Open, albeit Belinda Bencic had retired hurt in the final.

The likes of Gauff, Raducanu and 21-year-old Swiatek will attempt to become the youngest woman to lift the trophy since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova triumphed in 2004.

A first-round exit for Swiatek would leave the event wide open, but don't count on it. In the Open Era, only three times has the top-seeded woman lost in round one: Steffi Graf in 1994 and Martina Hingis in 1999 and 2001.

Limping off Centre Court with a torn hamstring while fighting tears is not how Serena Williams wants to remember Wimbledon.

Williams has not featured in a competitive singles match since she suffered that injury in SW19 in 2021, but the 23-time grand slam champion is making her comeback at the All England Club.

The 40-year-old has seven Wimbledon singles titles under her belt, the most recent of which came in 2016, while she reached the final in 2018 and 2019, only to lose to Angelique Kerber and Serena Halep.

Now, having put her hamstring issue behind her, Williams is determined to create a new lasting memory in London.

"Yeah, it was a lot of motivation, to be honest," she told reporters on Saturday when reflecting on how her previous Wimbledon campaign ended.

"It was always something since the match ended that was always on my mind. So it was a tremendous amount of motivation for that.

"You never want any match to end like that. It's really unfortunate."

Williams returned to competition last week, playing doubles with Ons Jabeur in Eastbourne, and makes her highly anticipated return to Wimbledon facing Harmony Tan, a 24-year-old from France who is ranked 113th.

 

Despite being just one short of Margaret Court's long-standing record haul of 24 majors, Williams is not making any lofty predictions as to how far she can go at Wimbledon.

"I have high goals, but also... I don't know," she said. "We'll see."

If she beats Tan, Williams might then face Sara Sorribes Tormo, and if she can get past her, she would likely then play sixth seed Karolina Pliskova, the former world number one who was the runner-up to Ash Barty at last year's Wimbledon and also a finalist at the 2016 US Open.

Williams was hoping to play at Flushing Meadows last year but needed more time to heal mentally and physically.

"I felt like last year was tough," she said. "I felt like I was injured for most of the year. Then I ripped my hamstring. That was tough. I don't think anyone ever wants to do that. So, in general, the whole experience was rough.

"Then, from there, I still tried to make New York. I gave everything I could, just every day getting ready or trying to make it. But then it's just like: I'm not going to make it, hung up my racquets for a little bit until I could just heal."

The thought of retiring never entered her mind during her time away from the game, however. In addition to recovering, she spent the last year getting in the right frame of mind.

"I didn't retire," Williams said. "I just needed to heal physically, mentally. And yeah, I had no plans, to be honest.

"I just didn't know when I would come back. I didn't know how I would come back. Obviously Wimbledon is such a great place to be, and it just kind of worked out."

Serena Williams' presence at Wimbledon has left world number one Iga Swiatek "pretty overwhelmed".

Williams is making her long-awaited return to action at the All England Club, as the 40-year-old takes another shot at matching Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam victories.

The American has played only two competitive matches – both alongside Ons Jabeur in the doubles at the Eastbourne International – since she sustained a hamstring tear at last year's Wimbledon, but is back on a wildcard.

Three years ago, Williams became the oldest player to reach Wimbledon's women's singles final when she lost to Simona Halep. Six years ago, she was the oldest champion when she beat Angelique Kerber, although it seems a long shot for her to be challenging for honours this time around.

That is in part due to the remarkable form of top seed Swiatek, who heads to SW19 on the back of a 35-match winning streak that she is aiming to extend.

The Pole was not born when Williams made her Wimbledon debut in 1998, but she was the junior champion at the All England Club in 2018 and has since won the French Open twice. She is aiming to become the first woman since Kerber in 2016 to win two singles slams in the same season.

Yet Swiatek remains in awe of Williams.

"I saw her yesterday, I was pretty overwhelmed," said Swiatek in a news conference on Saturday.

