Novak Djokovic will start the defence of his Wimbledon title against British wildcard Jack Draper, and Serena Williams takes on Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round.

Djokovic is just one grand slam title away from matching Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's record tally of 20 after winning the Australian Open and French Open this year.

The world number one will take on 19-year-old Draper, a quarter-finalist at Queen's Club last week, in his first match at SW19 for two years after the 2020 championships were called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Djokovic faces a potential quarter-final against Andrey Rublev, while Federer could come up against second seed Daniil Medvedev in last eight.

 

First up for eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer is an encounter with Adrian Mannarino, while injury-plagued two-time winner Andy Murray will start his home major against the 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, beaten by Djokovic in a thrilling French Open final this month, has been drawn to face American Frances Tiafoe in round one of a tournament that gets under way on Monday.

Simona Halep announced just before the draw was made on Friday that she would not defend her title due to a calf injury.

Williams, runner-up to Halep in the 2019 final, must get past Sasnovich of Belarus in the first round and could face third seed Elina Svitolina at the quarter-final stage.

World number one and top seed Ash Barty takes on Carla Suarez Navarro, who made a grand slam return at Roland Garros after recovering from cancer. Barty could come up against Bianca Andreescu in the last eight.

Petra Kvitova against Sloane Stephens is a standout first-round match, while Coco Gauff's first assignment will be a meeting with 20-year-old Briton Fran Jones.

Defending champion Simona Halep has withdrawn from Wimbledon due to a calf injury.

Halep has been out of action since she was helped off the court after suffering a tear of her left calf during a match against Angelique Kerber in Rome last month.

The two-time grand slam champion had hoped to be fit to defend her title at the All England Club after travelling to London, but pulled out just three days before the tournament gets under way.

"It is with great sadness that I'm announcing my withdrawal from The Championships as my calf injury has not fully recovered," said the 29-year-old Romanian, who also missed the French Open.

"I gave it everything I had in order to be ready to play Wimbledon and after having such special memories from two years ago, I was excited and honoured to step back on these beautiful courts as defending champion.

"Unfortunately, my body didn't cooperate and I'll have to save that feeling for next year.

"I can honestly say that I'm really down and upset about having to take this decision. This period has been difficult but to miss the last two majors has made it even more challenging mentally and physically.

"We will see what the future holds but I'm hoping it will make me a stronger person and athlete.

"Thank you to everyone at Wimbledon for your understanding and support."

Halep won her first Wimbledon title two years ago, outclassing Serena Williams 6-2 6-2 on Centre Court.

Dominic Thiem has been ruled out of Wimbledon after tests on a wrist injury and faces a race to be fully fit in time to defend his US Open title.

The world number five retired from his match against Adrian Mannarino in the Mallorca Championships on Tuesday, when 5-2 up in the opening set.

Checks on the wrist by a specialist in Barcelona have shown Thiem needs time away from tennis, meaning Wimbledon is off the table along with tournaments in Hamburg and Gstaad in July.

According to a medical bulletin issued on Thiem's social media accounts, it will be five weeks before he can remove a wrist splint and begin to step up his recovery.

With the US Open beginning on August 30, that does not leave a lot of time for Thiem to recover physical fitness and find his best tennis. He would have been seeded number four at Wimbledon.

The medical bulletin read: "Tests found that there is a 'detachment of the posterior sheath of the ulnar side of the right wrist', an injury that will not allow him to compete in the circuit for several weeks.

"Thiem will wear a wrist splint for five weeks before beginning a progressive process of specific, functional rehabilitation to regain mobility as well as muscle strength in his wrist and ultimately return to training on court."

Thiem, who had already decided against playing at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, appears to be hoping his lay-off is not as long as the experts have forecast.

He will undergo MRI scans and tests as his recovery progresses, and the 27-year-old Austrian said: "I'm going to do everything the doctors say in order to recover as quickly as possible.

"They've informed me that I might be out for several weeks, but I will do my best to be back on court soon.

"I'm really sorry for pulling out of the upcoming three tournaments I had in my calendar: Wimbledon, Hamburg and Gstaad.

"They are very important tournaments for me. I appreciate all the support from the fans in these difficult moments – I'm determined to come back stronger."

Thiem's absence is another blow for Wimbledon, with Rafael Nadal and Naomi Osaka having already announced they would not be playing the tournament.

Andy Murray is hopeful 2021 will prove not to be his last appearance at Wimbledon.

The two-time tournament winner has been handed a wildcard for the grass-court grand slam in London, which was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Murray also missed the 2018 and 2019 tournaments due to injury, so this year will be his first Wimbledon outing since reaching the quarter-finals in 2017, when the ailing Briton suffered a five-set defeat to Sam Querrey.

