Wimbledon will celebrate Roger Federer’s achievements at the All England Club with a special ceremony on Centre Court on Tuesday.

The eight-time champion, who announced his retirement last September, will visit the scene of many of his greatest moments and be honoured before the start of play.

Chief executive Sally Bolton announced the news, saying: “I’m pleased to say that Roger will be with us tomorrow and we will have a special celebratory moment on Centre Court before play starts just to honour him as the man holding the most gentlemen’s singles titles here at Wimbledon.

“For those lucky enough to have a seat on Centre Court tomorrow I’d encourage them to get into their seats about 1.15pm and we’ll have a moment just to celebrate his achievements and to say thank you for all the memories.”

Federer has mostly stayed away from tennis since bowing out in emotional scenes at the Laver Cup in London but was similarly honoured at the grass-court event in Halle, Germany last month.

His last match at Wimbledon came in 2021 when, struggling with knee trouble, he lost to Hubert Hurkacz in the semi-finals. He also visited the club last year as part of the celebrations to mark 100 years of Centre Court.

Bolton revealed that Serena Williams, who bowed out a few weeks earlier at the US Open, had also been invited but was unable to travel.

“We invited Serena similarly this year but as you’ll know she’s pregnant so understandably couldn’t travel,” said Bolton. “We of course wish her lots of luck with the remainder of her pregnancy and we hope maybe we might see her next year.”

Novak Djokovic is capable of reaching 30 grand slam titles amid his "scary" run of major success, according to Mark Philippoussis.

The Serbian is a record 23-time grand slam champion, having already won the Australian Open and French Open this year.

And Djokovic will open his Wimbledon title defence on Centre Court against Argentine Pedro Cachin on Monday as he continues his pursuit of a calendar Grand Slam.

Djokovic is looking to match Roger Federer's records of eight Wimbledon titles overall and five consecutive wins at the tournament.

His seventh title at All England Club and his fourth straight success arrived last year with a four-set win over Nick Kyrgios in the final.

Philippoussis, who lost a Wimbledon final to Federer 20 years ago, sees no signs of Djokovic slowing down.

"What is he on, 23? I mean, if he stays healthy, could he break 30? Let's see if he plays for another few years, and he gets two a year, I mean, he's getting close to that, which is scary to think," Philippoussis said to Stats Perform.

"It's incredible and not only that, he's there two hours before he practices, he warms up properly, does all the right things, he's got his team around him. 

"And [after] he finishes practising, he warms down, he's there two to three hours even after he finishes practising, again with his team, which is a strong unit. 

"He does all the right things and still doesn't take the foot off the pedal.

"He's still looking to improve in any way he can, looking for the one per cent here, one per cent there, whether it's on or off the court, or his eating, or his fitness, it really is incredible."

Philippoussis believes Djokovic, who is 36, will break every significant tennis record before his career comes to an end.

Carlos Alcaraz has emerged as a huge threat to his dominance and is looking to end his Wimbledon winning streak, but the Australian still finds it difficult to bet against Djokovic.

"Djokovic is only slightly in front of Alcaraz, but it is impossible to look past him after what he's done at the Australian Open and the French Open," Philippoussis added.

"To beat Djokovic physically and mentally in five sets, you're going to have to be on in every department and that's if you find an opening from him, which is very, very difficult to find.

"What he's continuing to do in the game and the sport is incredible.

"I don't follow all the numbers, but if he's not past everything already, by the time he's done, I think he would be leading in pretty much all of the them. 

"Maybe Jimmy Connors is still ahead as far as [ATP] tournaments won, but I believe that by the time he's done, I think he will be leading all those departments."

French Open champion Iga Swiatek is the favourite in the women’s singles, although she has never previously made it past the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Philippoussis thinks the women’s draw is far more open than on the men’s side. 

He said: "Swiatek is going to be a slight favourite but, again, grass is a different thing, it's completely different to other surfaces.

"Even though it has slowed over the years, it's still grass and you need to make those adjustments out on there. 

"You've got Rybakina, who hasn't had the best preparation, but she's definitely, as Wimbledon champion, going to have to be one of the favourites, and Sabalenka is definitely one of the favourites as well.

"But, in my opinion, I think the women’s is a little more open in the field, so I think a few girls have some opportunities."

On this day in 2010 Serena Williams won her fourth Wimbledon title with a 6-3 6-2 win against Vera Zvonareva.

It took just over an hour for the world number one to scoop her 13th grand slam title after sealing victory against the Russian 21st seed.