"I didn't know how to react. I wanted to meet her. I saw that she had so many people around her. I don't know her team. It was pretty weird.

"But just seeing her around is great because she's such a legend, there's nobody that has done so much in tennis.

"I'm pretty sure that she's going to be in good shape because she has so much experience coming back from breaks or just playing in grand slams. I think she can use it."

Swiatek has never progressed past the fourth round of the singles at Wimbledon and will be making her first appearance of the season on grass when she takes on Jana Fett on Tuesday.

"Honestly I still feel like I need to figure out grass," she said. "Last year for sure, it was that kind of tournament where I didn't know what to expect.

"Then match by match I realised maybe I can do more and more.

"I didn't have a lot of time to prepare. But I'm just trying to stay open-minded and kind of take positives from the situation and realise that I can play without any expectations."

Rafael Nadal is halfway to a calendar Grand Slam, a feat that would mark the crowning point of any player's career.

Yet the Spanish great does not have to look far back into history to see how quickly that dream can be scuppered, with Novak Djokovic having fallen agonisingly short of a sweep of all four majors only last year.

As perhaps the most grounded player in tennis, Nadal heads into Wimbledon well aware that winning the first two majors of the year is no guarantee of any future success.

At the age of 36, and with a foot problem that requires careful maintenance, it would be arguably the most remarkable feat in the Open Era if Nadal were to add the Wimbledon and US Open titles to his Australian Open and French Open triumphs.

Such dominance is scarce in tennis, and Rod Laver was the last player to scoop all four men's singles titles at the majors, all the way back in 1969.

Steffi Graf won all four on the women's side in 1988, and it seemed a knock-in that Serena Williams would do likewise in 2015 when she headed to the US Open with three majors already bagged.

But Williams famously came unstuck when she faced Roberta Vinci in the semi-finals, while Djokovic went even closer in 2021, losing to Daniil Medvedev in the final at Flushing Meadows.

Here, Stats Perform examines the daunting challenge of scooping all four slams consecutively.


WHAT THE GREAT CHAMPIONS SAY

Before tennis reached its Open Era, which marked the dawning of professionalism on the tour, Laver won his first calendar Grand Slam in 1962.

He said later, quoted by the Tennis Hall of Fame: "It was a thrill to come off the court knowing I had won all four majors in one year. But I never felt like I was the best, never felt that way. I just happened to have a good year."

His 1969 dominance came a year after Laver returned to the majors, following a five-year exile while he played professional tennis elsewhere. When the majors allowed professionals to compete alongside the amateurs, 'Rocket Rod' was again unstoppable.

Laver turned 31 in 1969 and did not win any further grand slam singles titles in his career after that astonishing season, but that second perfect season sealed his legacy as an all-time great.

Stefan Edberg won a boys' singles clean sweep in 1983, but Laver remains the only player to win the men's singles full set in a calendar year since American Don Budge captured all four in the 1938 season, the first time it was achieved by a man. Maureen Connolly and Margaret Court achieved calendar Grand Slams in women's singles in 1953 and 1970 respectively.

A non-calendar Grand Slam was accomplished by Djokovic, when he won Wimbledon, the US Open, Australian Open and French Open consecutively across the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Yet no man other than Laver, Budge and Djokovic has won all four singles crowns in succession.

It has been 11 years since Nadal himself went close. He went to the Australian Open in 2011 with the Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open trophies in the bag, looking to complete the set.

"I am sure it's going to be the only one opportunity that I'm going to have in my life," said Nadal that year. "I'm not going to have more of these opportunities to win all four in a row.

"I think it is almost impossible. It is very, very difficult, no? Tennis is a very competitive sport and there is not a lot of difference between players. So a lot of matches are decided in a few balls. So for that reason it is very difficult to have one player winning everything. That's the truth."

Nadal, hampered by injury, lost in the Melbourne quarter-finals to David Ferrer in 2011 and had not won back-to-back slams since, until this year's surprise double. 


