Andy Murray plays his first Wimbledon singles match in four years on Monday – with the journey back to Centre Court hailed as an equivalent achievement to his grand slam titles.

The former world number one has battled through injuries that threatened to end his career, so it will be a remarkable feat when he walks out to face Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Murray, who has won Wimbledon twice and the US Open once, as well as landing two Olympic gold medals in singles, underwent hip resurfacing in 2019 but has continued to be plagued by fitness problems.

The tribute to the resilience of the 34-year-old came from women's British number one Johanna Konta, who was cruelly ruled out of Wimbledon on Sunday when a close contact tested positive for COVID-19.

Konta, who spoke to Stats Perform before receiving that painful news, reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2017, the last year Murray played singles at the All England Club.

He was fit enough to play doubles in 2019, partnering Serena Williams in the mixed event, but a billing on the main show court promises to be an emotional occasion for a player who is struggling to repeat past glories.

"I think Andy really represents tenacity and perseverance," said Konta, a Jaguar ambassador.

"He loves this game, he loves winning in this game, he loves being good and great in this game. I think he will keep doing everything he can to keep putting himself back into position to be great."

 

"I think maybe bringing the attention more on the fact he is trying to do that, with the challenges he's had, is what we should be celebrating and we should be really acknowledging.

"I think this is probably equally as difficult as when he won his slams and his gold medals.

"I think it's on a par with that achievement. I think and hope people can see that and really acknowledge it because he really deserves that."


:: 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

Serena Williams has announced she will not take part in the tennis tournament at the Tokyo Olympics.

Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem have already opted out of featuring at the Games next month, with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic yet to commit.

Williams, who made her Olympics debut in 2000 and has four gold medals, is now atop the list of big-name absentees, having previously expressed reservations because she would not be able to take her three-year-old daughter Olympia along with her.

"I'm actually not on the Olympic list – not that I'm aware of. If so, then I shouldn’t be on it," she said at a pre-Wimbledon news conference.

"There's a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision. I don’t feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry."

Williams will begin her pursuit of an eighth Wimbledon and 24th grand slam singles title against Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Tuesday.

After an enforced hiatus in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, tennis returns to SW19.

Novak Djokovic makes his way back to Wimbledon as the defending champion and with the men's grand slam record firmly in his sight.

Djokovic conquered Rafael Nadal en route to French Open glory and his 19th slam crown – one shy of the record shared by rivals Nadal and Roger Federer.

With Nadal and Dominic Thiem absent, Djokovic's path to a 20th major trophy has opened up in London.

The women's title is up for grabs after holder Simona Halep withdrew, and Serena Williams can still dream of making history.

As all eyes shift to the All England Club, Stats Perform looks at the numbers behind this year's slam, using Opta data.

 

Dominant Djokovic

World number one and top seed Djokovic begins his title defence against promising Briton Jack Draper in the first round.

French Open champion Djokovic has won four of the last six Wimbledon tournaments, including each of the past two – the last player to win more at Wimbledon in a row was Federer between 2003 and 2007 (five).

A five-time Wimbledon winner, Djokovic is the only man to have won the first two grand slam tournaments of a calendar year over the last 25 years, doing it in 2016 and 2021. The last man to win the first three grand slams of a calendar year was Rod Laver during his Grand Slam in 1969.

The 2019 Wimbledon final was the first slam decider to be decided by a final set tie-break, with Djokovic beating Federer 7-3 in that tiebreak, while it was also the longest final in Wimbledon history (four hours, 57 minutes).

No man has won Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year since Nadal in 2010.

 

Federer farewell?

The curtain appears to be closing on all-time great Federer, who withdrew from the French Open after a draining four-set win over Dominik Koepfer to preserve his body for the grass season.

This year's Wimbledon could be the 39-year-old's final realistic shot at a grand slam as Djokovic bids to become the greatest of all.

Seeded sixth, Federer – who meets Adrian Mannarino first up – has won the most Wimbledon titles among all male players in the slam's history.

Federer will aim to win his 21st grand slam, which would break a tie with Nadal for the outright men's record.

 

The 'Big Four' and their stranglehold

Injuries have forced two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray to fall out of the equation but there has been no getting past the original 'Big Four'.

