Andy Murray said he intends to make the most of every appearance on Centre Court after recovering from one set down to beat James Duckworth in his Wimbledon opener.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Murray took two hours and 43 minutes to record a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 win over the Australian, maintaining his record of having never fallen at the first hurdle in SW19.

Murray is making just his second Wimbledon appearance since 2017 and is looking to better last year's run to the third round, where he suffered a straight-sets reverse against Denis Shapovalov.

Having endured a spate of injuries and undergone two hip surgeries since his last Wimbledon triumph in 2016, the 35-year-old said he will enjoy every opportunity he gets to play in front of a home crowd on Centre Court.

"It's amazing to be back out here again with a full crowd after the last few years, amazing atmosphere," he said.

"Obviously I'm getting on a bit now, so I don't know how many more opportunities I'll get to play on this court. I want to make the most of every time I get to come out here now.

"I'm glad I managed to get through and hopefully I'll get another match on here in a couple of days."

After fighting back to beat the world number 74, Murray expressed his hope he could grow into the tournament as he advances. 

"I thought I did well to rebound after the first set, he likes playing on the grass, he's come back from a hip surgery himself in January and was playing very well," he added.

"Once I started to find my returns a little bit more as the match went on, I felt a bit more comfortable and did well to get through.

"Naturally, there's always nerves and pressure and butterflies and stress and all of those things before the first match, it was a longer build-up for me than usual because of the ab injury I had after Stuttgart [where Murray finished as runner-up earlier this month].

"I've done a lot of practising here, I've been at the venue a lot in the last couple of weeks so yeah, it was great to get out here, get a win under my belt and hopefully I'll play better from here on in."

Murray will face big-serving American John Isner in the second round on Wednesday, having won each of the duo's eight previous head-to-head meetings.

Carlos Alcaraz insisted he is not feeling any pressure to be among the Wimbledon favourites after coming through a marathon four-hour clash with Jan-Lennard Struff to reach the second round.

Alcaraz, whose four Tour-level titles in 2022 are more than any other player on the ATP Tour, has been tipped for a deep run at Wimbledon after surging to seventh in the world rankings.

But the 19-year-old was on the brink of a stunning first-round exit when he was taken to a fourth-set tie-break at 2-1 down on Monday, eventually recovering to post a gruelling 4-6 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 win on No. 1 Court.

In his post-match media conference, the Spaniard reiterated last week's claim that he is not one of the favourites to triumph in London, although he said he could win the tournament if he plays to the best of his ability.

"I don't feel the pressure because I don't rank myself as one of the favourites to win this tournament," Alcaraz said.

"Obviously if I play well, I have [the] level to win the tournament, but there are a lot more experienced players on grass. I don't feel the pressure."

Alcaraz also conceded his grass-court game can still improve as he hailed his tremendous serving display – which brought him 30 aces, as the reason for his victory.

"I enjoyed [the match] a lot," he added. "Great battle over four hours. For me, [to] play on grass is so beautiful. I like to play on grass. 

"I would say my level on grass has to improve a little bit, but I'm happy with my level.

"I didn't expect to move as well as I did. I mean, I played really well, I felt really well playing on grass and I still don't know how I served [so well].

"This is probably my best match serving. This was a weapon that I used [and] that's why I won – the serve, for sure."

Alcaraz will face Tallon Griekspoor in the second round after the Dutch player overcame Fabio Fognini in four sets on day one.

Anhelina Kalinina and Lesia Tsurenko will face off in the second round of Wimbledon on Wednesday with just one thing in their mind – helping Ukraine's war efforts back home.

Ukrainian pair Kalinina and Tsurenko came through their first-round tests with Anna Bondar and Jodie Burrage respectively on Monday to advance to the next stage.

Both players receive £50,000 for progressing, while £78,000 is up for grabs for the winner of their midweek meeting at the All England Club.

And given the events in Ukraine, where thousands have been killed or wounded since Russia invaded in February and at least 12 million have fled, motivation is not an issue.

