Reigning Women’s World Athletics 200m champion, Shericka Jackson, has achieved another remarkable feat as she secures a spot among the nominees for the highly prestigious 2024 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year. The announcement, made on Monday, February 26, recognizes Jackson's outstanding achievements on the track.

Jackson, who clinched her second world 200m title in Budapest last year with a remarkable time of 21.41 seconds, stands as the second-fastest of all time, just seven hundredths of a second shy of Florence Griffith-Joyner's 35-year-old record. Additionally, she earned a silver medal in the 100m at the World Championships and dominated the 2023 Diamond League, claiming titles in both the 100m and 200m events. Her exceptional form was further emphasized by a personal best of 10.65 seconds at the Jamaica national championships in June.

The Jamaican sprinter finds herself in the esteemed company of two other track and field luminaries: Women's World 100m champion Sha’Carri Richardson of the USA and Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, who made history by becoming the first woman to triumph in both the 1,500 and 5,000 meters at the World Championships.

The list of nominees is completed by outstanding athletes from various disciplines, including Spanish footballer Aitana Bonmati, American skier Mikaela Shiffrin, and Polish tennis sensation Iga Swiatek.

It's worth noting that Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce claimed the prestigious Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award in 2023. This adds an extra layer of distinction to Jackson's nomination, as she follows in the footsteps of her illustrious compatriot.

The Laureus World Sportsman of the Year category boasts an equally formidable lineup, featuring Noah Lyles, Novak Djokovic, Mondo Duplantis, Lionel Messi, Erling Haaland, and Max Verstappen.Mikae

 

Iga Swiatek will take on Elena Rybakina as she bids for a third consecutive title at the Qatar Open.

The world number one did not even have to take to the court on Friday, earning a semi-final walkover when opponent Karolina Pliskova withdrew because of a back problem.

The Czech dashed to Doha after winning the Transylvania Open title in Romania on Sunday but decided she could not push her body any further.

Rybakina is also attempting to win back-to-back titles after triumphing at the Abu Dhabi Open last week, and she ended the impressive run of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova with a 6-2 6-4 victory in the last four.

It was closer than the scoreline indicates, with Rybakina saving eight of the nine break points she faced. Pavlyuchenkova won three games in a row from 5-1 down in the second set but could not force a decider.

Rybakina has proved one of the most difficult opponents for Swiatek, with the Kazakh number one winning their last three meetings, all last season.

Rybakina prevailed in straight sets on hard courts at both the Australian Open and Indian Wells before Swiatek retired in the third set of their clash on clay in Rome.

Rybakina, who has now won eight straight matches, said: “First I will try to recover because I played so many matches. Iga’s a great champion so it’s going to be very difficult but I’ll try to enjoy it as much as I can.”

Cameron Norrie is the only British singles player left in the Australian Open after a five-set win over Giulio Zeppieri in the second round.

British trio Emma Raducanu, Jack Draper and Katie Boulter all lost while Kazakh third seed Elena Rybakina became the biggest casualty of the tournament so far, losing an epic deciding tie-break against Anna Blinkova.

Women’s world number one Iga Swiatek almost went the same way but recovered to beat Danielle Collins while men’s second seed Carlos Alcaraz also progressed on a day Jessica Pegula and Holger Rune were knocked out.

Picture of the dayTweet of the day

Figures from across the tennis world have been paying tribute to the Daily Mail’s hugely respected tennis correspondent Mike Dickson, who died in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Stat of the dayShots of the dayBrady blow

American Jennifer Brady has been sidelined for the majority of the three years since she reached the Australian Open final in 2021, and she has now announced that she needs more surgery.

Medvedev’s dawn raid

Men’s third seed Daniil Medvedev looked to be heading out as he went two sets down to Emil Ruusuvuori.

But the Russian showed his fighting spirit and ensured it was a very early morning as he battled back to win in five sets, winning 3-6 6-7 (1) 6-4 7-6 (1) 6-0 just before 4am local time, with sunrise two hours away.

