WIMBLEDON – Serena Williams came out on the center court under a retractable roof closed on Friday afternoon, taking advantage of Wimbledon’s new policy of allowing players to practice there and on track number 1 before the tournament starts next week.
Accompanied by coach Eric Hechtman – who worked with his older sister, Venus, and replaces longtime coach Patrick Moratoglou, now with Simona Halep – and batting partner Jarmere Jenkins, Williams returned to the place of his last official singles match in any place, almost a complete. a year ago at the All England Club. That ended after less than a set, when Williams slipped on the slippery turf and injured his right leg.
Wearing a completely white outfit and visor, Williams followed Iga Swiatek, No. 1 in the rankings, to the main stadium and went through about 45 minutes of training, from backstrokes to volleys and overloads to his best service in the game. The “mph” monitors on the track were off, so there was no way to know how fast his shots were fired, but the echoes produced by his blunt blows reverberated in the thousands of empty green seats in the sand and on the white lid on his head while outside a light rain fell.
The scene unfolded just hours after the draw determined Williams would begin his comeback at Wimbledon facing Harmony Tan, a 24-year-old Frenchwoman who ranks 113th and holds a 2-6 record in Grand Slam matches.
Due to his lack of activity in the last 12 months, Williams, who has been No. 1 in the standings for a total of 319 weeks, is out of the WTA’s top 1,200 and could have finished anywhere on the field. He only returned to tour this week playing two doubles matches in a tuning event in England.
Although the history of the 40-year-old American would deserve a head start, the All England Club strictly adheres to the seed classification.
Williams has won seven Wimbledon championships, part of his 23 individual Grand Slam titles, a record for the professional era. Tan, meanwhile, will debut in the grass tournament.
If Williams beats Tan, the next may be a game against Sara Sorribes Tormo, who ranks 32nd, but never made it past the third round in 19 major games.
The third round could put Williams on a tougher test: sixth seed Karolina Pliskova, who was Ash Barty’s runner-up last year at Wimbledon and also reached the 2016 U.S. Open final, beating Williams in the semifinals there. .
Barty retired in March and does not defend his title. So the honor of playing the first game on the central court on Tuesday, a space traditionally reserved for the previous year’s women’s champion, will be for Swiatek, who has just collected his second trophy at the French Open and enters a series of 35 consecutive victories. . The tournament announced on Friday that Swiatek was his pick for that Tuesday schedule.
The women’s quarterfinals projected based on the rankings are Swiatek against No. 8 Jessica Pegula, Pliskova vs. No. 4 Paula Badosa, No. 2 Anett Kontaveit vs. No. 5 Maria Sakkari and No. 3 Ons Jabeur vs. No. 7 Danielle Collins.
The possible men’s quarterfinals are first seed Novak Djokovic against 5 Carlos Alcaraz, 3 Casper Ruud against 7 Hubert Hurkacz, 2 Rafael Nadal against 6 Felix Auger-Aliassime and 4. Stefanos Tsitsipas against No. 8 Matteo Berrettini.
Djokovic won his third consecutive Wimbledon title – and sixth overall – by beating Berrettini in last year’s final.
Djokovic starts on Monday in the central court game against South Korean Kwon Soon-woo, number 75.
Although Djokovic’s ranking has dropped to No. 3, he leads the men’s seed because No. 1 Daniil Medvedev and No. 2 Alexander Zverev are not on the field. Medvedev is Russian, and all players from that country and Belarus have been banned by the All England Club because of the war in Ukraine. Zverev broke the ligaments of his right foot during his French Open semi-final against Nadal, who won his 14th championship there and the 22nd men’s overall record in the majors.
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Serena Williams trains on the center court; 1st enemy no 113
Source link Serena Williams trains on the center court; 1st enemy no 113