Ahead of his first Wimbledon appearance in four years, the 34-year-old hopes to play in many more, though he will savour the experience and take nothing for granted given his recent injury woe.

"To me it's not so much about me worrying about it being my last one, it's just something that I think about," Murray told Sky News.

"I don't want it to be my last Wimbledon, certainly I want to keep playing, I don't want to stop just now, so yeah I want to keep going.

"I've had so many injuries and so many setbacks you just don't really know what's round the corner.

"I want to approach each tournament and each match that I play like it's my last one so that I can get the most out of it.

"So that's why I want to prepare here well. I'm going into the bubble on Wednesday evening so I'm going to get there early to practise at Wimbledon. 

"Hopefully I've got some high quality practices – I'm practising with Marin Cilic and I practise with Roger Federer later in the week.

"I'm just trying to play with high quality grass court players to prepare me as best as possible." 

 

Murray, who has undergone two hip surgeries since he last played at Wimbledon, earned an impressive win on the grass over Benoit Paire at Queen's last week.

He then lost in straight sets to eventual champion Matteo Berrettini in round two.

As long as he can prepare properly and remain competitive, three-time grand slam champion Murray, who has also previously won the US Open, wants to battle on.

He added: "It's more about the body if I'm restricted in how I can prepare. 

"If I can't prepare properly to compete then that's when it's not fair on yourself to keep putting yourself out there, because you're not properly prepared and can't do yourself justice.

"So if that was the case and I was having to compromise on my training just to get out there on a match court and my results weren't good – that is something I'd look at. 

"But providing I can train and prepare well and I'm enjoying it I'll do it for as long as I can."

Britain's biggest hope for Wimbledon glory believes All England Club absentee Naomi Osaka deserves admiration for her impact on and off the court this year.

Johanna Konta beat Osaka three times before the Japanese player went on a stratospheric rise, and she still holds that 3-0 record, given the pair have surprisingly gone four years without facing each other on tour.

While Konta will bid to become a first British champion in the Wimbledon women's singles since 1977 winner Virginia Wade, superstar Osaka has elected to skip the grand slam which begins next Monday, just weeks after withdrawing from the French Open.

Osaka is the reigning US Open and Australian Open champion, but she abandoned her Roland Garros campaign on May 31 after a first-round win and revealed a long-endured battle with depression.

She made that announcement a day after the grand slams warned she could be thrown out of their tournaments for repeatedly skipping mandatory post-match media duties, with Osaka receiving messages of support from the likes of Serena and Venus Williams and Billie Jean King.

The 23-year-old had already declared she would not take part in media conferences during her stay in Paris for the sake of her mental health, questioning the set-up of such interviews and why sporting bodies insist stars must always take part. She faced criticism from some quarters but has started a wider, valuable conversation about how athletes are treated.

Osaka, who last year was ranked by Forbes as the highest-paid female athlete in world sport, has been a powerful and uncompromising voice on race and gender inequality issues, with Konta impressed by the impact such a young player is having.

"As a tennis player she's a four-time grand slam champion already, so she's an incredibly gifted, good tennis player and she is reaching the results that prove that as well," said Konta, a Jaguar ambassador.

"I think for the game, she'll probably be around and be successful for quite some time to come.

"She has a big passion for social movements and current social matters and she feels empowered by using her voice in ways she feels is beneficial to things that she believes in and that's her prerogative to do so.

"And I think that as long as people stay authentic to themselves and what they believe in, I think they make the biggest positive impact they can, and that is the rule of thumb that she's following.

"Obviously a lot of people will find a lot of solace in someone as successful as her talking about things that maybe they experience but don't have the sort of social platform or, I guess, strength of voice to be able to put it in the public domain. Kudos to her for being true to herself."

Konta's wins over Osaka came at the second-round stage of the 2015 US Open, the same round at the 2017 Australia Open, and later in 2017 in Stuttgart.

Their next meeting could come at the Tokyo Olympics, with both planning to take part, Osaka hoping to strike what would be a famous gold for Japan.

The best tennis of Konta's 2021 season so far saw her land a grass-court title at the Nottingham Open this month, becoming the first British woman to win a WTA singles tournament on home soil since Sue Barker did so at the Daihatsu Challenge event in Brighton in 1981.

It gave Konta a first trophy since winning the Miami Open in 2017 and a fourth career title, with the former world number four hitting her stride in timely fashion ahead of a Wimbledon tilt.