REACHING PRESSURE POINT

It is too soon to think that Nadal has a glorious chance to land all four big ones this year. After all, although he has won Wimbledon twice before, those triumphs came in 2008 and 2010, and he has a chronic foot problem. He has required radiofrequency ablation treatment in the past fortnight, preventing nerves in his foot sending messages to his brain.

He fell to Djokovic in the 2011 Wimbledon final and has not been back to the title match since, suffering a run of disappointing early exits in London before reaching semi-finals in 2018 and 2019, his last visits to the tournament.

Djokovic is a heavy favourite for this year's title, but it would be bold to entirely rule out Nadal, particularly given that as the second seed he cannot run into Djokovic until the final. Particularly given that he is Rafael Nadal, and prone to doing stupendous things.

Serbian Djokovic, a year Nadal's junior, would be able to tell his great rival just how intense the strain can become when a calendar Grand Slam becomes a serious prospect.

Speaking in November last year, two months after Medvedev denied him in New York, Djokovic said: "I'm very relieved that the grand slam season was done, because I felt a tremendous pressure unlike anything I felt in my life.

"It was an interesting experience, and I'm very satisfied with the way I played in grand slams, three wins and a final. There are much more positive things to be grateful for and to look at than negative."

Like Djokovic, Serena Williams has managed the non-calendar Grand Slam before, with the American first achieving that from the French Open in 2002 to the Australian Open in 2003, and in 2015 she was aiming for five slams in a row when she arrived at the US Open, having begun her dominant streak at her home grand slam the previous year.

That would have meant Williams sealed each of the 2015 slams, and losing to Vinci led to stark frustration, underlined by a terse response to the question of how disappointed she felt by the result.

"I don't want to talk about how disappointing it is for me," Williams said. "If you have any other questions, I'm open for that."

Sometimes, players get ahead of themselves when looking at the season ahead, and Naomi Osaka had a calendar Grand Slam in her thoughts after winning the season-opening Australian Open in 2019.

She had also triumphed at the US Open at the end of 2018, and the Japanese star was beginning to think she might enjoy an invincible year at the majors, only to stumble to a third-round French Open defeat to Katerina Siniakova.

Osaka said: "I think I was overthinking this calendar slam. For me this is something that I have wanted to do forever, but I have to think about it like if it was that easy, everyone would have done it."

Serena Williams will begin her Wimbledon challenge against French player Harmony Tan, who will be making her main-draw debut.

For 40-year-old American Williams, a seven-time Wimbledon singles champion, there will be relief at avoiding a seed in the first round.

That was a possibility given that Williams is in the draw on a wildcard, having not played singles since suffering an ankle injury in her Wimbledon opener 12 months ago.

Instead, the 23-time grand slam winner will face the world number 113, who lost in the first round of the recent French Open, perhaps as soft a landing as Williams could have had.

Wimbledon begins on Monday at the All England Club, with women's defending champion Ash Barty not involved after announcing a shock retirement in March.

Williams has returned to action this week at the Eastbourne International, winning through two rounds in doubles alongside Ons Jabeur, before the duo pulled out due to a knee worry for Jabeur.

Awaiting the winner of Williams versus Tan will be American Christina McHale or Spanish 32nd seed Sara Sorribes Tormo, while last year's runner-up Karolina Pliskova is a potential third-round obstacle.

Women's top seed Iga Swiatek starts against Croatian qualifier Jana Fett, while Britain's US Open champion Emma Raducanu was drawn to face the experienced Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, a player who knocked out the then-defending champion Garbine Muguruza at Wimbledon four years ago.

Tunisian third seed Jabeur was paired with Swedish qualifier Mirjam Bjorklund, Pliskova faces fellow Czech Tereza Martincova, and American Coco Gauff, fresh from a first grand slam final in Paris, drew Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse.

