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.

Coco Gauff is relaxed and full of confidence heading into Wimbledon, three years after bursting onto the scene at the All England Club.

Gauff made history as a 15-year-old at Wimbledon in 2019, when she became the youngest player to reach the main draw in the Open Era.

The American stunned five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in straight sets in her main draw debut, and reached the fourth round, where she was defeated by eventual champion Simona Halep.

She enters this year's tournament brimming with confidence after reaching her first Grand Slam singles final earlier in June, having lost to Iga Swiatek in a French Open showdown.

"Honestly, I feel like I'm a lot more relaxed than when I was considered the sensation or whatever," Gauff told a news conference.

"I mean, I did well, wasn't expecting to, but it felt like everybody wanted the results to happen now, now, now. I feel like I learned so much not to put pressure on now, now, now.

"This time around, even though I’m considered a favourite, I don't feel like it as much as I did when I was 15 or even 16."

A year ago at Wimbledon, Gauff again reached the fourth round, where she was ousted by Angelique Kerber, but she enters play this time around with her highest world ranking at number 12 after an outstanding performance at Roland Garros, where she reached the final of both the singles and doubles.

"Definitely a lot of positives to take from it, that I can play two weeks of high, competitive tennis in two events," Gauff explained.

"I would have never thought I would have made the final of both events. I learned a lot from that final. I’m going to take what I learned to here. Hopefully I go far.

"But it was definitely the experience of a lifetime, and hopefully I can recreate it."

Gauff followed up her run in Paris with another encouraging showing in a grass-court warm-up at the Berlin Open, where the 18-year-old lost to Ons Jabeur in the semi-finals.

It marked another milestone for Gauff, who had previously never advanced to a quarter-final on grass.

Emma Raducanu doubted whether she would recover from injury in time for Wimbledon, but says she is now "ready to go" after a week's training.

The 19-year-old has endured an injury-plagued season, with her first match of the grass-court campaign lasting just 36 minutes against Viktorija Golubic at the Nottingham Open.

Raducanu was forced to withdraw from the contest earlier this month due to a side strain and subsequently missed the Eastbourne International.

She previously stated she had "no idea" if she would be fit in time for Wimbledon, which begins for the reigning US Open champion with a first-round clash with Alison Van Uytvanck.

But after missing Friday's practice session with Garbine Muguruza, Raducanu took to the court on Saturday and later declared herself ready for the third grand slam of the year.

"I think that this week was a good build-up," she said at a news conference. "There were moments earlier on in the week we weren't really sure. 

"We were sort of going to see how the week goes. But it went pretty well. Now it's full steam ahead. Right now I'm fit. I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to it. That's it.

"I've been managing it since Nottingham. I took two weeks off. Yesterday we just had to react to the situation. 

"I already practiced in the morning, so we all collectively thought it was the best decision to pass on the afternoon session as well and stay fresh and ready to go."

Raducanu made history in 2021 when becoming the first qualifier to win a grand slam with victory over Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final.

That success came two months after retiring from her fourth-round match with Ajla Tomljanovic at last year's Wimbledon with breathing difficulties.

The Briton enters this year's event as one of the biggest names, though, and she will make her Centre Court debut in Monday's showdown with Belgium's Van Uytvanck.

"I think it’s amazing," Raducanu said reflecting on the past 12 months. "This year I get such a special feeling walking around the grounds. 

"I definitely feel that people are behind me. Even from some of the people working on the tournament, they're like, 'you got this'. Just cheering me on. That's pretty special in itself.

"I feel like last year I came straight out of my exams, I was fresh, ready to play. I feel the same excitement this year because I think Wimbledon just brings that out of me.

"But I'm definitely looking forward to it. Just going to play like a kid who just loves playing tennis. 

"It's always my dream to step out on Centre Court. It's something I've always wanted to do and started playing tennis for."

Raducanu won her only previous match with Van Uytvanck last year, prior to her big breakthrough at Flushing Meadows, and is 35 places above the Belgian in the WTA rankings.

"I definitely feel game-wise I back myself pretty much against anyone," Raducanu added. "I feel if I really put my mind to it and commit, then I can be pretty good. 

"So I'm definitely looking forward to the match. But she's a real tricky opponent, especially on grass courts. 

"I think this surface definitely suits her well. She plays a pretty quick, high-tempo game. It's definitely going to take some getting used to, being prepared for that straightaway."

Six-time champion Novak Djokovic will take centre stage on day one at Wimbledon along with home hopes Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray.

The All England Club has announced the schedule of play for Monday, when the 2022 tournament will get under way.

As is tradition for the defending champion, Djokovic, who defeated Matteo Berrettini in last year's men's singles final, will take part in the first match on Centre Court when he plays against Kwon Soon-woo.