Among the men, the last 17 years of Wimbledon has been dominated by the same four players – Federer (eight titles), Djokovic (five), Nadal (two), Murray (two). The last winner at Wimbledon before them was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.

Since Wimbledon in 2004, only one of the 68 slams has not seen at least one of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal in the semi-finals – it was at the US Open last year.

The new generation is headlined by grand slam runners-up Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Medvedev has never passed the third round at Wimbledon, though his two defeats at that stage have both been in five sets. The Russian second seed has reached at least the quarter-finals in three of his last four major tournaments, after reaching that stage in only one of his previous 13.

Beaten by Djokovic in the Roland Garros final, Tsitsipas has reached the semi-finals in his last three slams, having done so only once in his previous 12. The third seed has never reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, however.

Wimbledon is the only slam where fourth seed Alexander Zverev is yet to reach the quarter-final, his best result being a fourth-round performance in 2017. Since the beginning of 2020, he has advanced to the semi-finals in three slam tournaments, after never doing it in his previous 18 such major main-draw appearances.

 

Serena's ongoing quest

The queen of WTA tennis for so long, Serena Williams is one slam success away from matching Margaret Court's record of 24 major singles championships. But the 39-year-old has been stuck on 23 since reigning supreme at the Australian Open in 2017.

Williams, who lost in the French Open fourth round, has won seven Wimbledon titles (level with Steffi Graf) – only Martina Navratilova has more in the Open Era (nine).

American superstar Williams has been a Wimbledon runner-up in 2018 and 2019. Chris Evert is the only player in the Open Era to have lost three consecutive Wimbledon finals (between 1978 and 1980).

Williams, the sixth seed who will clash with Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the opening round, is looking to become only the second woman to win 100 Wimbledon singles matches (currently 98), alongside Navratilova (120). She could also become the first woman to reach 100-plus wins in two different majors (106 wins at the US Open).

From the first Wimbledon final reached by one Williams sister in 2000 (won by Venus against Lindsay Davenport), only in four of 20 editions has neither of the two sisters reached the decider – in 2006 (Amelie Mauresmo-Justine Henin), 2011 (Petra Kvitova-Maria Sharapova), 2013 (Marion Bartoli-Sabine Lisicki) and 2014 (Kvitova-Eugenie Bouchard).

 

Barty party?

Former French Open champion Ash Barty heads to Wimbledon as the top seed and will kick off her title bid against veteran Carla Suarez Navarro.

However, world number one Barty has never reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals. Reaching the 2019 fourth round was her best result. The last Australian woman to reach the quarters at Wimbledon was Jelena Dokic in 2000.

The top seed in the Wimbledon women's singles main draw has been eliminated in the first round just three times in the Open Era – Graf in 1994, Martina Hingis in 1999 and Hingis again in 2001.

Wimbledon is the only major won by Kvitova in her career (2011 and 2014). She is one among the three current players with multiple titles at the All England Club, alongside Serena and Venus Williams.

Karolina Pliskova was the woman with the most aces per match made on average at Wimbledon 2019 (9.0, 36 in total) among players who reached the third round.

Novak Djokovic spent the week before Wimbledon enjoying a challenge for a most unlikely title in Mallorca.

The Serbian reached his first men's doubles final for 11 years when he and Carlos Gomez-Herrera knocked out the third seeds on Thursday. Were it not for an injury to the Spaniard forcing them to withdraw, you would not have put it past Djokovic, a man with 83 singles titles, to have lifted what would have been just a second doubles trophy in his career.

"I don't think we expected to reach the finals," Djokovic admitted after an unexpected, liberating week. "Everything clicked quite amazingly."

That Djokovic could prepare to defend his Wimbledon title by experimenting in the doubles in the Spanish sun should serve as a warning to the rest of the draw. He has not played a Tour-level singles match since that exhausting, extraordinary win at the French Open where he inflicted on Rafael Nadal just the third Roland Garros defeat of his career before recovering from two sets down to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final. That treacherous transition from clay to grass is no problem at all, such is Djokovic's belief in his own powers.

And why not? He has been close to untouchable in 2021: 27 wins and as many titles as defeats, his three trophy wins including the first two grand slams of the year. He has 19 now, just one behind all-time record holders Nadal – who withdrew from Wimbledon and the Olympics after a gruelling clay season – and Roger Federer, who has played only eight matches since the 2020 Australian Open following two knee operations. Djokovic has won four of the past six championships at SW19 and is bidding to become the first man to win three in a row since Federer managed four from 2004 to 2007.