Estonia's Anett Kontaveit, who may struggle to live up to her billing as the second seed having never previously gone past round three, plays American Bernarda Pera first up.

Among former champions, Angelique Kerber tackles Kristina Mladenovic in her opener, while Simona Halep was handed a tough assignment against Karolina Muchova.

Of all the players in the draw this year, Muchova is the woman with the highest winning percentage in Wimbledon main draw matches.

The Czech has an 80 per cent success record, winning eight matches and losing twice after reaching the quarter-finals in her both previous appearances, losing to Elina Svitolina in 2019 and Kerber last season.

Serena Williams and Ons Jabeur have pulled out of their Eastbourne International doubles semi-final due to an injury concern just days before Wimbledon begins.

Organisers said Tunisian world number three singles star Jabeur was troubled by a right knee injury, forcing her brief alliance with Williams to come to an end.

They had won through two rounds in increasingly impressive style, with Williams making her return to the WTA Tour, having not played competitive tennis since injuring an ankle at Wimbledon last year.

The 40-year-old Williams was clearly enjoying the partnership with Jabeur, who in May became the first African or Arab woman to win a WTA 1000 singles title when she triumphed at the Madrid Open.

They had named themselves 'Onsrena' and were due to face Aleksandra Krunic and Magda Linette in the semi-finals, before news emerged on Thursday of their withdrawal.

No details of the seriousness of Jabeur's injury were disclosed, and it may prove a precautionary withdrawal given Wimbledon is so close, with the latter starting on Monday.

Jabeur won a title on grass in Berlin last week, showing she could pose a threat to top seed Iga Swiatek, providing she is not hampered by injury.

Williams, a 23-time grand slam singles champion, will also be competing at Wimbledon after being handed a wildcard entry into the tournament where she has won seven singles titles.

Serena Williams lauded her doubles partner Ons Jabeur after they advanced to the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International on Wednesday. 

Playing in her first tournament since retiring from the opening round of Wimbledon injured last year, Williams acknowledged she was particularly reliant on Jabeur during their 6-2 6-4 success over Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching. 

The 23-time grand slam singles champion opted to only play doubles on the south coast as she gears up for a return to the All England Club. 

"I think we played together much better," said Williams. "Although I thought we played really good together [against Maria Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo on Tuesday] too. 

"But Ons really held me up. She was really playing so good. I was looking at her and was like, 'Wow, this is great.' It's good." 

Williams and Jabeur will take on Aleksandra Krunic and Magda Linette for a place in the final. 

Jabeur playfully asked the 40-year-old if she would like to play together at the US Open, to which the former world number one responded: "Sign me up!" 

The Tunisian added: "I'm getting used to this. It was really great to play here and I didn't know we are in the semi-finals. It's super fast, but it's great for us." 

Serena Williams doubted whether she would return to elite tennis as she stepped up her Wimbledon preparations by playing doubles with Ons Jabeur at the Eastbourne International.

Williams teamed up with Jabeur on Tuesday to record a thrilling win over Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo in her first competitive outing since last June, when she was forced to retire from her first-round Wimbledon clash with Aliaksandra Sasnovich through injury.

Having been granted a wildcard entry to the year's third grand slam, which begins next week, Williams is bidding for her first major title since winning 2017's Australian Open.

But speaking after her successful return to the court, Williams admitted her comeback had been far from certain.

"Did I ever doubt I would return? Absolutely, for sure. I would be dishonest if I said it wasn't and now my body feels great," she said.

"I definitely felt good out there and I was talking with Ons in the first set saying 'we're not playing bad' because they were just playing really good in that first set.

"But obviously winning, getting more balls and playing a little bit more made us feel a lot better. It definitely felt reassuring. It has been clicking in practice and now it seems like it is clicking. It is doubles but it still means a lot to both of us to be in it."

Williams and Jabeur will face Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-Ching in Eastbourne's doubles quarter-finals after posting an impressive 2-6 6-3 13-11 victory in their first outing.