Djokovic will be bidding for a fourth Wimbledon title in succession following triumphs in 2018, 2019 and 2021, after the cancellation of the 2020 championships.

US Open champion Raducanu has also been selected to appear at Centre Court on the opening day.

Raducanu will take on Alison Van Uytvanck hoping to kick off a successful campaign in front of her home crowd, having burst onto the scene at Wimbledon last year with a shock run to the fourth round.

And another Briton, two-time winner Andy Murray, will be involved in the third and final match on the prestigious court when he faces James Duckworth of Australia.

Murray will be hoping to better last year's third-round berth at SW19 after impressively reaching the Stuttgart Open final this month, losing to Berrettini after notable wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios.

Ons Jabeur, Angelique Kerber and Carlos Alcaraz are the big names selected for action on Court One on Monday.

And it has been confirmed that, in the absence of retired champion Ash Barty, women's number one seed Iga Swiatek will open the action on Centre Court on Tuesday when she plays Jana Fett. Swiatek said she felt "very privileged" to be opening the proceedings on day two.

Rafael Nadal, who has won the opening two men's grand slams this year, is also expected to begin his campaign on day two, as is seven-time women’s champion Serena Williams on her return from injury.

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."

Bianca Andreescu was denied her first WTA singles title since the 2019 US Open when Caroline Garcia fought back from behind to win a thrilling Bad Homburg Open final.

Garcia won her first WTA crown for three years by recovering to win a close encounter 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 on Saturday.

Andreescu went into the final as the strong favourite, a position she strengthened by narrowly claiming the first-set tie-break, but Garcia battled back to improve her impressive career record in finals to 8-3.

She claimed her first trophy since winning on the Nottingham grass in 2019, the same year as Andreescu's famous Flushing Meadows triumph.

Andreescu was playing in her sixth career showpiece, having enjoyed a standout week at the WTA 250 event. The Canadian did not drop a set en route to the final, which included beating top seed Daria Kasatkina.

But defeating the battling Garcia, who had saved a match point before beating fellow Frenchwoman Alize Cornet in the semi-finals, proved a step too far.

After winning three straight points to claim a tight tie-break, Andreescu was a break ahead at 4-2 in the second set before Garcia launched a strong comeback.

Andreescu was also a break up in the final set but Garcia – who broke five times throughout the contest - prevailed in two hours and 42 minutes.

With Wimbledon approaching, Andreescu was playing just her sixth tournament of the season following a six-month hiatus to look after her mental health that had followed a string of injuries over recent years.

A tremendous performance from Petra Kvitova saw her ease past Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets 6-3 6-2 to win the Eastbourne International on Saturday.

Reigning champion Ostapenko had not dropped a set on the way to the final, but could not halt Kvitova, who was making her first appearance in a final in 2022.

The former world number two – and two-time Wimbledon champion – made a strong start, breaking Ostapenko early on and racing to a 3-0 lead in the first set.

Ostapenko, the Latvian number eight seed, faced eight break points in the opening set, saving seven, but she was unable to force any of her own as Kvitova comfortably served out to move ahead.

Kvitova was hitting the ball with immense power, particularly on returns, but Ostapenko showed initial improvement in the second set with her first serve accuracy, which had been down at 55.9 per cent in the first.

However, it was not enough to keep her opponent at bay as some more fierce returning from Kvitova saw her break in the third game of the second set.

Ostapenko finally threatened to break the Czech's serve, but was unable to take any of the five break points she earned in a game that lasted more than 12 minutes.

Her first serve dropped off again, which allowed the relentless Kvitova to take full advantage, breaking for a second time before serving for the championship and sealing her first-ever Eastbourne title.

It was Kvitova's 29th triumph on the WTA Tour, but her first since March 2021. Her last success on grass had come in Birmingham four years ago.

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."

Reigning Eastbourne International champion Jelena Ostapenko will go up against Petra Kvitova in 2022 Saturday's final.

Ostapenko won as a wildcard in 2021, and the world number 14 confirmed her place in this year's showdown by overcoming Camila Giorgi on Friday.

She is the first female player to reach back-to-back finals in Eastbourne since Caroline Wozniacki in 2017 and 2018.

The Latvian, who is also going to compete for the doubles title, prevailed 6-2 6-2 and will now go up against Kvitova. The pair have faced off eight times previously, with each player winning four matches.

It is Kvitova's first appearance in a final in 2022, with the former world number two – and two-time Wimbledon champion – having ended Beatriz Haddad Maia's winning streak.

Haddad Maia won in Birmingham last week and Nottingham the week before, but her run came to an end at 12 matches, with Kvitova triumphing 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

"For me, a final after almost a year [without one] will be great, so I’m glad already," said Kvitova, who was a runner-up at Eastbourne in 2011 and last reached a final on grass in Birmingham four years ago.

