Andy Murray: Wimbledon Center Court is different | Emma Raducanu: Game without pressure | tennis news


Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu will be in action on Center Court on Monday

Center Court celebrates its centenary in style on Monday when Wimbledon opens with two British Grand Slam champions playing in tennis’s biggest arena on opening day.

Andy Murray has won two championships and an Olympic gold medal on center court, while 2021 US Open champion Raducanu is hopeful of emulating some of that success in years to come.

The two are at opposite ends of their careers, with Murray now 35 and Raducanu just 19, but the hunger is just as great in both players to show what they can do in the face of the fervent support they will get from home fans in Wimbledon.

Murray and Raducanu will appear on Center Court on Monday, the opening day of the tournament, following defending champion Novak Djokovic’s opening clash.

Murray, who faces unseeded Australian James Duckworth in the opener, has struggled with an abdominal injury ahead of the tournament. This forced him to withdraw from the cinch championship at Queen’s, but he looked very impressive in his previous tournament on grass in Stuttgart.

While in Germany, he beat fiery Australian Nick Kyrgios and world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas in an excellent run to the final, which he lost in three sets to Italian Matteo Berretinni.

Highlights of Murray's loss to Matteo Berrettini in the Stuttgart Open final: His first ATP Tour grass-court final in six years

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Highlights of Murray’s loss to Matteo Berrettini in the Stuttgart Open final: His first ATP Tour grass-court final in six years

Highlights of Murray’s loss to Matteo Berrettini in the Stuttgart Open final: His first ATP Tour grass-court final in six years

“I played well in Stuttgart,” Murray said. “It gave me some confidence, I beat some of the best players and I was neck and neck with Berretinni, who obviously also played extremely well at Queen’s, one of the best grass-court players.

“That gives me confidence that I can do well. I think the way I played in Stuttgart showed that the work I’ve done has been really positive and that my game is in a good place.”

“I hope the body holds up and if it does, there’s no reason why I can’t compete against most of the top players here.”

Raducanu insists she doesn't feel any added pressure ahead of her Wimbledon first-round match against Alison van Uytvanck.

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Raducanu insists she doesn’t feel any added pressure ahead of her Wimbledon first-round match against Alison van Uytvanck.

Raducanu insists she doesn’t feel any added pressure ahead of her Wimbledon first-round match against Alison van Uytvanck.

Raducanu, the 10th seed, also had her grass-court preparation interrupted by lateral strain, but took her place in Friday’s draw and will face dangerous Belgian Alison van Uytvanck, who is ranked 46th in the world.

“The ideal preparation would have been to play a couple of matches in each of the tournaments,” Raducanu said. “I feel like it took the pressure off me a little bit, maybe because I know I haven’t had the ideal preparation. So now I can go out there, swing, really can’t expect too much of myself and have fun.”

Center Court: A Place Unlike Anywhere Else

Murray has enjoyed the best days of his career on the pitch at Wimbledon and knows how special it is to win in front of the home crowd.

After a slight controversy arose over the fact that there are no ranking points available to win at Wimbledon, Murray admitted that he would return every ranking point he has earned to win his home Grand Slam again. The former World No. 1 is eager to see if he can repeat his successes from 2013 and 2016.

Murray kisses the trophy after winning his first Wimbledon title in 2013

Murray kisses the trophy after winning his first Wimbledon title in 2013

The hallowed turf is special to Murray and he admits there is no place like Center Court.

“I love playing on it,” he said. “It also has a brilliant history, probably three of the biggest matches I’ve played in my career have been on that pitch.

“I love it. It’s different. It’s unique. You know, I don’t think any of the other races [have anything like Centre Court]. It just feels different, the atmosphere and the crowd and everything.

“I think this is a place where I feel very comfortable playing. I like the conditions, I like the surface. Obviously the support is also always brilliant.”

“I think all the players who have played on it will tell you the same thing. I enjoyed my time on it and hopefully I can get a little more time this year as well. So there’s no reason why I can’t have a good one.”

Raducanu had to withdraw with a lateral strain in the first round of the Nottingham Open

Raducanu had to withdraw with a lateral strain in the first round of the Nottingham Open

As for Raducanu, she has far less experience on the pitch at Wimbledon but is keen to improve on her fourth-round result from last year and reach the latter stages.

“I feel like I’m here to play,” Raducanu said. “I’m just as excited. It’s Wimbledon, you see it grow and I’m really motivated and looking forward to getting out there and walking onto the court with the atmosphere.

“My motivation is always high, especially at Wimbledon. I think it’s hard not to be motivated to play here. It’s my home Grand Slam, I feel like the crowd is going to be amazing. Just walking around, you have a special.” feeling.”

On whether the atmosphere brings any pressure, Raducanu said: “I think that probably helps, if anything, because you know you have a lot of people behind you. And whatever court I play on, I think it’s going to be a great atmosphere. and something I appreciate.”

Featured ties in the way of Murray and Raducanu

First Round – James Duckworth

Second Round – John Isner

Third Round – Jannick Sinner

Fourth round – Carlos Alcaraz

Quarterfinals – Novak Djokovic

Semi Final – Hubert Hurkacz

Final – Rafael Nadal

Title Defender Djokovic begins his quest for a seventh title and 21st Grand Slam title against South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo.

Second seed Rafael Nadal, who will make his first Wimbledon appearance since 2019 and is halfway through a calendar-year Grand Slam, faces Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo in the first round.

On the women’s side, Serena Williams has a chance to easily enter the tournament against World No.113 Harmony Tan, while top seed Iga Swiatek opens her campaign against Croatian qualifier Jana Fett. .

Murray will be happy with his side of the draw having avoided some of the big names, although a potential second round encounter against John Isner is on the cards.

First Round – Alison van Uytvanck

Second Round – Caroline Garcia/Lily Miyazaki

Third Round – Madison Keys

Round of 16 – Danielle Collins

Quarterfinals – Ons Jabeur

Semi Final – Anett Kontaveit

Final – Iga Swiatek/Barbora Krejcikova/Paula Badosa

If she gets past Van Uytvanck, Raducanu could face another British player, Yuriko Miyazaki, in the second round, with Katie Swan also in the same section.

Wimbledon is back! Join Sky Sports for all the All England Club coverage from Monday 27th June, with a daily live blog on our digital platforms, plus extensive updates on Sky Sports News.

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