Friends reunited

 

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Fallen seeds

Women: Elena Rybakina (3), Jessica Pegula (5), Daria Kasatkina (14)
Men: Holger Rune (8), Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (23), Jan-Lennard Struff (24), Jiri Lehecka (32)

Who’s up next?

Novak Djokovic will attempt to find his form when he takes on dangerous Argentinian Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the third round on Friday.

Women’s defending champion Aryna Sabalenka faces Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko while Coco Gauff takes on fellow American Alycia Parks.

Jannik Sinner has been the most impressive of the leading men so far and he meets 26th seed Sebastian Baez.

An emotional Iga Swiatek survived a major scare to reach the third round of the Australian Open but Elena Rybakina was beaten by Anna Blinkova in a record-breaking encounter.

Swiatek lost to Danielle Collins in the semi-finals in Melbourne two years ago and it appeared history was about to repeat itself when the American took a 4-1 lead over the world number one in the deciding set under the roof on Rod Laver Arena.

But Swiatek responded with five games in a row to claim a 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory and set up a clash with Czech teenager Linda Noskova.

The Pole sobbed into her towel at the end of the match and she said with a relieved smile: “I was at the airport already.

“I wanted to fight until the end. She played perfectly so I knew it would be hard for anybody to maintain that level. I waited for the mistakes to come. I’m really proud of myself because it wasn’t easy.”

Rybakina, the third seed and last year’s beaten finalist, also appeared like she might escape after saving two match points to force a tie-break against 57th-ranked Blinkova.

But, more than half an hour later, Blinkova finally clinched a 6-4 4-6 7-6 (22/20) victory on her 10th match point, with Rybakina having seen six opportunities go begging.

It was the longest tie-break in a singles match in grand slam history.

For Blinkova, it is also the biggest win of her career, and she said: “I don’t know what to say. It was super tough. I just tried to stay focused on every point.

“I had so many match points. I tried to be aggressive at these moments but my hand was shaking and my legs too. I tried to be calm as hard as I could and I’m super happy to win in the end.

“This day I will remember for the rest of my life. Especially on this court, with this crowd. I will never forget it. It’s the best day of my life so far.”

After her defeat by Swiatek, Collins walked straight off court into the press room, where she revealed this will be her final season.

“I don’t really know exactly when (I will stop) but this will be my last season and I’m really looking forward to that,” said the 30-year-old, who also made the semi-finals in Melbourne in 2019 and reached a career-high ranking of seven.

“I have other things that I’d like to accomplish in my life outside of tennis and would like to be able to have the time to be able to do that. Obviously having kids is a big priority for me.”

Swiatek edged a tight first set disrupted by a brief rain break but the aggression of Collins was troubling the top seed and the American, who also made the semi-finals here in 2019, won five games in a row to take a 5-1 lead in the second set.

She showed nerves, hitting four double faults as she failed to serve it out at the first time of asking, but she was rock solid on her second opportunity.

Swiatek found returns drilled back at her feet and she was staring at the exit door when Collins broke serve twice in succession to lead 4-1 in the deciding set.

However, the American tightened up with the finish line in sight and Swiatek came roaring back, clinching victory on her third match point with a backhand into the corner.

Swiatek applied strapping under her left knee at the start of the third set, but she played down concerns, saying: “I’ve been struggling a little bit with my knee since (the WTA Finals in) Cancun. I have ups and downs but it’s not like it affects my game. You don’t have to be worried.”

On a day of high drama at Melbourne Park, fifth seed Jessica Pegula was also ousted, going down 6-4 6-2 to France’s Clara Burel, while former finalist Sloane Stephens beat 14th seed Daria Kasatkina 4-6 6-3 6-3.

An emotional Iga Swiatek survived a major scare to defeat Danielle Collins and reach the third round of the Australian Open.