For any British player at Wimbledon, attention can be intense, but that is particularly the case for the few who have enjoyed success on a scale Konta has experienced, reaching the semi-finals in 2017 and getting through to the quarters two years ago, the last time the tournament was held.

She has found ways to alleviate the pressure from her own perspective, explaining how she took the heat out of situations so successfully in previous championships.

"Playing in 2017 and getting to the semis there, I didn't feel too overwhelmed by attention," Konta, 30, said in an interview with Stats Perform.

"I think attention can only be too overwhelming if you put yourself in the position where you are looking for it and acknowledging it.

"For me, I would wake up, have breakfast, get in my own car and drive myself to the site, warm up and play my match and do the media and all that, then I'd get in my car and come home, have dinner, watch a series or watch a film, but I wasn't spending my time on social media, I wasn't watching the news, I wasn't really doing too much.

"The only time I noticed that things were happening was when I needed to pop to the supermarket to get some food, and all the newspapers that were there had my face on them, so that was an interesting one."


:: Johanna Konta is a Jaguar ambassador. Jaguar is the Official Car of The Championships, Wimbledon. To discover Jaguar’s unmatched experiences visit jaguar.co.uk/Wimbledon

Matteo Berrettini became the first Queen's Club Championships debutant to carry off the singles trophy since Boris Becker, as the Italian landed the biggest title of his career.

The world number nine beat British hope Cameron Norrie 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 in the London showpiece match on Sunday, setting himself up ideally ahead of a Wimbledon mission later this month.

Whereas Becker was 17 when he triumphed at Queen's Club in 1985, going on to be champion at Wimbledon just weeks later, Berrettini is 25 years old and established as a leading player.

His big serve – an aspect of his game he shares with vintage Becker – proved a huge asset against Norrie as Berrettini served 19 aces and won 91 per cent of points when landing his first delivery.

Norrie could not forge a break point but did commendably well to force a deciding set in a match that lasted three minutes short of two hours.

Berrettini said he had experienced an "unbelievable week", lifting his first title at ATP 500 level, and he was blown away by the Becker link.

"If I think about his name and my name, it's crazy," he said in an on-court interview.

"I was dreaming about playing this tournament. I was watching when I was a kid and now I had the chance to lift the trophy. It's a dream come true."

Berrettini could be a threat to anyone if his serve fires at Wimbledon, and he was proud of how he fended off Norrie.

"I didn't check the numbers during the match. I knew I was serving well," said Berrettini. "I knew it was important because in the rallies this guy is dangerous. I knew I had to play my best tennis."

Berrettini said his celebrations were likely to be muted, given he is in a pre-Wimbledon bubble, predicting his team would limit his post-match treats to "probably room service and sparkling water".

There would be cause for greater cheer if Berrettini goes on a run at the All England Club, with Wimbledon due to begin on June 28. His previous best performance at Wimbledon was a run to the fourth round two years ago.

Berrettini told Amazon Prime: "I know it's going to be a really tough tournament.

"Probably all the players have extra motivation to play well there so it's going to be tough, but I have a lot of confidence."

Simona Halep will not make her comeback in the inaugural Bad Homburg Open but remains hopeful of being fit to defend her Wimbledon title.

The two-time grand slam champion has been sidelined since suffering a calf injury during her a second-round match against Angelique Kerber at the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome last month.

Halep was due to feature in a new grass-court tournament in Bad Homburg, which starts on Sunday, but is not ready to return.

The world number three is determined to be back at full fitness to feature in the third major of the year at the All England Club.

She revealed in a social media post on Saturday: "I will not compete because my calf is not ready for a competition. I feel sorry about that and sad, because it's a beautiful place.

"I will keep practising because I really want to be able to play at Wimbledon, but for now I have to take care of my body and see how the recovery is going.

Wimbledon gets under way on June 28, having been cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dominic Thiem has joined Rafael Nadal in announcing he will not compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The 27-year-old US Open champion pinned his decision on the belief he would struggle to find his best form, having endured a tough 2021 season so far.

Thiem has lost his last three matches, including a first-round defeat to Pablo Andujar at the French Open, and has an overall 9-8 win-loss record for the year.

World number five Thiem confirmed, however, that he intends to play Wimbledon, which begins on June 28, and will then focus on getting in the best possible shape for his grand slam title defence at Flushing Meadows.

Nadal said earlier on Thursday that he would play neither Wimbledon nor the Olympics, where the tennis tournament starts on July 24, because he wished to recover from his clay-court season efforts.

Women's tour superstar Naomi Osaka has elected to miss Wimbledon but said on Thursday she would represent Japan at her home Olympics.