"I feel that I play better, just because for me emotionally winning or losing doesn't exist any more," Tsurenko said. "For me, there is a big issue in my life: it's war. And there is nothing else that can beat this.

"I think with all the sportsmen that are able to take part in the competitions, also with all the singers that go to Poland, to Germany, and having all the concerts, that part when Ukrainians can just go and remind the whole world that we are here, we still have war and we need your help.

"This is the main thing that I would wish to happen, that we get a lot of heavy weapons. It's just that we should remind with the fact that we are here and we are playing for my country, for Ukraine. We just want to remind that Ukraine is in trouble and we need help."

Kalinina, who revealed her parents' house in Irpin had been bombed, added: "I understand it’s hard to focus, but for me it matters if I win or if I lose. The more I win, I'm not only helping my family, I'm helping other families and other people.

"You go further. You earn more money. Then I'm able to help, and I'm helping as much as I can and not only to my family. So for me that matters. I'm not a superstar so I'm helping with what I can. And it's a lot to them, and for me that's huge motivation to play. Huge."

Ons Jabeur targeted becoming world number one after making a confident start to her Wimbledon bid, having required just 53 minutes to record a straight-sets win over Mirjam Bjorklund.

Jabeur, who became world number two on Monday – the highest ranking ever achieved by an African player on either the WTA or ATP tour – raced to a 6-1 6-3 first-round victory on No. 1 Court.

The Tunisian, who prepared for her Wimbledon campaign by winning the German Open earlier this month and playing doubles with Serena Williams at the Eastbourne International, will face Katarzyna Kawa in the second round on Wednesday. 

Ranking points are not on offer at the All England Club due to Russian and Belarusian players being banned, but Jabeur is already looking further ahead, declaring after her opener that becoming the world's top female player this year was her aim.

Asked whether she was hopeful of bettering her run to the last eight in SW19 last year, Jabeur said: "Yes, for sure, especially [after] today I achieved my highest ranking.

"It's really amazing to be here, to come back to Wimbledon, to play on one of the greatest surfaces that I like, especially one that loves my drop shots and my slices, so I'm happy to be back and hopefully I'll go further than the quarter-finals.

"It's a great start for me. I want to go as far as I can this tournament and dropping four games is a start.

"In the beginning of the season, I was like number 10 or number nine, and I said, 'I belong in this ranking and I don't feel I deserve to be five or four'.

"Now I feel like I deserve it even more. I feel like I won matches to prove myself on this level.

"I do feel more confident. I do feel like I deserve to be on this level. Hopefully next step will be number one."

Hubert Hurkacz sent down 21 aces in his first-round match at Wimbledon, enough to raise €2,100 for the people of Ukraine but not enough to reach the second round.

The seventh seed, who was a semi-finalist at the All England Club last year, promised on the eve of the championships to donate €100 in aid for every one of his aces.

"Hope my serve works well," Hurkacz wrote on Twitter, and it certainly did across five sets against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Having averaged 11.6 aces per match this season – his 452 the third most on the ATP Tour – Hurkacz had 21 to just three double faults in an effective serving display on Monday.

Unfortunately, Davidovich Fokina was still able to pull off an early upset, narrowly advancing 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 5-7 2-6 7-6 (10-8).

This was the third top-10 win of Davidovich Fokina's career but the first on grass, with his previous two such victories both coming at the Monte-Carlo Masters (vs Matteo Berrettini in 2021 and versus Novak Djokovic in 2022).

While Hurkacz will not add to his ace tally, John Isner undoubtedly will.

He had a remarkable 54 in his five-set win against Enzo Couacaud – as many as Hurkacz managed across six matches in his 2021 run to the last four.

The last player to record 50 or more aces in a grand slam match had also been Isner, against Steven Johnson at the 2020 US Open.

Emma Raducanu was able to set aside her tricky sophomore season and enjoy a winning Centre Court debut at Wimbledon on Monday.

Raducanu is the reigning US Open champion but has struggled to recreate the success of her incredible Flushing Meadows run in 2021.

Playing in the spotlight, the 19-year-old was 8-11 for the year heading to the All England Club, where she enjoyed a breakout campaign last year.