Zvonareva was appearing in her first grand slam final but had no answer for Williams, who took the first set in 36 minutes.

With Zvonareva 4-1 down in the second, the American showed her ruthless streak to see out victory, taking her past Billie Jean King to sixth in the all-time list of female grand slam singles champions.

“Hey Billie, I got you, it’s number 13 for me,” Williams said after her win.

“It means a lot because it is 13 and that’s kind of cool because I was able to beat Billie. To have four Wimbledon titles is amazing.

“It’s funny, I didn’t think I was playing that well, especially in practice.

“Just wasn’t hitting the ball that cleanly, but when I got on the court, it was good.

“I served really well and to win the tournament without losing a set is pretty cool.”

Now 41, Williams has won a mammoth 23 grand slams, more than any other player in the Open era, and is one behind Margaret Court.

Her last Wimbledon singles title came in 2016, beating Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-3.

Reigning men’s champion Novak Djokovic will kick things off on Centre Court as Wimbledon gets under way on Monday.

There will also be an emotional return to the big stage for five-time women’s champion Venus Williams as well as plenty of British players hoping for some home glory.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the opening day of action.

Rivals reunited

Djokovic begins the pursuit of an eighth title – which would draw him level with record-holder Roger Federer – against Pedro Cachin.

But he probably had a bigger test as he resumed rivalries with Andy Murray in practice over the weekend.

The pair enjoyed a competitive encounter out on the Aorangi Park courts on Saturday, almost 10 years to the day from when Murray beat Djokovic to win his first Wimbledon title.

That victory in the 2013 final gives Murray the distinction of being the only player in this year’s draw to have beaten Djokovic at Wimbledon.

Iga to prove herself


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World number one Iga Swiatek begins her quest for a first Wimbledon title, fresh from another success at the French Open last month.


The Pole, Aryna Sabalenka and defending champion Elena Rybakina are the ‘big three’ in the women’s game at the moment but grass is not the former’s strongest surface.

Swiatek has not made it past the fourth round at SW19 before but should get a nice gentle opening to the tournament as she is first up on Court One against China’s Zhu Lin, who has won just one singles match in four Wimbledon appearances.

Match of the day


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Venus Williams returns to SW19 in singles competition for the first time since 2021 and will be looking to add to the five titles she has won here, the last being in 2008.


However, that is highly unlikely and, aged 43, this may be more of a swansong, 12 months on from her sister Serena bidding farewell to the championships.

She gets a Centre Court date with Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who is making a good return following the birth of her baby in October.

Brit Watch

Six home players are in action on the opening day and all will have hopes of getting through.

Katie Swan perhaps has the toughest task as she was drawn against 14th seed Belinda Bencic, but she has been playing well this summer.

Dan Evans takes on Frenchman Quentin Halys, Liam Broady is up against Constant Lestienne and Jan Choinski plays Dusan Lajovic.

Jodie Burrage got to the final at Nottingham so will be confident against American Caty McNally while Harriet Dart, who made back-to-back quarter-finals at Nottingham and Birmingham, goes up against Diane Parry.

Order of playWeather

Katie Swan is hoping a strong performance at Wimbledon might encourage Elton John to visit SW19 to support her.

The 24-year-old recently signed with Rocket Entertainment, the management company co-founded by the music superstar, and has already been enjoying the benefits.

“I am feeling really good off court,” said Swan. “It is a really exciting time. I have signed for Rocket. I got to go and see Elton John playing in London, which was fun.”


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Swan, who was formerly with Andy Murray’s 77 agency before the Scot decided to close its tennis division, took mum Nicki with her to The O2.

“She is a huge fan of Elton,” said Swan. “My favourite song is Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, but he didn’t do it. So Your Song was my other favourite one. It was unreal. His voice is a joke, it’s so powerful – I am so glad I got to see him live before he finishes.”

John’s farewell tour is set to finish in Sweden on Saturday, so Swan would need to reach at least the fourth round in order to have a chance of tempting him to Wimbledon.

“I haven’t met him yet,” she said. “I am hoping I will get the chance to at some point. I’ve heard he is a big tennis fan so hopefully, if I can get some good results, then maybe he’ll want to come and watch me.”


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Another treat before the tournament came on Thursday when Swan hit with Venus Williams on Court One.

“It was an incredible opportunity,” she said. “Laura Robson messaged my coach saying, ‘Venus is looking for a hit on Court One to open it if you’re interested’.

“And I was like, ‘OK, let’s not turn that down’. For me, that’s something I wouldn’t have even dreamed of as a kid. It was unbelievable and something I’ll never forget. She was really friendly.”

