Djokovic to play British teenager Draper as Wimbledon returns

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LONDON – Men’s defending Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic will face British teenage wildcard Jack Draper in his opening match but Simona Halep, the women’s winner at the last championships in 2019, will not open feature after withdrawing on Friday (June 25).

World No. 1 Djokovic is halfway to a calendar-year Grand Slam after winning the Australian and French Open titles this year, taking his overall tally to 19 Majors.

Draper, 19, will be making his Grand Slam main draw debut.

Romanian Halep announced earlier on Friday that she would be pulling out of the tournament with a calf injury that prevented her from playing at the French Open.

Serena Williams, who Halep beat to won the title in 2019, will begin her latest quest to claim a record-equalling 24 Grand Slam titles, against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.

Women’s top seed Ash Barty of Australia will face a first-round match against Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro who recently returned to action having recovered from cancer.

Britain’s two-time champion Andy Murray, taking part in the singles for the first time since 2017 after two hip surgeries, was drawn to play Georgian 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, who turns 40 this year, takes on Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in round one.

Wimbledon is returning this year after last year’s tournament was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The tournament is a government-approved ‘pilot event’ with a minimum 50 per cent capacity rising to a full 15,000 attendance for the men’s and women’s singles finals on Centre Court.

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