Wimbledon is open for business, not quite as usual
LONDON – Queues for the world’s most famous began pouring into the All England Club on Monday as the gates opened at the start of the 135th edition Wimbledon Championships.
The quintessential British scene of thousands of tennis fans waiting patiently, often camping overnight, to get on the court has been gone since 2019.
COVID-19 paid for Wimbledon in 2020 and last year queues were removed for safety reasons as the tournament returned to semi-normal, albeit with limited attendance and players having to live in the bubble. safe hotel ball.
While all that made Wimbledon such a sight is back, it was not working as usual despite the commotion around the court as the gates opened at 0900GMT on a cool morning. batch in south-west London.
First, Roger Federer, the king of the field with a record of eight men’s singles titles, was absent for the first time since the 1998 junior championship.
40 year old Swiss is recovering from a knee injury and hasn’t played since Poland’s loss to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarterfinals a year ago.
Also missing is the world number one tennis player Daniil Medvedev after The organizers banned Russian and Belarusian players to deal with the invasion of Ukraine while defending women’s champion Ash Barty retired.
The ban on the Russians and Belarusians caused the ATP and WTA to take away this year’s Wimbledon ranking points.
Matches are also scheduled for 14 days, instead of the traditional 13, with Midweek Sunday no longer a holiday, meaning the end of the so-called Horror Monday when all matches of the men’s fourth round and female used to take place.
Although the construction of Wimbledon has been met with controversy, there is enough plot to suggest the next two weeks could be a version of the classic.
Serena Williams returns after a year of absence, seeking her 24th Grand Slam singles title has eluded her since 2017.
From Serbia Novak Djokovic plays the open game on the Center Court on Monday as he looks to defend his title, claim his 21st Grand Slam crown and close the gap with Rafa Nadal, who has a record 22.
Spanish Nadal is half way to Grand Slam in calendar year after winning the Australian and French Opens.
Brother Emma Raducanu’s appearance is considered a ‘back home’ after an unusual US Open win in qualifying and attention will be focused entirely on the teenager as she faces Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck following Djokovic’s match against Kwon Soon-woo.
With the famous Center Court celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the opening day took on a very British flavor with two-time former champion Andy Murray finishing off against Australian James Duckworth.
Murray is one of 17 British players to have drawn singles – the biggest home team since 2001.
While the stage was set for a tennis party over the next two weeks, a shower half an hour after the game started dampened the effects of the early game.
Some things never seem to change.
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