"Jelena loves to play here, obviously, we saw it, she has a really great game for grass."

Meanwhile, at the Bad Homburg Open, 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu reached her sixth career final courtesy of a walkover against Simona Halep.

The Romanian withdrew from the semi-final clash with a neck injury, which will worry the 2019 Wimbledon champion ahead of the season's third grand slam at the All England Club.

"I am sorry that I had to withdraw today before my semi-final match," Halep said in a statement.

"But unfortunately I woke up this morning with a blocked neck and this is not allowing me to perform to the best of my ability."

Andreescu will face Caroline Garcia, who saved a match point before going on to beat fellow Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 7-6 (11-9) 3-6 7-5 to reach an 11th tour-level showpiece.

Former Wimbledon doubles champion Pam Shriver has said she does not disagree with the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this year's tournament.

Shriver landed 21 women's doubles grand slam titles, of which 20 came in partnership with Martina Navratilova, and 112 career doubles titles in all, and she also claimed 21 singles tournament wins.

Russian and Belarusian players have been banned from this year's Wimbledon due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Shriver – who won five women's doubles championships with Navratilova at Wimbledon – said while she did not like that it was a decision that needed to be made, she did not object to it.

"War is messy, right? War is tragic. It's been a horror show for Ukrainian people," said American Shriver. "And there's a lot of Ukrainian professional tennis players that are just living through hell.

"Obviously, the decision has been made to try and have the tightest of sanctions. So when you think about the industry of pro tennis, if we're going to have sanctions as well, then Wimbledon [should too], and I understand the UK government has put some pressure throughout the country to not do business with Russians during this time.

"I wish they had never had to make the decision, but I think under the circumstances, I can't say I disagree [with it]."

Shriver also said the decision from the ATP, WTA and ITF to remove ranking points from this year's tournament was "really unfortunate".

However, she does not believe it will make Wimbledon seem like an exhibition, saying: "It's not an exhibition because of the prize money and because of the prestige of winning a Wimbledon title.

"Those are actually the two main things. I think the points are third, and so you're missing the third most important aspect, but the prize money is huge, and [the tournament] will be just as prestigious as ever."

As a result of the ban on Russian players, men's world number one Daniil Medvedev will not be in attendance at SW19, but Shriver does not think it will diminish the competition.

"You know, maybe some years it would [be a problem that Medvedev is not there] but... you're going to have the number one seed being [Novak] Djokovic and number two seed being [Rafael] Nadal," she said.

"When you have the player who has more majors than anybody else ever in the men's game at 22, Rafa, and you have Novak trying to win his fourth straight Wimbledon and his seventh overall and trying to chase Rafa's 22, I think that's going to hide the fact we don't have a number one.

"It's going to be an unusual year to not have rankings one and two [Medvedev and the injured Alexander Zverev], but I feel like the names on the men's side, [Carlos] Alcaraz, [Matteo] Berrettini, [Hubert] Hurkacz got to the semis last year, the two Canadian guys [Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov].

"I feel like there's still such great depth and with Rafa and Novak leading the way, it's fine."

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.

Bianca Andreescu dismantled top seed Daria Kasatkina to reach the semi-finals of the Bad Homburg Open, while Beatriz Haddad Maia moved a step closer to a third straight title in Eastbourne. 

A resounding 6-4 6-1 win over Kasatkina saw Andreescu advance to the last four of a WTA Tour grass-court tournament for the first time. 

The last time she reached the semi-finals in any event was the 2021 Miami Open, where she finished as runner-up after retiring with an ankle injury in the second set of the final against Ash Barty. 

Andreescu limited Kasatkina to just 17.6 per cent of the points behind the Russian's second serve and saved four of the six break points she faced to book a meeting with Simona Halep. 

Former world number one Halep sent down 10 aces and converted all three of the break points that came her way in a 6-2 6-1 success over Amanda Anisimova. 

The other semi-final will be an all-French affair after Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia downed home hopes Angelique Kerber and Sabine Lisicki respectively. 

After going all the way in Nottingham and Birmingham this month, Haddad Maia progressed to the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International courtesy of a walkover against Lesia Tsurenko. 

Next up for Haddad Maia is Petra Kvitova, who she beat in straight sets in the first round in Birmingham, after the Czech ended Harriet Dart's run to the quarter-finals with a 6-3 6-4 win. 

Jelena Ostapenko cruised to a 6-3 6-2 victory against Anhelina Kalinina and will take on Camila Giorgi for a place in the final. Giorgi comfortably overcame lucky loser Viktoriya Tomova 6-2 6-1 in 64 minutes. 

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." 

Page 1 of 56
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.