Ill-timed injuries have so far prevented Swan reaching the potential she showed as a junior.

She made her Wimbledon debut back in 2016 and reached the second round in 2018, securing what is so far her only victory at the All England Club.

There have been positive signs this year, though, with Swan pushing towards the top 100 and reaching the final of the warm-up tournament in Surbiton, beating last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist Tatjana Maria along the way.

“I think this year is more exciting than normal,” she said. “I feel in probably the best form that I have been in coming into this week. I’m excited to get going.”

The draw did not appear to be kind to Swan, who will take on 14th seed Belinda Bencic on Monday.

The Swiss has twice reached the fourth round at Wimbledon but she has not won a match here since 2019 while she has only played one match – a first-round loss at the French Open – since the beginning of April because of injury.

“Everyone here is tough but obviously she’s an Olympic gold medallist and she’s achieved so much in her career,” said Swan.

“I was excited when I saw the draw. Court Two is the biggest court I’ve played on here so I’m really pumped for it. I back myself and I think having the home support will be a lot of fun out there.”

Jodie Burrage had an unusual practice partner on the eve of Wimbledon – Percy Pig.

The 24-year-old is yet to win a singles match at the All England Club but she was involved in one of the most popular stories of the tournament last year when she offered the Marks and Spencer treat to a ball boy who was feeling unwell.

“I don’t really know why it was such a big story,” she said. “He just wasn’t feeling great, I tried to help him out a little bit. I feel like anyone would have done the same thing. For some reason it kicked off. Hopefully no one feels ill on court this year. It was a bit mad.”


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Burrage’s act of kindness earned the attention of Marks and Spencer, and the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton had an unusual visitor last month when Percy Pig turned up for a hit.


“We had a two-hour session,” said Burrage. “It was good fun. We tried to play, actually Percy was better than I thought he was going to be.”

So could the British number two be Percy Pig’s official representative at Wimbledon in the future?

“I’d love that,” she said gleefully. “My mum is a massive fan of Percy Pigs as well, and my physio. My physio is probably Percy Pig’s biggest fan. So, if they ever do something like that, I’d love to be.”

Burrage will not be able to help out any similarly stricken ball kids this year, though, adding: “I’ve had them the last few weeks, they are one of my favourite sweets, but they’re not in my bag. My nutritionist had a firm ‘no’ on that.”

The Percy Pig incident meant a disappointing first-round loss for Burrage was rather forgotten, and she is hoping it can be third-time lucky on Monday when she takes on American Caty McNally.

“I played her at the US Open last year,” said Burrage. “I’ll be watching that match back. She’s a tough opponent and actually on the grass she’s going to be really dangerous. I’ll enjoy the challenge.”


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Burrage has enjoyed a strong grass-court campaign, reaching her first WTA Tour final in Nottingham and climbing to 108 in the rankings, and she will try not to put too much pressure on herself.

“It comes with experience,” she said. “It would be great if I could go on, play my best, win, everything be happy.

“There’s going to be some ups and downs in the match like there always is. All I can do is go out there, fight and give my all.

“If it’s my day, it’s my day, and if it’s not, it’s not. I’ll try and come back next year.”

Carlos Alcaraz is eyeing up a rematch with Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon.

The pair met for the first time at a grand slam in the semi-finals of the French Open last month in the most anticipated match of the year so far.

For two pulsating sets it lived up to its billing before Alcaraz was struck down by cramp, which he later attributed to the tension of the situation.

With Alcaraz and Djokovic the top two seeds at the All England Club, a rematch could only come in the final, where the young Spaniard would be eager to show he has learned from what happened in Paris.

He is just the latest young player to discover what a hard nut to crack the big three of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are at grand slams and, while the latter two may no longer be a factor, Djokovic appears more of a favourite than ever.

“I would say the pressure that they put to everyone,” said Alcaraz when asked to name the hardest thing about facing Djokovic.

“Not only to me, to everyone to play at their best for three hours in a grand slam. I have to deal with that, but it’s something that I really want it. I hope to play a final here against him.”

The list of players who could potentially stop Djokovic winning a fifth successive title at Wimbledon may begin and end with Alcaraz.

The 20-year-old is far less experienced than his rival on grass in particular but showed how exceptionally quickly he learns by lifting the trophy at Queen’s Club last weekend, propelling him back past Djokovic to reclaim the world number one ranking.

“I started Queen’s with no expectation to win Queen’s and I won it,” he said. “I feel great playing such a great level. The confidence grew a lot.