With Williams now ranked 1,204th in the world and aged 40, speculation has abounded as to whether her SW19 appearance will mark the beginning of a farewell tour for the seven-time Wimbledon champion.

However, Williams is not rushing to make any further decisions about her future in the game.

"You know what, I am literally taking it one day at a time. I really took my time with my hamstring injury so I am not making a ton of decisions after this," she added.

"I did a lot of non-training in the beginning obviously and after I couldn't play New York [2021's US Open] I went cold turkey of not working out.

"It felt good, but I always try to stay semi-fit because you never know when you are going to play Wimbledon.

"I love tennis and I love playing otherwise I wouldn't be here, but I also love what I do off the court."

Serena Williams made a thrilling return to the WTA Tour as she and Ons Jabeur teamed up to win a nail-biting doubles contest at the Eastbourne International.

Czech player Marie Bouzkova and Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo provided stiff competition but eventually succumbed 2-6 6-3 13-11 as Williams grew in belief.

This was the first competitive match for 40-year-old Williams since abandoning her Wimbledon first-round clash against Aliaksandra Sasnovich last June, due to an ankle injury.

It was also her first doubles main-draw match on grass since she and sister Venus won the 2016 Wimbledon title, so she was understandably rusty in the early stages, while world number three Jabeur's nervousness about playing with Williams, which she spoke of after the match, was also evident.

Williams will be on a wildcard at Wimbledon next week, due to her ranking plummeting, as she chases what would be a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles title.

Her game looked sketchy early on, with a smash into the net handing over the second game, before she then blazed a volley over the baseline to concede the early break.

Her own serve was broken as Sorribes Tormo and Bouzkova snatched a 4-1 double-break lead in the opener, which they soon wrapped up.

Williams lost her footing on the grass midway through the second set, slipping over, but she was soon back up, with the contest becoming increasingly competitive.

Jabeur and Williams forged a 4-3 lead in the second set and then broke to force the match tie-break.

All-out assault from Williams brought up a first match point, but the American then rattled a backhand long after Jabeur failed to put away a volley at the net early in the rally.

Another match point slipped away as Jabeur netted from another great chance, but a drop shot from the Tunisian brought up a third, and this time Sorribes Tormo volleyed wide to herald a scream of delight from Williams.

"Oh my god, it was so fun to play with Ons," said Williams. "Our opponents played amazing. They played so well in that first set, they were jamming.

"We were just trying to stay in there after the first set, it was good though.

"I caught some fire behind me, so that's good; I needed that."

Defending men's champion Novak Djokovic and women's world number one Iga Swiatek head the seedings for Wimbledon, which starts on Monday.

The championships issued its lists of seeds on Tuesday, with Russian and Belarusian players absent from the line-up after they were excluded from the tournament because of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

It means Russia's men's world number one Daniil Medvedev is absent, while Germany's second-ranked Alexander Zverev also misses out, in his case because of an ankle injury.

With Wimbledon sticking to the ATP and WTA rankings, that means world number three Djokovic automatically moves up to the top seeding as he chases a seventh title at the All England Club, and a 21st grand slam win of his career.

Two-time Wimbledon winner Rafael Nadal is the second seed, with the Spaniard having already won the Australian Open and French Open titles this year to nudge two majors ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer on the all-time men's list. Federer, still battling his way back from knee surgery, will not play Wimbledon this year and turns 41 in August.

Norway's Casper Ruud, fresh from reaching the French Open final, is the third seed, with Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas fourth. Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz is fifth, while Great Britain's Cameron Norrie, ninth on the list, receives his first top-10 seeding at Wimbledon.

Norrie is bumped up from his world ranking of number 12, given world number eight Andrey Rublev, another Russian, is prevented from competing.

The women's reigning champion Ash Barty has retired since capturing the title last July, so her successor as the dominant player on the WTA Tour, Swiatek, assumes the top seeding.