Thiem revealed his Olympics decision in a statement posted on his Twitter page, saying: "After talking with my team and analysing the situation I have taken the very difficult decision to withdraw from competing in the Tokyo Olympics.

"For me, like all athletes, taking part in the Olympics and representing my country is a huge honour and that makes this decision even tougher. However, 2021 did not start as expected and I don't feel ready to play my best in Tokyo.

"These last two weeks I have been training hard – and I’m starting to improve my conditioning and concentration little by little. My goal is to work hard the coming weeks, give my best at Wimbledon and keep training and hopefully defend my US Open title.

"I wish the entire Austrian team traveling to Tokyo all the best. I am young and I hope to be able to play for Austria at the Olympics in Paris 2024."

Naomi Osaka will not take part in Wimbledon, but is expecting to return to the court in time to feature for Japan at the Tokyo Olympics.

Osaka withdrew from the French Open having won her first-round match, after she was fined and threatened with further punishment – and possible expulsion from the grand slam – for skipping obligatory media duties.

The four-time grand slam champion had confirmed before Roland Garros that she would not be taking part in post-match news conferences, suggesting her mental health was not helped by having to attend the mandatory interviews.

Osaka, the world number two, stated she has had "long bouts of depression" since winning the 2018 US Open title.

With Wimbledon starting at the end of June, Osaka has decided to skip the third grand slam of the year, and instead take time away from tennis.

However, she aims to be back to represent Japan in their home Olympic Games, which start next month.

A statement from Osaka's representatives confirmed that she will miss Wimbledon while taking some personal time with friends and family, but that she will be ready for the Olympics.

The 23-year-old's withdrawal came on the same day that Rafael Nadal – a beaten semi-finalist at Roland Garros – confirmed he would not play at Wimbledon or the Olympics.

Nadal, 35, explained that the quick turnaround from a gruelling campaign in Paris to another tough schedule at Wimbledon presented too much of a risk to his fitness.

The US Open is set to be the first tennis grand slam to operate at full spectator capacity for its duration since COVID-19 became a global crisis.

Tournament organisers said on Thursday that the major, which was played behind closed doors in 2020, would not impose reduce attendance measures this year.

"New York is back, and so are the fans," a statement on the tournament's website said. "The 2021 US Open will welcome fans back to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at 100 per cent capacity for the two-week tournament."

Mike Dowse, chief executive of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), said: "We are extremely excited to be able to welcome our incredible fans back to the US Open this year.

"While we were proud that we were able to hold the event in 2020, we missed having our fans on-site, because we know that they are a large part of what makes the US Open experience unlike any other.

"Indeed, the challenges presented by the pandemic were tough on us all, but our sport came together like never before and tackled each challenge head on."

Dowse added: "Our sport surged in the toughest of times, and this year's US Open promises to be an unforgettable celebration of the game, those who play it, and those who revel in it."

The tournament added that it would follow all COVID-related guidelines, although its intention clearly is to run the major in as normal a manner as is possible.

The US Open's announcement came on the day tickets went on sale for the upcoming Wimbledon championship, which begins on June 28. The grass-court slam was cancelled last year.

Wimbledon will operate at a 50 per cent attendance restriction for much of its duration, although the weekend of the finals is due to see Centre Court at 100 per cent capacity.

The French Open functioned with a vastly reduced number of tickets available in both its 2020 and 2021 editions, compared to previous years.

The Australian Open in February capped spectator numbers at 30,000, although a snap lockdown in Melbourne meant there were no crowds for five days midway through the event, with Rod Laver Arena then limited to approximately 50 per cent capacity for the closing stretch of the event.

Naomi Osaka and Dominic Thiem won the women's and men's singles titles at the 2020 US Open, and this year's tournament runs from August 30 to September 12.

Rafael Nadal will not compete at Wimbledon or the Olympic Games as he bids to prolong his prolific career.

The 20-time grand slam champion was knocked out of the French Open at the semi-final stage by eventual winner Novak Djokovic.

And, with just a two-week gap to the grass-court slam in London, the 35-year-old has opted against taking part at the All England Club or the Games in Tokyo.

"Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year's Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo," the Spaniard tweeted.

"It's never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision.

"The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at he maximum level of competition."

Nadal explained that the quick turnaround from a gruelling campaign in Paris to another tough schedule at Wimbledon presented too much of a risk to his fitness.

"The fact that there has only been two weeks between RG [Roland Garros] and Wimbledon didn't make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay court season," he said.

"They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused looking at the mid and long term.

"Sport prevention of any kind of excess in my body is a very important factor at this stage of my career in order to try to keep fighting for the highest level of competition and titles.