Despite the support of a home British crowd, Raducanu might have hoped for a more straightforward opener, but she navigated a tough test against Alison Van Uytvanck to win 6-4 6-4.

"It's an incredibly special feeling to be coming back here at Wimbledon," Raducanu said on court.

"I could feel the support the minute I walked out of those doors and walking around the grounds.

"I wanted to say thank you to everyone who's been here supporting, through the tough times as well – it's all worth it to play on Centre Court and especially to come through with a win."

Raducanu, who had withdrawn from her previous appearance at the Nottingham Open earlier this month with a side injury, withstood early pressure as the first six games stayed on serve.

However, a streak of 10 consecutive points and three straight games going against the serve altered the pattern of the match completely – ultimately in Raducanu's favour, as she broke first then responded to a break to love with one of her own.

That was just enough to settle the opener, and Raducanu went in pursuit of a swift conclusion to the second, but Van Uytvanck instead made the breakthrough.

This time, however, it was Raducanu's turn to respond immediately, and she came on strong to win the match on Van Uytvanck's serve and jump for joy.

"I'm just so happy to stay another day," she added, with Caroline Garcia up next.

Novak Djokovic became the first male player in the Open Era to win at least 80 matches in all four grand slams with victory over Kwon Soon-woo in the first round of Wimbledon.

The world number three, who is seeking a seventh crown at SW19 to take him level with Pete Sampras and behind only Roger Federer (8), advanced 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 on Monday.

That was Djokovic's 80th win at the All England Club in what was his 90th match, adding to his 85 wins at the French Open, 82 at the Australian Open and 81 at the US Open.

He has won 22 matches in a row at Wimbledon since retiring in his quarter-final with Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals, and is 17-0 in first-round matches in the event.

With 328 grand slam wins to his name, Djokovic is second only to Federer (369) in that regard, with fellow heavyweight Rafael Nadal – in action on Tuesday – boasting 305 wins.

"I am as dedicated as anyone out there," Djokovic, playing his first match on grass this year, said in his interview on Centre Court. "Now that we're at 80, let's get to 100.

"I'm not one of the youngsters any more, but the love for this sport still burns in me and I try to play my best tennis at the grand slams and deliver my best at the best courts. 

"I've said this before but this court is truly special. For me it has always been the court I dreamed of playing and winning and all my childhood dreams came true here.

"It's an honour and pleasure to be back on Centre Court. This sport has given me everything. I owe a lot to the sport and I love it still with all my heart."

 

Novak Djokovic was made to work by Kwon Soon-woo for his place in the second round of Wimbledon as the reigning champion advanced with victory in four sets on Monday.

In the first match of this year's tournament on Centre Court, which had its roof closed due to rain, Djokovic was pegged back at 1-1 but ultimately prevailed 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4.

The six-time champion has now won each of his past 22 matches at the All England Club and will face either Thanasi Kokkinakis or Kamil Majchrzak in the next round.

Djokovic had yet to play on grass in 2022 prior to his opening clash with Kwon and he was far from his fluent best in the first two sets in particular.

Kwon earned the first break of the match in the third game with a glorious forehand, though Djokovic hit back with two breaks of his own to edge the opening set.

The world number 81 earned the only break of serve in the fourth game of the second set, with Djokovic squandering three break points of his own in the following game.

However, the Serbian showed good signs of recovery – and some impressive shots around the court – by holding throughout the third set and breaking Kwon in the eighth game.

Kwon failed to take advantage of two break points in the second game of the final set and it was plain sailing from that point on for Djokovic.

He completed the job in just under two-and-a-half hours and is the first male player in the Open Era with 80 or more main draw wins in all four grand slam tournaments.

Data slam: Djokovic winning streak continues

Djokovic may have slipped down to third in the ATP rankings after a disrupted campaign, and he was not at his best against Kwon, but he remains the man to beat at Wimbledon.