“I’m coming here to Wimbledon with a lot of confidence, thinking that I’m able to do good results here. But, obviously, for me, the main favourite is Djokovic.

“My expectations are high. I think I will be able to put the pressure on the other players, even Djokovic as well. But all I can say is I feel with a lot of confidence and I feel ready to do good things here.”

Alcaraz, who faces retiring Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the first round on Tuesday, must first target bettering his run from last year, when he lost in the fourth round to fellow young gun Jannik Sinner.

Cameron Norrie has been making the most of the perks of Wimbledon membership as he prepares to lead British hopes again.

The 12th seed is the highest-ranked home player and represents the best chance of a deep run, particularly given his breakthrough success in reaching the semi-finals 12 months ago.

That earned Norrie membership of one of Britain’s most exclusive sporting clubs, which he has been fully embracing.

“At the end of last year, I had a bit of time off,” he said. “I was coming to the club and did some gym work here. Had dinner here one night. Before Queen’s I was coming here using the gym. Last week coming here and using the club a lot.

“The food is so good here, even outside of the tournament. Me and my fitness trainer really like the gym. Obviously to practise here one day was great, too.

“I just got my membership, so it was cool to use that. It’s such a nice club. It’s almost worth coming here just to have a shower and just to enjoy, the showers they have are so good.

“It feels so special. I think even more so when the tournament is not even on. Not many people are around. The facilities are obviously so good. You get treated like someone really special.”

Norrie has spent close to two years in the world’s top 20 despite not earning any ranking points for his achievements here last year.

This season he won his fifth ATP Tour title, beating Carlos Alcaraz in Rio in February, and, despite more shaky form recently, he is happy to carry the weight of expectation on his shoulders.

He said: “There’s more questions like that being asked. But I’d rather have that than the opposite to that and (people) be like, ‘You’re going to bomb out first round again here’.

“I think you have to embrace it, you have to enjoy that. Last year I did a really good job of that, enjoying the matches, enjoying the media. I was loving every moment of it. I had all my friends and family watching.

“I’m excited, especially after last year. Practice has been going really well. I’m hitting the ball as well as I can. I think all the preparation has been there. It’s always good feelings, good sensations before Wimbledon. My favourite tournament, so I can’t wait.”

Last year the draw opened up for Norrie but he appears to have his work cut out if he is to make the latter stages again, with American Sebastian Korda, who he lost to at Queen’s Club, potentially lurking in the third round, while Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are in his quarter.

First up on Tuesday, Norrie will face Czech qualifier Tomas Machac, a 22-year-old ranked 107.

“He’s really a talented guy, Tomas,” said Norrie, who lost to Machac’s Davis Cup team-mate Jiri Lehecka at the Australian Open.

“I’m watching some of his matches in the qualies. I think he’s a typical Czech player, really good backhand. I think he’ll see it as a really good opportunity, playing a top player.

“I know I’m going to get a lot of rhythm. I think it’s a good one for me. I’m looking forward to a good challenge. Just going to be a tough one and I have to play great.”

Even having her car stolen has not wiped the smile off Heather Watson’s face as she looks forward to a 13th Wimbledon campaign.

The 31-year-old was out celebrating her birthday with friends a month ago when thieves managed to get into the secure underground car park at her home in Chelsea Harbour and drive away in her Range Rover.

“I was quite logical,” she said. “I actually really processed it well, I was like, ‘It’s OK, nobody’s hurt, there are plenty worse things going on in the world, it’s just a material object’. And then now, I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, what a nightmare’ with all the insurance stuff.

“The police found it, it just doesn’t work. They rewire it to get it started so all the wires have been pulled out. They found it three weeks ago, I called the insurance, they’ve done nothing. So I gave them a kick up the bum.”

Watson made her Wimbledon debut back it 2010 but it was not until last year that she made it beyond the third round at a grand slam for the first time.

The caveat to Watson’s joy was that, as a result of Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Ukrainian players, she did not receive any ranking points for the achievement.

Having dropped outside the top 100, Watson was unable to secure entry into the big tournaments, and it is only thanks to good performances on the grass that she has begun to head back in the right direction.


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Mostly, Watson is just grateful to have another tilt at Wimbledon having been awarded a wild card, saying: “This year coming in I feel really relaxed, I feel happy and just can’t wait to get going.

“Life is good. We’ve got points again this year. I feel in a good place in my life on the court, off the court. I’m so grateful to be back at this amazing tournament for another year. It’s so special.”