For Federer, 2021 has been about building for these next two months, for another fortnight in London and a final shot at Olympic singles gold. He pulled out of Roland Garros after a draining four-set win over Dominik Koepfer to preserve his body for the grass season, but his bid for an 11th title in Halle ended in a dispiriting second-round loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime.

 

Federer would not admit it publicly, nor perhaps even to himself, but Wimbledon 2021 represents his best remaining chance at winning a major, not least with Nadal and fourth seed Dominic Thiem having pulled out. He should have taken the title the last time the event was played two years ago, when Djokovic survived two match points to win the longest final in history in four hours and 57 minutes. Now 39, having to pick and choose his matches to prolong his career, that unpalatable moment when Federer puts down his racquet for good is starting to loom large on the horizon.

It leaves things beautifully poised at the top of the men's game. Djokovic has always been hindered in conversations around the 'big three'. The 34-year-old has never won the hearts of the wider tennis public in quite the same way as Roger and Rafa, in spite of his best – and occasionally misguided – efforts.

Yet the fact remains we are entering a critical point in this particular GOAT debate. Djokovic leads the head-to-head record against Federer (27-23) and Nadal (30-28). He is the only man in the Open Era to win all four grand slams twice. Nobody has won more Masters 1000 titles (36, level with Nadal), and nobody else has won all nine of those events. He has been world number one for 326 weeks – also a record. And all of his major titles bar one have come in the past 10 years, a time in which Nadal has won 11 and Federer four. This has truly been his decade – at least, if you ignore the doubles.

Should Djokovic win a sixth Wimbledon title, and should he follow that with major number 21 at the US Open, there will be little objective reason not to crown him the greatest men's player ever to play the sport. He knows that.

Perhaps Federer does, too. The lingering regret of losing three finals here to Djokovic, the lure of lifting this trophy for a ninth time, the prospect of halting the Serbian's conquest of the game –perhaps that will inspire the Swiss to what would surely be the greatest triumph of his career. Perhaps, just once more, everything will click.

When two whipsmart kids from Compton first walked through the gates of the All England Club, the history of tennis was ripe for a radical makeover.

With beads in their hair and an air of mystery tailgating them onto the tour, this pair of teenage prodigies soon had the world at their feet.

Now, Serena Williams and Venus Williams are as much a part of Wimbledon tradition as strawberries and cream, and the championships without them is almost unthinkable.

Stacking up a combined 12 singles titles from Wimbledon, and a string of staggering records, this great sporting double act has defined the past quarter of a century in the women's game.

Venus is now 41 years old, and kid sister Serena turns 40 in September. Both will be going flat out for more success at Wimbledon and over the course of the rest of the year. They have been relentless and supremely driven in the pursuit of greatness.

But it feels legitimate now to be talking about how the WTA Tour and the grand slams will look without the Williamses, because as much as they have together pushed the boundaries of achievement in tennis, neither can defy the march of time.

Or at least they cannot keep pushing back against that march, since both have done a truly spectacular job so far.

"Venus and Serena, they changed the game, they elevated the game, and that is the biggest thing that could happen to our sport," Johanna Konta, Britain's former Wimbledon semi-finalist, told Stats Perform.

"They changed the physical requirements, they pushed the whole level of the sport so high, which I think has really accelerated the depth of women's tennis that we're seeing today, and so I can't imagine the day coming when they're not playing.

"I'm sure it will come at some point, but I'm not too sure when that day will be."

 


AGE NO BARRIER?

Serena has a place in the record books as the oldest women's world number one, having last occupied that position in May 2017 at the age of 35 years and 230 days. Next on that list sit Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, both a relatively fledgling 30 when they were last in the top spot.

She is also the second oldest player to hold a top-10 WTA ranking. On Monday, as the championships begin, Serena, currently the world number eight, will be 39 years and 275 days old. Only Billie Jean King (39 years 322 days in October 1983) has held such a lofty place among the sport's elite later in life.

Navratilova comes next, with Venus just a short step behind in fourth place, having last been in the top 10 in July 2018, aged 38 and 29 days.