"I want to send a special message to my fans around the world, to those in the United Kingdom and Japan in particular.

"The Olympic Games always meant a lot and they were always a priority as a Sports person, I found the spirit that every sports person in the world wants to live. I personally had the chance to live 3 of them and had the honor to be the flag bearer for my country."

Nadal is a two-time Wimbledon champion and took gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Rafael Nadal will not compete at Wimbledon or the Olympic Games as he bids to prolong his prolific career.

The 20-time grand slam champion was knocked out of the French Open at the semi-final stage by eventual winner Novak Djokovic.

And, with just a two-week gap to the grass-court slam in London, the 35-year-old has opted against taking part at the All England Club or the Games in Tokyo.

"Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year's Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo," the Spaniard tweeted.

"It's never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision.

"The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at he maximum level of competition."

Former world number ones Andy Murray and Venus Williams have been given Wimbledon wildcards.

Three-time grand slam champion Murray missed the French Open to focus on the grass-court season, having been troubled by a groin injury.

The 34-year-old Brit, ranked 124th in the world, was emotional after beating Benoit Paire 6-2 6-2 in his first ATP Tour singles match since March on Tuesday.

Murray's career was in doubt after he underwent hip resurfacing in 2019, but the 34-year-old double Wimbledon champion will play in his home major at the All England Club.

Williams, a winner of five Wimbledon singles titles and a six-time doubles champion at the grass-court major, also received a wild card after dropping out of the top 100 in the rankings.

The 40-year-old American will be in the singles draw 21 years after winning her first Wimbledon title.

Wimbledon did not take place last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but will be the first major outdoor sports in England to be staged with full capacity crowds for the finals weekend of July 10-11.

The Championships will start at SW19 on June 28 with 50 per cent capacity across the venue grounds, Centre Court and No.1 Court. Smaller show courts will be allowed to open at 75 per cent capacity from day one.

From the fourth round, the aim is to increase allocations for Centre Court and No.1 Court, rising to 100 per cent for the finals.

There will be capacity crowds for the Wimbledon finals next month and around 45,000 people are set to be allowed into Wembley for the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced a four-week delay in lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England to July 19 due to rising cases of the Delta variant.

However, Wimbledon and the European Championship are being treated as test events, so there is set to be a full house of 15,000 on Centre Court for the championship matches on the weekend of July 10-11.

The grass-court grand slam will be the first outdoor sporting event to have a capacity crowd since the start of the pandemic.

When the tournament, which was not staged last year due to the COVID-19 crisis, starts on June 28 it will be at 50 per cent capacity.

A statement from the All England Club said: "We are pleased to have worked closely with the government, public health bodies, and our local authority in Merton, to confirm that, as part of this next phase of pilot events, The Championships 2021 will begin on Monday 28 June with 50 per cent capacity across the Grounds, building to full capacity crowds of 15,000 on Centre Court for the finals weekend.

"This will enable us to fulfil our aspiration of staging the best Wimbledon possible within the current circumstances, with the health and safety of all those who make Wimbledon happen - our guests, competitors, members, staff, media, officials, local residents, and partners - remaining our highest priority."

Crowds for England's first two Euro 2020 group games at Wembley have been capped at 22,500, but that figure is expected to be doubled so the stadium is half full for the semi-finals and final.

The semi-finals will be staged on July 6 and 7, with the final held on July 11.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "We want to gather further evidence on how we can open up all big events safely, and for good.

"The expansion of trials of the NHS app and lateral flow testing will mean that bigger crowds will be able to attend a limited number of major sporting and cultural events early this summer as part of our events research programme.

"In the next few weeks, this means more fans enjoying the Euros and Wimbledon, and some of our biggest cultural and sports events."

Simona Halep will play in the inaugural Bad Homburg Open as she aims to return to fitness ahead of defending her Wimbledon title.

World number three and two-time grand slam winner Halep last month withdrew from the French Open after sustaining a calf injury.

The Romanian is targeting a return in time for the grass-court swing and will feature at the new WTA 250 event in Germany.

Designed with preparation for Wimbledon in mind, the Bad Homburg Open will run from June 20-26.

Halep, who has accepted a wildcard, is one of three former Wimbledon winners to be participating, alongside Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova.

"I have some good news to share with you," Halep said in a video posted to her official Twitter account.

"I am super excited to announce that I will be playing for the first edition in Bad Homburg and I am looking forward to seeing all of the fans in the stands."

Halep, who has also triumphed at Roland Garros, overcame Serena Williams 6-2 6-2 in the 2019 Wimbledon final.

The grand slam in London did not take place last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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