He is without defeat at SW19 since retiring in his quarter-final with Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals, with Monday's victory his 80th in 90 matches in the tournament.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 30/29
Kwon – 31/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 15/2
Kwon – 7/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 4/8
Kwon – 2/6

The ATP and WTA decision to strip Wimbledon of rankings points due to the banning of Russian and Belarusian players was "very disappointing", given there was "no viable alternative".

That was the message from the All England Club's chairman Ian Hewitt in an interview with ESPN ahead of the third major of the year starting on Monday.

Numerous sporting and financial sanctions have been imposed on Russia for their ongoing invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, with Saint Petersburg stripped of the right to host the Champions League final and Russia removed from Qatar World Cup qualifying.

The All England Club followed suit by confirming Russian and Belarusian athletes would not be permitted to play at this year's championships, but the WTA and ATP responded by stripping the major of its ranking points.

Wimbledon's organisers stuck with their decision, questioning the punishment from those governing bodies, and Hewitt says the ban was justified for reasons outside the sport.

"One was a route to consider having personal declarations from players and, frankly, we did not think that was the right approach for a tournament of our kind," Hewitt said.

"We were not willing to put in jeopardy any safety of players, and we think that that route would have involved implications for players' safety or safety of their families, which really left no other viable alternative.

"But also, it was very important to us that Wimbledon, given the profile that we have, should not be used in any way by the propaganda machine which we know the Russian government employs in relation to its own people and how their position in the world is presented, and that would be.

"We just would not countenance Wimbledon success or participation in Wimbledon being misused in that way.

"So as a result of the combination of reasons, we were left with no viable alternative other than to decline entries; we hugely regret the impact on the individual players affected. 

"But we also hugely regret the impact on so many innocent people, which the tragic situation in Ukraine has caused."

The punishment of Russian and Belarusian stars meant world number one Daniil Medvedev will not feature at the grass-court major, and neither will Andrey Rublev, ranked eighth in the world.

Women's world number six Aryna Sabalenka was another to miss out, alongside 13th-ranked Daria Kasatkina and 20th-ranked Victoria Azarenka, but Hewitt stands by the call.

"In relation to the decision of the ATP and WTA to remove ranking points, yes, we are very disappointed with that, we believe it is a disproportionate approach and, frankly, we believe it is more damaging to the interests of a large majority of players, and we regret that decision of the ATP and WTA," he added.

"We respect that opinions do differ, but we would have hoped that there would have been a different way of tackling that in the interests of the players. 

"But as regards our decision, we certainly stand by our decision, and I'd say now our primary focus is to get on with the championships and prove that we are really a championship that is the pinnacle of the sport."

Andy Murray's respect within both the women's and men's professional game could make him an ideal future tennis commissioner, believes Pam Shriver, as Wimbledon gets underway.

The three-time grand slam winner has battled back through injury to reach his best form in arguably half-a-decade and will take to SW19 once more this week.

Murray is nevertheless approaching the final stages of his career, and Shriver – a veteran in women's doubles – thinks that he could turn to the administrative side of the sport once done.

The 35-year-old has often been a strong advocate for equality within the sport, earning the respect of several leading players and figures across the game.

"He could be a future commissioner of tennis," Shriver told Stats Perform. "He has that kind of respect, I think. If he wanted to be a leader when he's finished, he could be a very influential [one].

"I think Andy Murray will be known for his upstanding core values of equality. I know he's well respected in every female locker room on the planet.

"I think the influence of his mom being his coach and such an influential figure in his life [has shaped him]. He's just very popular, I think, in both [the] men's and women's locker rooms."

Murray returns to Wimbledon as he looks to maintain the strong form he showed earlier in June at the Stuttgart Open, facing Australian James Duckworth in the first round on Monday.

At the time of his first triumph on Centre Court in 2013, the Briton was considered part of a 'Big Four' in men's tennis, only for his subsequent struggles with injury to see him slip away from his rivals.

But Shriver believes he has achieved what he set out to do and can be proud of a still exemplary career, adding: [He] wanted to end the 77-year drought at Wimbledon [and he did].

"I'd say along with [Stan] Wawrinka, [he's one of] the two guys that managed to break through more than once during the era of the big three."