Swiatek has reeled off 35 consecutive match wins, dominating on hardcourts and clay, but she has less of a grass pedigree, albeit the 21-year-old Pole is a former junior Wimbledon champion.

Last year saw Swiatek lose in the fourth round to Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who is the third seed this time. Estonia's Anett Kontaveit is the second seed, with Wimbledon no longer making any allowances for grass-court prowess, as it used to when devising its seeding lists.

Britain's Emma Raducanu, like Norrie, is a Wimbledon top-10 seed for the first time. The shock US Open champion is seeded 10th, one ahead of the American teenager Coco Gauff.

The format means there will be dangerous unseeded players in the draw, notably Nick Kyrgios and two-time champion Andy Murray in the men's singles.

Serena Williams, the seven-time women's champion, is entered on a wildcard and is also unseeded. Williams, 40, has not played singles since abandoning her first-round match at Wimbledon last year due to injury, but entered this week's doubles event at Eastbourne, partnering Jabeur.


Men's top 10: 1. Novak Djokovic, 2. Rafael Nadal, 3. Casper Ruud, 4. Stefanos Tsitsipas, 5. Carlos Alcaraz, 6. Felix Auger-Aliassime, 7. Hubert Hurkacz, 8. Matteo Berrettini, 9. Cameron Norrie, 10. Jannik Sinner

Women's top 10: 1. Iga Swiatek, 2. Anett Kontaveit, 3. Ons Jabeur, 4. Paula Badosa, 5. Maria Sakkari, 6. Karolina Pliskova, 7. Danielle Collins, 8. Jessica Pegula, 9. Garbine Muguruza, 10. Emma Raducanu

Serena Williams will find it "super difficult" to challenge for an eighth Wimbledon singles title when she returns to SW19 next week, according to Karolina Pliskova.

Williams announced her participation at Wimbledon after receiving a wildcard last week, having been absent since a first-round retirement against Aliaksandra Sasnovich at The All England Club last year.

The American great will team up with Ons Jabeur to play doubles at Eastbourne over the coming days as the 40-year-old prepares for her Wimbledon return.

But Pliskova, who lost last year's Wimbledon final to Ashleigh Barty, says Williams could struggle to match her previous exploits after coming back from a long-term leg injury.

"I don't know how long it has been since she has played. Has it been a year? It is a long time, and she is not the youngest any more, so I suppose the body also takes some time to get back into shape," Pliskova said ahead of her own campaign at Eastbourne.

"Playing matches at tournaments is still very different to just practising and from what I understand, she is not playing [singles] here, she is just playing doubles.

"I think it will be difficult, super difficult for her, no matter what kind of player she is because this is a thing where you still need some time.

"But of course, she is an amazing player, she achieved so much and still a number of players will be super scared to play her. This is her advantage but let's see the level. I cannot really say."

Pliskova has won two of her three grand slam meetings with Williams, eliminating her at the quarter-final stage at the 2019 Australian Open and in the final four at the 2016 US Open.

While the world number seven may have cast doubt upon Williams' chances, Paula Badosa is not keen on the prospect of facing the 23-time major champion on the grass.

"I think it surprised everyone but it's very good to have her back. It really amazes me how she has all this hunger for the game," the world number four said.

"It is a great inspiration. It is nice to have her back and I hope she can be back for much more time because I think she does very good for tennis.

"But the other side, of course I don't want to play against her! I hope the draw goes for another player because no one wants to play against Serena and [even] less on grass. Let's pray for that!"

Ons Jabeur has announced she will not take part in the singles tournament at the Eastbourne International.

Jabeur will continue to play in the doubles, where she will pair with American legend Serena Williams, who has not played a competitive match since a first-round defeat at Wimbledon last year.

The news of the Tunisian's withdrawal from the singles tournament comes on the same day that she was elevated to world number three, after her victory at the Berlin Open on Sunday.

