Andy Murray faces tricky Wimbledon return against Basilashvili

Federer can’t face Djokovic until final; Serena Williams will play Aliaksandra Sasnovich

Andy Murray will play against 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili on his Wimbledon return. File photograph: Doug Peters/PA

Andy Murray will play against 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili on his Wimbledon return. File photograph: Doug Peters/PA

 

Andy Murray will make his Wimbledon return with a tricky-looking clash against 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili while teenage wild card Jack Draper has drawn defending champion Novak Djokovic.

Murray is playing singles at the All England Club for the first time since his hip problems became acute in 2017 and has ongoing concerns over a groin issue.

He has played only four tour-level matches this year and will have his work cut out against Georgian Basilashvili, who has won two titles in 2021 and reached the semi-finals of the grass-court event in Halle last week.

Draper, 19, showed he loves the big stage by winning his first two ATP Tour matches at Queen’s Club last week and he will find himself on the biggest stage of all against Djokovic.

The defending men’s champion traditionally opens proceedings on Centre Court on the first Monday of the tournament.

Draper, who reached the junior final at the All England Club three years ago, should relish the opportunity to take on the man going for a third consecutive grand slam title.

Roger Federer was drawn in the bottom half, meaning he cannot face Djokovic until the final, but the 39-year-old is short of matches and faces a tricky opener against France’s Adrian Mannarino.

The defending women’s champion usually plays the opening match on Centre on the first Tuesday but that will not be the case this time after Simona Halep withdrew just before the draw because of a calf injury.

World number three Halep is the latest big name to withdraw and joins Naomi Osaka, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem in missing the championships.

In Halep’s absence, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka has been elevated to second seed.

Serena Williams begins her latest quest for a 24th grand slam singles title against Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich and could face a rematch with Angelique Kerber, to whom she lost in the 2018 final, in round three.

Johanna Konta, the 27th seed, takes on Czech Katerina Siniakova in round one and could meet top seed Ashleigh Barty, who has been battling a hip injury, in round three.

The Australian will open against Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, who is playing her final Wimbledon before retirement after recovering from cancer.

Debutant Francesca Jones faces Coco Gauff, who returns to the All England Club for the first time since she burst to prominence as a 15-year-old two years ago.

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