Pam Shriver says Serena Williams has built an "all-time great legacy" in tennis and expressed her relief that the legendary American will make her comeback at Wimbledon.

Williams has 23 grand slam singles titles to her name and is just one short of Margaret Court's all-time record as the 40-year prepares to return to The All England Club as a wildcard.

She has not played a singles match since suffering an ankle injury in last year's Wimbledon opener against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Seven-time Wimbledon singles champion Williams will face world number 113 Harmony Tan in the first round on Tuesday, hoping to prove doubters wrong once again.

Three years ago, Williams became the oldest player to reach the singles final at SW19 and in 2016 she became the oldest champion when she beat Angelique Kerber.

Shriver, who reached the last four at Wimbledon in 1981, 1987 and 1988, cannot wait to see Williams back on court at the grass-court major.

"It's fantastic. I mean a month ago, I said it in interviews during Paris [the French Open], it just didn't look likely, there were no signs that were pointing towards her coming back," Shriver told Stats Perform.

"She hadn't posted anything of her workouts, never said anything about it. She'd sort of hinted at it sort of playful way like with a post with Aaron Rodgers, one of our best quarterbacks here.

"And she had sort of put it out there that she was going to play Wimbledon, but then it was like, okay, but who are you working with? Where are you practising? How much are you? Or how much time are you putting into it?

"You're going to go 12 months without a singles match and just rock up at Wimbledon. But it is great news that our last sighting of Serena on the tennis court isn't her limping off Centre Court last year midway through a first set."

 

Williams' first major title came 23 years ago at the US Open and Shriver has hailed her compatriot's astonishing longevity.

"It's an all-time great legacy, starting in 1999 when she won her first major as a 17-year-old at the US Open, upsetting [Martina] Hingis on Arthur Ashe Court," she added.

"She was the first of the Williams sisters to win a singles major. She's been making history since the late 1990s.

"She is now entering her fourth decade of trying to make history on the court and I think it's been exciting to have watched most of it.

"[There are] little things that are so impressive, her Olympic record, incredible. The way she won the gold medal in London in 2012 was as dominant a performance I've ever seen on a foreign tennis court.

"She and Venus are 14-0 in major doubles finals. So look, if you compare her numbers to Martina Navratilova’s numbers, tournament wins-wise, then Martina blows Serena away.

"But that was back in an era where the intent was to play a lot more and there was more of an emphasis placed on tour titles. During Serena’s 20-odd-year career, the emphasis the entire time has been on how many majors can you win. And that's what she's been focused on, especially in the last 10 years."

Emma Raducanu's struggles after winning the US Open were predictable, according to Pam Shriver, who compared becoming a grand slam finalist at such a young age to "going through a trauma".

Raducanu begins her Wimbledon campaign against Alison Van Uytvanck on Monday, having endured an injury-plagued 2022 season after becoming the first qualifier to win a major in New York last September.

The 19-year-old lasted just 36 minutes when making her first grass-court appearance of the year at the Nottingham Open earlier this month, with a side strain the latest in a series of niggling injuries to befall Raducanu.

Fellow British star Andy Murray said on Sunday that Raducanu's rapid rise to stardom had been "difficult to navigate", a view shared by Shriver, who was just 16 years old when she reached the 1978 US Open final, going down to defending champion Chris Evert in straight sets.

Shriver, whose best singles Wimbledon runs saw her reach the last four in 1981, 1987 and 1988, says the monumental nature of Raducanu's achievements always made a difficult year likely.

"I put it down to the fact you won the US Open. It was life-altering, turn-you-upside-down," Shriver told Stats Perform.

"I mean, I didn't know it as far as being a teenage winner, but I was 16 years and two months old playing my second major when I got to the finals, beating [Martina] Navratilova in the semis. It was my home major. 

"I had a tonne of headlines, I had to play Chris Evert in the finals, who was the most famous female tennis player of that moment. It changed my life, and I didn't even win it. 

"I had a hard time winning matches the next 12 months, it took me 18 months to kind of get back on track. It really shakes you. It's almost like going through a trauma, you need some help to get your orientation, your footing. 