If Serena wins the women's singles title at Wimbledon this year – and several British bookmakers see her as favourite – it will make her the oldest player in the Open Era to win a title on the women's tour.

King won at Birmingham in 1983 at 39 years and 203 days, and Williams sits fourth on that particular list of the oldest champions for now, having captured the 2020 Auckland title at 38 years and 108 days.

The oldest Wimbledon women's singles champion remains Charlotte Cooper Sterry, triumphant for Britain in 1908 at 37 years and 282 days.

An injection of power and physicality, alongside a whole lot of finesse, has seen the Williamses bring a new dimension to tennis. It is far removed from the game Sterry might have played.


SERVING UP SCUDS

In 2010, only one player on the WTA Tour served more than 300 aces, yet by 2019, the most recent uninterrupted season, that had risen to seven players.

Advances in technology are a factor here, but so too is the scenario whereby a young girl watches Serena and Venus whizzing serves by opponents' ears around the turn of the century and wants to learn how that is done.

Serving need not just be the moment where a point begins, it can be the shot that ends the point too.

Venus owns the record for the fastest serve ever recorded by a woman at Wimbledon – sending down a 129 miles per hour scud on her way to victory in the 2008 final. The player on the receiving end of such vicious hitting that day? Serena.

"I'm glad she did it, because next time I know what to expect," was Serena's punchy post-match response.

From 2008, when the WTA first began to collect such statistics, through to 2016, Serena topped the charts every season when it came to the highest percentage of service games won.

She has also led the way in percentages of first-serve points won in eight of the last 13 seasons.

On July 5, 2012, Serena fired 24 aces past Victoria Azarenka in their Wimbledon semi-final and paired that women's singles record with another – her 102 aces across seven matches also setting an all-time tournament high.

Serena has a 98-12 win-loss career record in singles at Wimbledon, with Venus not far behind on 89-17. Where Venus has won five or her seven slam titles on the grass in London, Serena has accrued seven of her 23 majors at the championships.

Only nine-time champion Navratilova (120) has won more women's singles matches at Wimbledon than Serena. Roger Federer (101) leads the way among the men.

 


SHOWING SERENA THE WAY IN SAN JOSE

Konta handed Serena the heaviest defeat of her career in 2018, inflicting a 6-1 6-0 thrashing in San Jose.

The British player, however, is fully appreciative of Serena's standing in the game, the American's status as an all-time sports great. For Williams to leave the tour would leave a huge hole.

"I don't know anything else. I think that's a very lucky and privileged thing to say as an athlete, to be playing at the same time as one of our greatest ever," said Konta, a Jaguar ambassador.

"Equally, the men can say that with the likes of Roger, Rafa and Djokovic around, it's just a really exciting time to be part of the world of tennis.

"You constantly see players retiring as the years go by; it's a normal process. We had Maria [Sharapova] and Caroline [Wozniacki] retire at the beginning of last year. I think the way they timed their retirement was absolutely incredible.

"It's a normal course to happen, so from a player's perspective there'll be the initial thought of 'Oh my goodness, she's retiring', but the game keeps going and players keep playing.

"More than anything, not having Serena around anymore it will maybe be more noticeable in the fans, in the fandom, in the outside part of the sport, because she is such a big figurehead of our sport and rightly so."

Serena has reached the Wimbledon final on seven of her last 10 appearances in SW19, collecting five titles in that time. The final defeats during that span came in the last two years that Wimbledon has been held, however, with defeats to Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep sure to leave some scars.

 


THE KAFELNIKOV INFLUENCE

In recent years, Serena has invited the likes of showbiz A-listers Jay-Z, Beyonce and Drake to sit in her player's box at courtside, while she is a close friend of Meghan Markle and was a royal wedding guest.

She and Venus were once unknown quantities, but now both transcend their sport.

By the age of 16, Serena had it all mapped out, and her Wimbledon success can be attributed in a very small way to an unexpected Russian influence.

"I have decided when I go on the grass, I am going to serve and volley. There is one man player who plays great on the clay, and then on the grass he actually serves and volleys," Williams told a news conference at the 1998 Lipton Championships in Florida, weeks before her Wimbledon debut. "And I said, Serena, I have to do the same thing."