The world number one lost to Collins in the semi-finals in Melbourne two years ago and it appeared history was about to repeat itself when the American took a 4-1 lead in the deciding set under the roof on Rod Laver Arena.

But Swiatek responded with five games in a row to claim a 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory and set up a clash with Czech teenager Linda Noskova.

The Pole sobbed into her towel at the end of the match, and she said with a relieved smile: “I was at the airport already.

“I wanted to fight until the end. She played perfectly so I knew it would be hard for anybody to maintain that level. I waited for the mistakes to come. I’m really proud of myself because it wasn’t easy.”

Collins walked straight off court into the press room, where she revealed this will be her final season.

“I don’t really know exactly when (I will stop) but this will be my last season and I’m really looking forward to that,” said the 30-year-old, who also made the semi-finals in Melbourne in 2019 and reached a career-high ranking of seven.

“I have other things that I’d like to accomplish in my life outside of tennis, and would like to be able to have the time to be able to do that. Obviously having kids is a big priority for me.”

The semi-final loss was the only one of five previous meetings with Collins that Swiatek had not won, and she lost only one game the last time they faced each other in Cincinnati last summer.

The top seed edged a tight first set disrupted by a brief rain break but the aggression of Collins was troubling the top seed and the American, who also made the semi-finals here in 2019, won five games in a row to take a 5-1 lead in the second set.

She showed nerves, hitting four double faults as she failed to serve it out at the first time of asking, but she was rock solid on her second opportunity.

Swiatek found returns drilled back at her feet and she was staring at the exit door when Collins broke serve twice in succession to lead 4-1 in the deciding set.

However, the American tightened up with the finish line in sight and Swiatek came roaring back, clinching victory on her third match point with a backhand into the corner.

Swiatek applied strapping under her left knee at the start of the third set, but she played down concerns, saying: “I’ve been struggling a little bit with my knee since (the WTA Finals in) Cancun. I have ups and downs but it’s not like it affects my game. You don’t have to be worried.”

Iga Swiatek won the battle of the grand slam champions against Sofia Kenin to reach the second round of the Australian Open.

Kenin lifted her first major title here in 2020 before losing to Swiatek in the French Open final the same year but has struggled since with injuries and a loss of form.

The American remains a dangerous player, though, and knocked Coco Gauff out in the first round of Wimbledon last year.

She served for the opening set before Swiatek fought back to take it in a
tie-break, and the Pole was the steadier in the second to claim a 7-6 (2) 6-2
victory.

“For sure, it wasn’t the easiest first round,” said the world number one. “She played really well. I tried to find my rhythm, especially in the first set. I’m happy at the end of the set I could win the most important points.

“I’m happy that I am through and I could play a little bit better in the second set.”

Remarkably, Swiatek was the only player in her initial section of the draw not to have made an Australian Open final.

Next she will take on another American in Danielle Collins, who ended Swiatek’s best run in Melbourne so far by beating her in the semi-finals two years ago before losing to Ashleigh Barty.

That is Collins’ only victory in five meetings with Swiatek, who won their most recent match 6-1 6-0 in Cincinnati last summer.

“I can’t say that I have an easy draw here,” said Swiatek. “I’ll try to do my best. Danielle is a really good player. We played really tight matches. On the other hand, our last match, from the score, I had it under control.

“Every match is different. I’m not going to anticipate anything. I’m just going to be ready and we’ll see.”

 

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Collins was a 6-2 3-6 6-1 winner over former Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open champion Angelique Kerber.

The German is part of a quartet of mothers making their Melbourne returns along with Caroline Wozniacki, Naomi Osaka and Elina Svitolina having given birth to daughter Liana last February.

“It is for sure different to be back like this,” said the 35-year-old. “I think I’m open more than before, and also the other players are. I’m also more relaxed so I feel that they appreciate it and I think it’s nice to see so many moms are back on tour.