She beat Belinda Bencic in the final after her Swiss opponent retired with an ankle injury.

"I feel like I need to be smart about this decision," Jabeur told reporters about her choice not to play singles at Eastbourne.

Jabeur and Williams will face off against the unseeded duo Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo in the first round on Tuesday.

 

Ons Jabeur hailed Serena Williams as a "legend" as she expressed her nervousness and excitement to pair with the American great at the Eastbourne International.

Williams has not played a competitive match since defeat to Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round of last year's Wimbledon and is now ranked at 1,204 in the world.

The 40-year-old, who is one grand slam title shy of matching Margaret Court's long-standing record of 24, will feature at the third grand slam of the year, which starts next Monday.

Eastbourne will serve as preparation for the upcoming grass-court major after Williams received a wild card in the doubles draw alongside Jabeur.

Jabeur has been in fine form in 2022, winning the Berlin Open and Madrid Open and rising to world number three, though she remains nervous to play with Williams at Eastbourne.

"I wanted to tell everyone, but obviously I couldn't," Jabeur told the WTA Tour in an interview. "I told my family, but even my close friends, I didn't tell anyone.

"Excited, really lucky that she picked me. I'm pretty glad that I can share the court with her. I always watched Serena playing and always supported her.

"She's such a legend and such an example for our sport. I'm really nervous to play. I hope the match will be great and we'll have great matches.

"I don't know why she picked me to be honest. Maybe she watched Madrid. I met her a few times outside the court and she was always nice.

"I remember exchanging pins with her in Rio. I respect her so much. I've been waiting for this moment for a long time. I had to take my time in Berlin, but now it's Eastbourne. I cannot wait for this moment."

Williams and Jabeur have been drawn against unseeded duo Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo in the first round on Tuesday.

Rafael Nadal was stepping up preparation for Wimbledon by training on Mallorca's best grass courts on Thursday, an apparently positive sign that he intends to play in London.

The Australian Open and French Open champion said after his Roland Garros triumph at the start of June that he would only appear at Wimbledon if he could compete without needing anaesthetic injections in a troublesome foot.

The 36-year-old said he was given a couple of injections before every match and announced he would undergo radio frequency injections in a bid to feature at the third grand slam of the year.

Nadal is halfway towards a potential sweep of the four majors, defying the foot trouble by producing results that few saw coming. Rod Laver in 1969 was the last man to win all four singles majors in a calendar year.

Spaniard Nadal was pictured by organisers of the Mallorca Championships on Thursday, during a practice session on one of the tournament's plush courts.

Nadal, who hails from the island, is reluctant to undergo major surgery to prolong his career.

Wimbledon starts on June 27, and it is a tournament that Nadal has won twice, in 2008 and 2010.

He leads the all-time list of men's grand slam singles title winners, with 22 to his name now, two more than Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have managed.

That is still one fewer than Serena Williams has managed during her stellar career, and the 40-year-old American rolled in to London on Thursday for another tilt at Wimbledon.

Due to injury, Williams has not competed on the WTA Tour since last year's championships at the All England Club.

She has received a wildcard into Wimbledon, where she has been a champion seven times, most recently in 2016.

Williams posted a video on Instagram of her arriving in London with daughter Olympia.

She intends to compete in doubles at Eastbourne, partnering Ons Jabeur, in the week leading up to Wimbledon.

Serena Williams' return to Wimbledon represents a "great example" to other players, according to Nick Kyrgios, who said tennis fans should not take her or other fellow greats Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, for granted.

Comparing the quartet to four-time NBA MVP LeBron James, Kyrgios says sports fans should enjoy the legends' "amazing" exploits while they still can.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that Williams – who has not played competitively since losing to Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Wimbledon last year – has been handed a singles wildcard to compete at the year's tournament, which begins later this month. 

Williams, now aged 40 and ranked 1,208th in the world, has won seven singles titles at Wimbledon, the last of which came in 2016, and 23 grand slams in total.

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