Watson is also happy to see Wimbledon listening to female players and adjusting their all-white clothing policy, with competitors now allowed to wear coloured undershorts to help reduce period anxiety.

Last year’s finalist Ons Jabeur raised one unintended consequence but Watson believes it is a step forward, saying: “When they announced the new rule I was like, ‘This is great, this is forward thinking, this is so helpful’.

“Then I thought, ‘Shoot, everyone’s going to know when I’m on my period’. But I’m so open about it anyway I’d probably let all of you know without even asking the question. In Eastbourne I wore black shorts, it really helped.”

Isa Guha has backed “ultimate professional” Clare Balding to excel as she succeeds Sue Barker to become the BBC’s face of Wimbledon.

Barker called time on 30 years presenting national coverage from the All England Club in emotional scenes last summer, with past and present greats of tennis paying tribute to her.

In March it was confirmed that Balding, who has been part of the BBC’s coverage since 1995, would step into Barker’s shoes, with former England cricketer Guha sharing presenting duties for a second year.


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Guha praised her co-host, telling the PA news agency: “Clare is the ultimate professional. She’s got so much energy about her and that’s what she brings to the screen. You very much feel you’re in there with her when she’s talking to you.

“I think she wants to do it in a way that’s true to her and that’s bringing that energy. I think as people who haven’t played tennis to a professional standard, it’s asking those questions the general audience wants to hear. You get that different take.”

Guha relished learning off Barker last year, saying: “She’s got an incredible warmth. When you watch her on television she feels like a friend.

“She was someone I certainly watched when I was younger, never imagined that I’d even be in her company so to be sat there with her and see how she goes about her business, her offering me advice and so forth, it was a little bit surreal but at the same time we’re just watching her in awe because she’s been the face of the BBC for such a long time and we absolutely respect and admire everything she’s done for sports broadcasting as a female.

“It was just an incredible time last year. The ability to be there with Sue, see how she operates, the doyenne of sports broadcasting, and to be in Clare Balding’s company and all these legends. It was a pretty amazing experience.”

With Wimbledon being one of the jewels in the BBC’s crown, it is no surprise to hear that Barker’s departure will not mean any radical departures from previous coverage of the grand slam, although Balding and Guha are keen to put their own stamp on it.

“No one can ever be Sue Barker,” said Guha. “She was who she was because she was true to herself as an individual, and that’s what made her so special. I just do the best I can to bring the best out of my guests.

“The role as a presenter is really managing the traffic and giving the audience what they want but also trying to make it fun as well as informative.

“I love the dynamism of broadcast and being able to throw it around a bit. I don’t think we’ll be moving too far away from what’s made it successful but we’d love to get out and about. I think that dynamism is really important.”

With Barker and Balding at the helm, tennis has been at the forefront of female-led sports broadcasting, and Guha has played a key role in the move to gender equality in cricket.

“It’s a huge honour and we absolutely understand what that signifies,” she said.

“We just see ourselves as broadcasters and I think what we’re striving to achieve is that normalisation across the board, whether that’s commentary, presenting or reporting or punditry.


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“That’s what’s excited me about cricket in recent times is that it doesn’t feel normal to not have a female on a broadcast now.”


Guha will be in the host’s chair when live coverage begins at 11am on Monday and there will be comprehensive coverage across the BBC’s platforms, including iPlayer and BBC Radio 5 Live, where John McEnroe and Tim Henman will present the 6-Love-6 phone-in.

Newcomer Qasa Alom, meanwhile, will host daily highlights show Today at Wimbledon daily on BBC Two.

In the week the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket’s report shone a sobering light on racism, sexism, elitism and classism within that sport, Guha shared her own more positive experiences of broadcasting.

“I think sport is a reflection of society, it’s a reflection of every environment you go into, but, if we’re all trying to create progress and create environments that are truly inclusive, (then we can’t shy away from it),” said the 38-year-old.

“Certainly when I first started broadcasting in cricket it was male dominated and there was a sense of feeling the need to fit it, not speaking out too much. I’ve been very lucky to have support from many of my male colleagues and I’m genuinely thankful for that.”

Guha is still building those relationships within tennis but, a long-time fan of the sport, she treasures the experiences she had last summer.

“One of my favourite things was just walking into work every day,” she said. “I was going in at 6.30am and it was so peaceful and calm before the chaos. It was goosebumps every time I walked into the grounds.

“It was a bit like how I feel when I walk into Lord’s when it’s empty, just that sense of history and being a part of something really special.

“Also, I was there a couple of days before it started and I was being shown all the different camera zones where we would do our broadcasts.