“It is a long way to be back and to play on a high level again. But, on the other side, I have the experience, I know how it is. I played so many grand slams over the years. So I’m more trying to find my rhythm, to being on court and feeling good again.”

There were also victories for two other former grand slam winners, with 18th seed Victoria Azarenka beating Camila Giorgi 6-1 4-6 6-3 and Sloane Stephens seeing off Olivia Gadecki 6-3 6-1.

Coco Gauff's emergence as arguably the biggest star of American tennis since Serena Williams is great for the women's game, says former British number one Laura Robson.

Gauff captured the imagination of the American public by winning the US Open last September, the 19-year-old fighting back to beat Aryna Sabalenka in a memorable final at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

That made the teenager the first American – male or female – to win the tournament since Williams, who won the event for the sixth time in 2014. Gauff, Williams and her sister Venus are the only American women to claim the trophy in the 21st century.

Gauff will look to back up that success at the Australian Open when the first major of the year begins on Sunday, and Robson is delighted to see her thriving after being criticised earlier in 2023.

"I love what she's done in the last three months in particular, because over the clay courts and the grass-court season, everyone was writing her off," Robson told Stats Perform.

"She just went back to the drawing board, got a new team around her, played unbelievably at the Cincinnati Masters and came into the US Open with confidence. 

"You could tell, with the way that she played the longer matches, she just felt so good about her game. You could see how she was moving out there. 

"She is definitely the fastest out on tour at the moment on the women's side. I'm just super pumped for her. 

"To be in the stadium and to feel the energy when she won the US Open was crazy.

"I'd say 99.99 per cent of the stadium was going for her and it's going to be a huge boost for women's tennis to have an American superstar like her."

Asked whether Gauff was the natural successor to Williams – who finished her glittering career one major title shy of Margaret Court's record of 24 – Robson said other players' efforts to push American tennis forward should not be overlooked.

"I definitely feel like Jessica Pegula and Madison keys and people like that don't quite get enough credit for how much they've pushed American tennis," Robson continued. 

"Even going into the US Open, Pegula was the number one American, but Coco definitely had more attention on her, which is great because their different profiles are being raised, but at the same time they were still pushing each other along and playing doubles together almost every week. 

"It's just fantastic to see and the fact that there's now another name that you're throwing into the mix just makes everyone feel better."

Gauff currently sits a career-high third in the world rankings, though she has plenty of ground to make up on the top two, with Iga Swiatek currently edging out Sabalenka. 

Robson expects that duo to trade places often as they battle to dominate the women's game, saying: "You definitely struggle to see Swiatek losing at Roland Garros, with the way that she goes on clay.

"I think it's going to be quite nice because they each have different strengths. You would almost say Sabalenka goes slightly better on a hard court and Iga is better on clay.

"I can see it almost swapping back and forth over the next few years, but Iga is going to be right in there, for sure."

Coco Gauff has every chance of adding to her 2023 US Open triumph by winning further grand slam titles in the coming years.

That is the view of former world number four Johanna Konta, who also believes it is "only a matter of time" before the American rises to the top of the WTA rankings.

Having lost the French Open final to Iga Swiatek as an 18-year-old in 2022, Gauff went one step further on home soil last September, becoming the first American teenager to win the US Open title since Serena Williams in 1999.

Gauff is looking to add to that triumph when the Australian Open begins on Sunday, and she is considered one of the favourites to claim the trophy after making a flying start to 2024.

The teenager captured her second straight Auckland Classic title on Sunday, fighting back to beat Elina Svitolina and make it seven wins from eight tour-level singles finals in her career.

Konta believes last year's US Open victory was just the start for Gauff, telling Stats Perform: "She's already a grand slam champion. So, she's got every possibility to win multiple grand slams. 

"Once you're winning those tournaments, then it's only a matter of time before you get to world number one."