Who was this mystery man? All-court greats had been in short supply. Agassi?

"Yevgeny Kafelnikov, he plays great on the clay. He actually won the French Open," Williams said at the time. "He actually serve and volleys on the grass. I said, I have to do this too. If he can do it, I believe I can do it. That really helps me."

Former world number one Kafelnikov never went beyond the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, but his surprising influence lives on.

Serena is one short of Margaret Court's all-time record of grand slam titles and dearly wants to at least match that haul but ideally reach 25. The Wimbledon title looks out of reach for Venus, who has fallen out of the world's top 100, but for Serena it is a realistic target.

The elite field is thinning, with Naomi Osaka and defending champion Halep among the withdrawals, and there are question marks over the form and fitness of many other big names in the draw.

The eighth Wimbledon and 24th singles slam feels eminently achievable, and what a moment for the ages that would be.

 


GOING ON THE KONTA ATTACK

Konta was only denied a place in the 2017 Wimbledon final by a valiant Venus, the 37-year-old American experiencing a late-career resurgence during what proved a stellar year for her.

It nevertheless gave the Australian-born Briton a real taste, with a win over Halep en route to the semi-finals showing she has the game to take on the best on grass.

Another grand slam semi-final followed in 2019, this time on clay at the French Open, and quarter-final runs at Wimbledon and the US Open confirmed Konta was the real deal. She previously reached the 2016 Australian Open final four.

It has been tough going since then though, Konta going out in the first round at four of the last five grand slams. Injuries have got in the way, and the joy she felt at winning a title in Nottingham in June 2021 was tempered slightly by a slight knee problem.

That success on English grass was a first tour title for Konta since the 2017 Miami Open, and life for her is good in many respects. On May 17, her 30th birthday, she and boyfriend Jackson Wade became engaged, or as she puts it, they killed "two birds with one stone when it came to milestones on that day".

Assuming the knee holds up, success in Nottingham could pave the way for another fruitful Konta campaign at Wimbledon. Last year's tournament being cancelled due to the pandemic was a blow to everyone but particularly felt by the British players.

"I was really pleased with having won a title, the first title I've won in a few years," Konta said. "It's a very nice accomplishment and something I definitely don't take for granted, because coming by titles is very difficult.

"Obviously, I'm just trying to do the best I can in managing my body. After the quick change onto the grass I just need to take care of the different little niggles that I have and the ongoing things and anything new that arises, but I'm definitely looking forward to Wimbledon.

"I think it's just the fact that we have Wimbledon again this year. Wimbledon's such a big part of our sporting calendar here and our sporting summer.

"For the nation and for international tennis fans, I think it's just really brilliant. The fact we are going to have crowds, that will be almost a new experience having not played in front of big crowds for a long time."

Could Konta even win Wimbledon, becoming Britain's first women's singles champion since Virginia Wade in 1977?

"I definitely feel I have every chance to look to win seven consecutive matches," Konta said. "It's a hard ask and it's difficult to do, but I feel like I have every opportunity, every chance to give it a go and I'm looking forward to trying."

:: 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

Roger Federer will not make a final decision on whether he will play at the Olympic Games in Tokyo until after Wimbledon.

An Olympic gold medal is the one major honour to have eluded Federer during his decorated singles career.

The 20-time grand slam champion won gold in doubles alongside Stan Wawrinka in 2008 but was beaten by Andy Murray in the singles final in 2012 and pulled out of the tournament in 2016 to recover from a knee injury.

Rafael Nadal will not feature in Tokyo, having decided to skip Wimbledon and the Olympics to help him recuperate after the clay-court season.

Federer has grown significantly more selective over his schedule in the latter stages of his career as he has sought to look after his body.

Asked about his participation at the delayed Games, which begin next month, Federer told a media conference: "It's still my intention to go to the Olympic Games.

"But we will reassess everything after Wimbledon. It is my goal to play as much tournaments as possible. But it really depends on results and how the body is feeling.

"I wish I could tell you more. At the moment things are not as simple as in the past. With age, we have to be more selective, I can't play it all."

Federer starts his campaign for a ninth Wimbledon title when he faces Adrian Mannarino on Tuesday.

The Swiss has won all six of his meetings with Mannarino, including matches at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2018.

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

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.

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.

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