“I walked with my director to Centre Court and I saw (Matteo) Berrettini practising with (Rafael) Nadal so it was just me and my director, those two playing on court and maybe one other person. That felt very surreal and just to be able to see Nadal at close quarters like that was a real privilege.”

Novak Djokovic remains hungry for more success as he starts the defence of his Wimbledon crown and goes in search of a 24th Grand Slam singles title.

Djokovic’s victory at the French Open saw him pass rival Rafael Nadal to stand alone at the summit of the men’s game.

The 36-year-old Serbian could go on to equal Margaret Court’s all-time singles mark with another triumph at SW19 on July 16.

Despite the focus on his longevity, Djokovic is determined to stay true to himself ahead of opening the tournament against Argentina’s Pedro Cachin on Centre Court on Monday afternoon.

“I don’t feel more relaxed, to be honest. I still feel hungry for success, for more Grand Slams, more achievements in tennis,” Djokovic said at a pre-tournament press conference at Wimbledon on Saturday.

“As long as there’s that drive, I know that I’m able to compete at the highest level. If that goes down, then I guess I’ll have to face probably different circumstances and have a different approach.

“So far there’s still the drive – a few days after Roland Garros, I was already thinking about preparation for grass and what needs to be done.

“The tennis season is such that it doesn’t really give you much time to really reflect or enjoy. Of course, I did enjoy with my family, but not for so long.”

Djokovic, who will bid to equal Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles over the next fortnight, added: “A lot of people are coming up to me and congratulating me, reminding me of the historic success, which is nice of course, it’s very flattering.

“But at the same time my mind was already and is already directed towards Wimbledon, what’s the next slam, what’s the next task. That is the life of the professional tennis player.

“I think that kind of mentality is necessary for I guess maintenance of that intensity. If you really want to have a chance and have a go at more slam titles, you need to maintain that concentration and devotion.

“Part of me is very, very proud and very thrilled to be able to be in this position and have 23 slams.

“I want to try to use every Grand Slam opportunity I have at this stage where I’m feeling good in my body, feeling motivated and playing very good tennis, to try to get more.”

With Djokovic having won the last four singles titles at Wimbledon, the veteran Serbian remains very much the man to beat.

After picking up his maiden grass-court title at Queen’s Club, world number one and top seed Carlos Alcaraz has been tipped as the biggest threat.

“There’s always someone out there. There always has been and always will be,” Djokovic said.

“Carlos is a very nice guy who is carrying himself very I think maturely for a 20-year-old. He already has plenty of accolades to his name, making history of the game so young.

“He is great for the game as a player who brings a lot of intensity, energy on the court, and also being very humble and having a nice personality off the courts.

Djokovic added: “For me, I don’t need to have Carlos or anybody else really to find that extra drive and motivation when I enter slams because I know that I have to win seven matches to win a title.

“Whoever I get to face across the net, it doesn’t make a difference for me. I need to do what I need to do.

“Most of my attention is focused on my body and my mind, my game, trying to I guess bring it to the optimal state where I’m performing my best every match.”

Rather than taking part in a grass-court lead-in tournament, Djokovic made an appearance in the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic exhibition event at Hurlingham.

The world number two, though, is in no doubt he will be ready to meet the challenge of another Wimbledon campaign head on.

“When I enter the Centre Court, I guess it just awakens something in me and I’m able to perform at a very high level,” he said.

A practice session with his old foe Novak Djokovic showed Andy Murray how far he has come as he prepares for another tilt at Wimbledon.

Ten years after he beat the Serbian to win his first title at the All England Club, Murray took on Djokovic in a training set on Court 14, with many of the army of people putting the final touches to preparations for the tournament crowding round for a glimpse.

The last time Murray remembers practising with his former junior rival before a grand slam was a miserable session at the Australian Open back in 2019, a day before he tearfully laid bare the extent of his hip problems.

This was a very different occasion, and the Scot said: “I did well in the practice. Where I am today in comparison to where I was then is night and day, just from a mental perspective, my enjoyment of the game, and how I’m still able to compete with those guys.

“I didn’t feel like I could really back then. I’m happy to be in that position still. I really enjoyed it. We used to practise together quite a lot actually. It was nice to be back on the court with him again.”

Murray is not yet back at the stage where he could be considered one of the likely challengers to Djokovic for the title.

Despite winning successive events on the second-tier Challenger Tour in Surbiton and Nottingham, he missed out on a seeding for Wimbledon and will go in ranked 39.