Gauff is up to third in the world rankings – the highest position of her career – though she has work to do to overhaul world number one Swiatek, who has won three of the last seven grand slams and is targeting her first Australian Open success after going out in the fourth round last year.

Konta, who failed to win a major during her own career despite reaching the last four at Melbourne Park, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, thinks the 22-year-old will be a force to be reckoned with for the foreseeable future. 

"I think she's an incredibly consistent player, the level is just very consistent," Konta said of Swiatek.

"I think she will be one of the ones that will be there for a long time if she's just able to sustain that. I think she'll be one of the top handful."

Iga Swiatek has moved a step closer to reclaiming the world number one spot with a straight-sets victory over Aryna Sabalenka in the WTA Finals.

Swiatek, the world number two, claimed her 67th win of the year and her 10th win in a row in the 6-3 6-2 victory against the current number one Sabalenka on Sunday in Mexico.

The match, which began on Saturday, was suspended after the fourth game due to wet weather which has featured consistently throughout the tournament.

When it resumed on Sunday, Swiatek broke Sabalenka in the first game back and went on to take the win in just over 90 minutes.

“I’m really, really happy, I think that was the toughest and nicest match that I have played here,” Swiatek said after the match.

The 22-year-old from Poland went unbroken throughout the match and won more than 75 per cent of her service points.

She will meet world number five Jessica Pegula in the final on Monday for a chance to finish the year as the world number one.

It only took an hour for Pegula to beat her doubles partner and fellow American Coco Gauff on Saturday in a 6-2 6-1 win to continue her exceptional tournament form.

Both Pegula and four-time grand slam winner Swiatek have gone through the tournament undefeated with neither player dropping a single set.

World number two Iga Swiatek and world number three Coco Gauff have both secured their spots in the semi-finals of the WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico.

Poland’s Swiatek confirmed her position with a 6-1 6-2 win over world number six Ons Jabeur.

Earlier, Gauff claimed a victory for US tennis fans in a battle of two of the major champions from this year.

She defeated Marketa Vondrousova 5-7 7-6 (4) 6-3 in the final round of group play on Friday night, ending the Czech player’s chances of advancing to the semi-finals.

The win was another feather in the cap for Gauff, making her the first teenager to make the final four of the year-end championships since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009.

She will now face Jessica Pegula while Swiatek takes on Aryna Sabalenka.

World number two Iga Swiatek beat Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova 7-6 6-0 in her opening match at the WTA Finals in Cancun.

Vondrousova, making her debut at the WTA Finals, took an early 2-0 lead in the opening set after breaking Swiatek in the first game.

Swiatek, though, soon wiped out that advantage after forcing home a break chance of her own to level at 2-2.

In humid conditions, both players were feeling the pressure on serve as another untidy background return from the baseline by the Pole allowed Vondrousova to immediately break again.

The Wimbledon champion maintained the pressure to break Swiatek in the seventh game, the Pole this time sending a return into the net.

Following the change of ends, Swiatek made the most of the new balls to prevent Vondrousova serving out the set and then produced a solid hold to reduce the deficit at 5-4.

Vondrousova’s early momentum had gone as Swiatek stepped up her offensive play to claim another break and level the opening set.

Swiatek, who can end the year by regaining the world number one spot, took the first set on a tie break and waltzed through the second in just over half an hour.

Monday’s other match saw US Open champion Coco Gauff need less than an hour to beat Ons Jabeur 6-0 6-1.

Gauff won the first seven games before an hour-long rain delay, Jabeur finally getting on the board after the restart before the American completed the win in 57 minutes

On Sunday, world number one Aryna Sabalenka opened the finals with a straightforward win over Maria Sakkari.

Sabalenka later took to social media to criticise the arrangements for players at the season-ending championships, with Cancun only announced as the host venue less than two months ago.

Swiatek added her criticism to the court – laid on top of a golf course – saying “it’s not comfortable” while Vondrousova described it as “very bad”.

