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British players avoid seeds at Wimbledon as Murray and Raducanu battle injuries

Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu are both bidding to overcome injuries (Adam Davy/PA)
Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu are both bidding to overcome injuries (Adam Davy/PA)

British hopes at Wimbledon will be high after an encouraging draw for the home players led by Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray.

Remarkably, of the 17 British representatives in the men’s and women’s singles, not one drew a seeded player in the first round.

Tenth seed Raducanu, who is hopeful of overcoming a side strain in time, faces one of the trickier draws against experienced Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck in what could be her Centre Court debut.

PA graphic
PA graphic

The 19-year-old has the potential of an all-British clash in the second round against wild card Yuriko Miyazaki, who faces a tough test against France’s Caroline Garcia.

Raducanu is seeded to meet former quarter-finalist Madison Keys in the third round and Australian Open runner-up Danielle Collins in the last 16.

Murray is unseeded and battling an abdominal strain but avoided the big names, drawing Australian James Duckworth in round one, with 20th seed John Isner a likely second-round opponent.

The returning Serena Williams also avoided the seeds, drawing 113th-ranked Frenchwoman Harmony Tan for what will be her first singles match since suffering a hamstring injury in the first round last year.

Serena Williams is back at Wimbledon
Serena Williams is back at Wimbledon (Steven Paston/PA)

In the absence of defending champion Ashleigh Barty, who retired earlier this year, top seed Iga Swiatek has been given the honour of opening play on Centre Court on Tuesday.

The French Open champion, who plays Croatian Jana Fett first up, has been preferred to 2019 winner Simona Halep, who missed out last year through injury, and 2021 runner-up Karolina Pliskova.

Romanian 16th seed Halep was handed one of the tougher first-round draws against Czech Karolina Muchova.

Ninth seed Cameron Norrie, who is bidding to reach the fourth round at a grand slam for the first time, will open against Spanish veteran Pablo Andujar, although former semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov would be a tricky third-round opponent.

Britain’s third singles seed, number 28 Dan Evans, drew Australian qualifier Jason Kubler.

Nick Kyrgios, widely perceived as the most dangerous unseeded player in the draw, is a first-round opponent for Britain’s Paul Jubb and a potential third-round opponent for fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Top seed Novak Djokovic begins his quest for a seventh Wimbledon title and fourth in a row against South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo while second seed Rafael Nadal, who is making his first appearance since 2019, takes on Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo.

With grass-court pedigree no longer counting towards seeding, French Open runner-up Casper Ruud is seeded third, Tsitsipas fourth and Carlos Alcaraz fifth despite all still trying to get to grips with the surface.

Novak Djokovic is bidding for a seventh Wimbledon title
Novak Djokovic is bidding for a seventh Wimbledon title (Steven Paston/PA)

Seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz, who is in Djokovic’s half, and last year’s runner-up Matteo Berrettini, a potential semi-final opponent for Nadal, could well be the biggest threats to the top two.

Of the other British players, Jack Draper, who is looking to reach his first ATP Tour final in Eastbourne later on Friday, takes on Belgian wild card Zizou Bergs – winner of the recent second-tier Challenger tournament in Ilkley.

Katie Boulter and Ryan Peniston, who have also both been in excellent form on the grass, meet Clara Burel and Henri Laaksonen, respectively.

Boulter could play last year’s finalist Karolina Pliskova, who she beat in Eastbourne earlier this week, in the second round.

Jack Draper will look to continue his fine form on the grass
Jack Draper will look to continue his fine form on the grass (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Sonay Kartal, who has surged up the rankings this season, takes on Danka Kovinic with the carrot of a potential second-round clash against Swiatek while fellow debutant Alastair Gray takes on former junior champion Tseng Chun-hsin.

Of the other British players in action, Heather Watson faces German Tamara Korpatsch, Harriet Dart meets Spain’s Rebeka Masarova, Katie Swan and Jodie Burrage both take on Ukrainians in Marta Kostyuk and Lesia Tsurenko, respectively, Liam Broady plays Lukas Klein of Slovakia and Jay Clarke faces American Christian Harrison.