"She went from like [number] 350 in the world to like winning a US Open in a few months, so it doesn't surprise me she's struggling."

Raducanu has an 8-11 singles record in 2022 and has attracted media attention for making repeated changes to her coaching team.

A series of coaches including Nigel Sears, Andrew Richardson and Torben Belts have left Raducanu's team since Wimbledon 2021, and Shriver thinks the 19-year-old's coaching merry-go-round has contributed to her challenging season, along with a lack of fitness.

"First off, she just had way too many injuries," Shriver added. "Short term, if she's not healthy enough, that's going to be tough right there. If she can't last at four-all in the third, maybe she should just play singles, not play multiple events. 

"I really would like to see her get a team around her that is consistent, that stays for a couple of years. I don't think this many transitions, especially when you come off what she's come off, winning a major, is good. 

"I think it's proven to not have been good, even though you can say, 'oh, she's mature, she can take this from this coach and this from that coach, and then she can weave it together'.

"I can't do that, and I'm almost 60 – it's much harder. It's much easier said than done, right? She needs to find a coach who is a really experienced coach, who can help navigate this difficult part of her career."

Five-time singles champion Venus Williams showed up at Wimbledon on the eve of the championships, sparking speculation over what role she will play.

The 42-year-old American has played just one tournament since losing to Ons Jabeur in the second round at Wimbledon last year.

That lone appearance came at the Chicago Open in August, when she was beaten in her opening match by Hsieh Su-wei.

Williams has not made a retirement announcement, and it may be that she intends to play an active part in Wimbledon, although she has not entered the women's singles or women's doubles.

The American great has seven grand slams among her 49 career singles titles and has won six Wimbledon doubles crowns with sister Serena Williams, among their 14 slams as sport's greatest sister act.

One avenue that may be open to Venus is mixed doubles. She was not listed on Wimbledon's entry list for the invitational doubles, an event for veterans. The mixed doubles line-up has yet to be revealed.

Williams was pictured at Wimbledon by a Getty photographer at the All England Club, carrying a red sports bag, and later in the evening posted on Instagram that she was at a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at London Stadium.

Serena has entered the singles on a wildcard, having made her competitive comeback on doubles duty alongside Jabeur at Eastbourne after being absent from the tour since last year's Wimbledon. She is a seven-time singles champion at London's grass-court grand slam.

Novak Djokovic would be delighted by the prospect of facing Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon final, as he targets revenge for his French Open loss to the Spaniard.

Nadal remains on course for a calendar Grand Slam after following up January's Australian Open victory with his 14th French Open title earlier this month, having overcome Djokovic in a quarter-final classic on the clay in Paris.

The Spaniard's Roland Garros triumph moved him two clear of Djokovic's tally of 20 grand slam titles, while his last-eight win over the Serbian was his 29th in the pair's head-to-head rivalry (Djokovic has 30 wins).

With 59 career meetings, the duo have met one another more often than any other men's pairing in the Open Era, and they could be set for a final showdown at Wimbledon after landing on opposite sides of the draw.

Speaking to Sky Sports, defending Wimbledon champion Djokovic said he would relish such a contest and insisted Nadal, who has not triumphed on the grass in London since 2010, is among the favourites to take home the title.

 

"If we get to face each other it means we're both in the finals, which I think we both want," Djokovic said.

"It's a very long way [away], but of course you have to put him as one of the favourites, even though he hasn't played at Wimbledon for the last three years [including the cancelled 2020 edition], I think.

"But still, he's Nadal, he has achieved what he has achieved throughout his career and also this year, of course, which gives you a lot of confidence in his case.

"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of great matches ahead for both of us, and if we get to face [each other] in the final… I'd love to face him in the final and get revenge for Paris!"

Nadal has beaten Djokovic in 11 of the duo's 18 grand slam meetings, although the Serbian holds a 2-1 advantage over their three Wimbledon contests, triumphing in the 2011 final and the 2018 semi-finals.

Djokovic begins his Wimbledon campaign by facing Kwon Soon-woo on Centre Court on Monday, with Nadal taking on Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo the following day.

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