Sabalenka faces Jessica Pegula, who also won her opening group match, on Tuesday night with Sakkari facing Elena Rybakina.

Iga Swiatek’s reign as US Open champion, and world number one, was ended by her nemesis Jelena Ostapenko.

The 22-year-old Pole had not dropped a set on her way to the fourth round, but she had never beaten Ostapenko in three previous career meetings.

Swiatek took the first set with relative ease but then Ostapenko’s sledgehammer of a forehand started finding its mark to level the match.

A one-sided final set saw former French Open champion Ostapenko triumph 3-6 6-3 6-1.

Swiatek’s defeat means that Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus will take over as world number one after the tournament.

Ostapenko will face Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals after the teenager ended the grand slam comeback of mother-of-two Caroline Wozniacki.

The 19-year-old came from a break down in the first and third sets to win both and complete a 6-3 3-6 6-1 victory.

Wozniacki’s return has been one of the stories of New York this year, having come out of retirement after more than three years and two children later.

The 33-year-old former world number one has looked as though she has never been away, but a fired-up Gauff proved just too strong in the deciding set.

Wozniacki got off to a dream start with a break in the first game and a 2-0 lead.

But Gauff quickly got back on the board, levelling at 3-3 before going on to clinch the first set without dropping another game.

Wozniacki cranked up the pressure in the second and Gauff started feeling it as her suspect forehand began to misfire and she was broken for 5-3 as the Dane levelled the match.

Gauff looked uncomfortable as she dropped serve again at the start of the decider, but after pointedly ignoring the advice of coach Brad Gilbert, the wound-up American began firing backhand winners as if they were going out of fashion.

She reeled off the next six games to clinch the victory and let out a loud scream of triumph after converting match point.

“Definitely getting it to 2-1 (in the third set) was the turning point,” said Gauff.

“I got broke and I showed I was still in the match. I started to go for my shots.

“Caroline, it’s like she’s never left, the level she played was amazing. It’s weird because I grew up watching Caroline and when she won the Australian Open, so to be on court with her today was an honour.

“She definitely gets to a lot of balls. I felt a bit like I was playing myself. I knew I had to play aggressive and go for my shots. In some moments I miss but I was happy I could get back and refocus.”

It will be the fifth grand slam quarter-final of Gauff’s still-fledgling career and her second at Flushing Meadows.

“I’ve been in this position before,” she added. “And I think I have confidence in myself that I can go even further.”

The next time Iga Swiatek takes her best friend Kaja Juvan out for dinner, bagels are unlikely to be on the menu.

The world number one and defending US Open champion thrashed Slovakian qualifier Juvan 6-0 6-1 to reach the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.

The pair had been out for a meal in New York just last week, and Swiatek spoke of their enduring friendship on the WTA Tour before the match.

But with friends like Swiatek, who needs enemies? The Pole surrendered just eight points as she raced away with the first set to love in only 33 minutes.

Juvan did at least avoid the dreaded ‘double-bagel’, finally getting a game on the board 40 minutes into the match for 3-1 in the second and raising her arms aloft in mock triumph to the acclaim of the Louis Armstrong crowd.

But it was only delaying the inevitable, with Swiatek wrapping up another clinical, statement victory – she beat Rebecca Peterson by the same scoreline in the first round – in well under an hour.

“I didn’t like that I was winning with my best friend but I knew I had to be focused and not think about that,” said the 22-year-old.

“It’s like playing your sister. I don’t have many friends and she’s my best friend so that was the toughest, for sure.”

Novak Djokovic is back at world number one after beating Alexandre Muller in straight sets and Iga Swiatek began her title defence by dropping only one game against Rebecca Peterson.

Britain’s Lily Miyazaki made a mark on her Flushing Meadows debut to reach round two.

Here, the PA news agency looks back at day one at the US Open.