He has not been beyond the third round at a grand slam since 2017 but chose to skip the French Open and prioritise grass-court preparations knowing that, if he is going to make the latter stages of a major event again, this is by far the most likely venue.

“I feel good,” he said. “I’ve obviously played lots of matches. Physically I’ve been feeling good. I’m ready to go.

“I want to go out there and perform at a level that I’m happy with. I do feel like I’m in a really, really good position to do that. I have the experience at this tournament. There’s only one player in the draw that has more experience of playing here than me, which is Novak.

“I certainly will be one of the only players that’s won against him here (he is the only one), as well. I need to use that to my advantage and use my experience to my advantage and take confidence from that.

“I do believe I’m one of the best grass-court players in the world, and I’m physically feeling really good. I prepared well, so there’s no reason why I can’t have a good tournament.”

Murray has been asked to relive his triumph of 2013 many times over the last few weeks and a bit of nostalgia will be inevitable as he prepares to play in the tournament for the 15th time.

He said: “I come here a lot during the year. Fortunately I’m a member here so I sometimes come to train or go to the gym or whatever.

“I feel very comfortable in these surroundings. I love coming to play the tournament here. When I walk out onto Centre Court to play, obviously I’m very nervous but incredibly excited to get the chance to perform here again on one of, if not the, most special court in our sport.

“I always really look forward to it. A couple days out from the tournament, I feel a bit nervous and stuff, which is always a really positive sign to me when I feel that way. Hopefully that bodes well for the event.”

Murray’s deadpan humour was on show as he was asked about playing a British player in the first round for the first time since his second title run in 2016.

“Brilliant,” he said. “Can we start celebrating now?”

On that occasion it was Liam Broady in his way, this time 27-year-old wild card Ryan Peniston.

“I know him pretty well,” said Murray. “We’ve practised together quite a lot. He obviously likes playing on the grass courts. He’s had some good wins on the surface. Lefty, moves very well. I need to be ready for that one.”

The 36-year-old, meanwhile, gave his thoughts on the news the ATP is in talks to forge links with Saudi Arabia, while the WTA is also considering holding tournaments in the country.

Murray has previously turned down the chance to appear in exhibition events in the country and said he would not do so in the future.

“If they become major tournaments on the tour, it becomes a slightly different question, and it’s a difficult one, really, based on how the tour and the rankings and everything work, how important they are to get into other events and stuff,” he said.

“When you start missing them, you obviously get penalised for that. It’s definitely something I would have to think about. Unfortunately it’s the way that a lot of sports seem to be going now.”

Aryna Sabalenka admits she was left in tears having to watch Wimbledon last year during a ban on Russian and Belarusian players, but holds no expectations as she heads back to the All England Club.

Following last year’s ban due to the illegal invasion of Ukraine, Russian and Belarussian players will be able to play in next week’s showpiece tournament after Wimbledon organisers were heavily fined and threatened with further sanctions by tennis’ governing bodies.

Women’s number two Sabalenka will find herself in the spotlight once again, having opted out of some media obligations at the French Open citing mental health and well-being concerns following some terse exchanges with journalists.

Sabalenka made it clear ahead of a pre-tournament press conference held at Wimbledon on Saturday afternoon that she had no intentions of addressing the issues once again.

“Before we continue I would like to say I’m not going to talk about politics. I’m here to talk about tennis only. Please respect that,” Sabalenka said.

“If you have any kind of political questions, you can ask WTA or the tournament. They can send you the transcript of my answers from the previous tournaments.”

Sabalenka added: “It’s my personal decision.”

The world number two recalled how last year’s ban had been tough to endure.

“I was at home having a little vacation, then practicing, but, no, I didn’t watch Wimbledon a lot,” she said.

“I felt so bad and I just couldn’t watch it. Every time if Wimbledon would be on TV, I would cry, so I decided just to stay away from Wimbledon last year.

“I am always telling myself that the best I can do is focus on things I have control on. That is really helping a lot to not think about anything else on the tennis.”

Having enjoyed a run to the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2021, Sabalenka is hoping for another deep run in the tournament, which starts against Hungarian Panna Udvardy on Tuesday.

“I’m super emotional right now. I’m super happy to be back. I really miss this place,” she said.

“When I got here first time, I was just like enjoying (it). I couldn’t believe that I’m here.

“I’m feeling good. I don’t have any kind of expectations. The only one expectation I have is just to bring my best tennis every time I’m on the court, and hopefully I’ll do it.

“I only have hope that they (Wimbledon crowd) will support me as they did last year – hopefully.”

