Raducanu’s participation uncertain as Murray faces Duckworth opener

Questions were lingering over Emma Raducanu’s Wimbledon participation on Friday night after she failed to show up for her scheduled practice session.

Raducanu had trained earlier on Friday, but after opting not to practice at all a day earlier, she had been scheduled for a second practice session with Garbiñe Muguruza on Court One. While Muguruza arrived on Court One, Raducanu did not show up. A new practice partner was eventually arranged for the 2017 champion.

Since she sustained her side injury in the very first game of her opening match of the grass court season in Nottingham, Raducanu has been in a race against time to be fit for her home grand slam. The positive signs from her camp in the immediate aftermath have been less certain as the Championships have approached.

A year after receiving a late wildcard into the Wimbledon main draw, Raducanu is seeded 10th in the draw. Should she be fit to compete at Wimbledon, awaiting her in the first round will be one of the most challenging first-round opponents she could have faced at Wimbledon this year, No.46 Alison van Uytvanck.

In 2018, the Belgian defeated the defending champion Muguruza en route to the fourth round. Since the beginning of this grass season, Van Uytvanck has won the Surbiton $100k tournament and the WTA 125 event in Gaiba, Italy, in addition to a quarter-final at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands. Her only defeats on grass have come in third set tie-breaks to the world No 6 Aryna Sabalenka and No 25 Amanda Anisimova this week in Bad Homburg.

Murray has been recovering from his own injury after suffering an abdominal strain in the final of Stuttgart. Having practiced his serve in recent days, under the watchful eye of Ivan Lendl, Murray’s outlook is positive. He will open his campaign against 77th-ranked Australian James Duckworth in a match that he will be heavily favoured to win. Duckworth has lost his last nine ATP main draw matches and he missed four months of this season due to injury. Murray could face 20th seed John Isner in round 2.

Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, will start his seventh title charge against South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo. Rafael Nadal, the second seed, is set to make his first appearance at Wimbledon since 2019 and faces Argentina’s Francisco Cerúndolo as the Spaniard aims to win his third consecutive grand slam title. Great Britain’s Paul Jubb, meanwhile, will have the opportunity of facing Nick Kyrgios in the opening round.

As an unseeded player in her first singles draw since Wimbledon last year, Williams should not have any issues with her draw. She has a decent opening round against No.113 Harmony Tan who has lost seven of her last eight tour main draw matches and had only played for the first time on grass at last year’s Wimbledon. A potential second-round match against the interminable Sara Sorribes Tormo would likely be a significant test of Williams’ rally tolerance but the Spaniard’s lack of weaponry can be her undoing on faster courts. Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova could face Williams in the third round. Pliskova has been in dire form this year after undergoing hand surgery in the off season, compiling an 8-10 record in 2022.

The world No 1 Swiatek will start against qualifier Jana Fett as she looks to extend her winning streak to 36 matches. In defending champion Ashleigh Barty’s absence, Wimbledon announced that Swiatek will open up the second day of play on Centre Court.

Meanwhile, Simona Halep returns to Wimbledon for the first time since her 2019 triumph but she has been dealt a brutal first round draw against Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic. Muchova reached the top 20 last year and the semi-final of the Australian Open but she has recently struggled with various injuries. At the French Open last month, she defeated the then No.3 Maria Sakkari in the second round before retiring in the third round after rolling her ankle.