Pic of the day

Former first lady Michelle Obama joined a ceremony to honour former champion and equality campaigner Billie Jean King, and celebrate 50 years since the US Open offered equal prize money to men and women.

Match of the day

Coco Gauff came from a set down in a thriller under the lights on Arthur Ashe against German qualifier Laura Siegemund. The American teenager, seeded sixth, eventually came through 3-6 6-2 6-4.

Shock of the day

Holger Rune tweeted a map of the Flushing Meadows site to highlight his frustration at being shoved out on Court Five. The Danish fourth seed’s irritation was clear as he slumped to a four-set defeat to Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.

Stench of the day

It’s a hard court, not grass, but eighth seed Maria Sakkari complained to the umpire about the smell of “weed” wafting through the air during her surprise defeat by Rebeka Masarova.

Brit watch

Lily Miyazaki branded her US Open debut “surreal” after winning her first match at a grand slam.

There were echoes of Emma Raducanu after the 27-year-old qualifier, Britain’s sole representative on day one, beat Russian Margarita Betova 6-3 6-3.

“It’s huge for me, I think,” said Miyazaki. “Qualifying was also, like, obviously a huge confidence booster, but winning at the main draw, it just feels a bit surreal.”

The world number 199 may be unlikely to emulate Raducanu’s fairy-tale title win two years ago, but she still secured a near-£100,000 pay day and a high-profile second-round match against Olympic champion Belinda Bencic.

Fallen seeds

Women: Maria Sakkari (8), Veronika Kudermetova (16), Anhalina Kalinina (28), Elisabetta Cocciaretto (29).

Men: Holger Rune (4), Felix Auger-Aliassime (15), Lorenzo Musetti (18), Alexander Bublik (25), Sebastian Korda (31).

Who’s up next?

Day two sees the other six British hopefuls begin their campaigns. Former champion Andy Murray will be on the Grandstand Court against Frenchman Corentin Moutet. Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans, Jack Draper, Jodie Burrage and Katie Boulter are also in action along with defending champion Carlos Alcaraz.

Caroline Wozniacki's choice to return to tennis will be "an amazing story", says Marion Bartoli, after the former world number one reversed her retirement.

The Danish player previously called time on her career in 2020, and has only played sporadically since in invitational matches.

But the former Australian Open winner confirmed her intention to return to professional tennis in June, with wildcard spots in Montreal and Cincinnati ahead of the US Open.

Bartoli, who quit initially in 2013 before an unsuccessful comeback attempt of her own led to a definitive retirement in 2018, believes Wozniacki can still deliver at the top of the women's game.

"I actually saw her at Wimbledon, and she was playing an invitational with Cara Black in the doubles," 2013 Wimbledon winner Bartoli told Stats Perform.

"She was wearing tape on her calf and having small sort of tears here and there just because her body is getting back into the routines of playing every day.

"But I think she feels like it's time for her to come back as a family, with her husband, travelling with her kids and just being a family and going on tour and live it.

"Being a family and travelling and showing your kids that your mum can be a mum on one day and can be a tennis player on the other... if that is her inspiration [for coming back], by any means, I support that 100 per cent.

"I think it will be an amazing story once again. Caroline has always been an incredible competitor. I think if she can find that level, we're going to have some amazing fights at the top of women's tennis

"If she can play back at her best, the level to go extremely deep and maybe to have another grand slam."

Bartoli also reflected on a disappointing Wimbledon campaign for Iga Swiatek, as the latter vies with Aryna Sabalenka atop the WTA rankings.

"The number one in the race [to beat Swiatek] is Sabalenka," she added. "Since the beginning of the year, she's actually the player who has won the most matches.

"But she has been slightly more consistent [than Swiatek]. The US Open really will tell who will be at the top of the women's game in terms of ranking.

"Right now it's quite even, but Aryna has a little bit of an upper hand. So we're going to see. But Iga Swiatek on clay for sure is the best player in the world."

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