Sabalenka won her first Grand Slam at the Australian Open in January, but suffered a disappointing defeat to unseeded Czech Karolina Muchova in the semi-finals at Roland Garros.

“That was really tough, tough end of the tournament,” said Sabalenka, who only made it to the second round in Berlin.

“I was really disappointed with that loss, but then we spoke with my team. It was a good lesson for me.

“I just had few days off, and then start my preparation for the grass season.”

Daria Kasatkina expects the popping of champagne corks to be the most unsettling noise at Wimbledon as she prepares for her first grand slam action since being booed at the French Open.

The world number 11 is among a number of Russian and Belarusian players set to return to the All England Club next week following last year’s ban due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Kasatkina, who first faces Saturday’s Eastbourne final against Madison Keys, left Roland Garros in early June with a “very bitter feeling” having being jeered by the crowd after her defeat to Ukrainian Elina Svitolina.

She is enjoying being back in front of “very respectful” spectators in Britain for the first time in two years and looking forward to competing at SW19.

“I have always liked playing in the UK,” she said following her 6-2 7-5 semi-final win over Camila Giorgi at the Rothesay International. “I had good results here and good memories.

“I’m really happy to be back and to have this opportunity again.

“It feels great because the people here, we can see that they have got the culture of the game, they know when they have to support, when it’s the tight moment of the match.

“They are very respectful to the players. People are super nice to me. I really appreciate the support.”

Knowing Svitolina would stick to her policy of not shaking hands with Russian or Belarusian players, Kasatkina gave her opponent a thumbs-up in Paris but still received boos.

The 26-year-old Russian has been drawn to play American Caroline Dolehide in the first round at Wimbledon.

Asked if she thinks the welcoming atmosphere will continue in south-west London, she replied: “Oh, even more. The tournament is the most classic tournament we have.

“The only disturbing fact on the matches is the popping of the champagne! I’m really happy to be back there.”

Kasatkina, who has spoken against the war in Ukraine, dug in to see off Giorgi on Friday at Devonshire Park.

She breezed through the opening set in just over half-an-hour but was forced to hold off a fightback in a tight second after her Italian opponent battled back from 4-1 down to level at 5-5.

World number 25 Keys awaits her in Saturday’s showpiece after she overcame an injury scare to progress to her second Eastbourne final by upsetting fellow American Coco Gauff.

The 2014 champion, who suffered a painful fall in the middle of the second set, triumphed 6-3 6-3 against the world number seven on a blustery afternoon in Sussex.

“I just took a slip and my hip went in the direction it shouldn’t have gone in,” said the 28-year-old, who has been draw against British wildcard Sonay Kartal at Wimbledon. “Hopefully it’s fine for tomorrow.

“I’ve had a little bit of a not great year so far, so being able to make a final here where I won my first title is amazing.

“It’s definitely 10 times more difficult when you have to play Coco and then you throw in hurricane winds on top of it.”

Gilles Simon believes Andy Murray's inferior trophy haul means he cannot be grouped with tennis' 'Big Three' of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Murray has enjoyed a long and stellar career, reaching 11 major finals and claiming three grand slam titles, as well as spending 41 weeks ranked as the world number one.

But with Djokovic, Nadal and Federer boasting 23, 22 and 20 grand slam successes respectively, Simon feels Murray is not quite on their level.

"He's not part of the Big Three," Simon told Stats Perform at the Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas. 

"You don't have to compare him with the Big Three, because he played at the very same time and we have the result.

"Andy was a fantastic player, just under these three guys in terms of level. In the end, the gap is huge in terms of titles: 23, 22 and 20, compared to three, so he's not part of the Big Four.

"He played at the same time as everyone and he has three and they have 20 or more. That's how I see it."

Simon – who won three of his 19 meetings with Murray before retiring in 2022 – feels the Scot was unfortunate to have competed with the 'Big Three' and would have been remembered as one of the game's greats in another era.

"He could have won 17 slams without the Big Three," Simon explained. "What is hard for Andy is to compare him to other players from other generations, when other players maybe have more slams than he has.

"If he had played at that time, he could maybe have had 15 and been one of the greatest. You cannot compare him with the Big Three, we saw it already, we saw the results.

"Where I feel sad for Andy is that if you play in a different era, you have 10 [grand slam titles] and then if we take the all-time rankings, we go to [Pete] Sampras with 14 and you say maybe he's here.

"This is where I feel it's a bit of an injustice for him compared to his level, because he would be closer to something like this than to someone who has three slams. He would be much higher in the all-time rankings."

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