Wimbledon 2017: Andy Murray to begin defence on Monday


Andy Murray defeated Milos Raonic in three sets to win his second Wimbledon title, in 2016
Wimbledon 2017 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 3-16 July Starts: 11:30 BST
Live: Coverage across BBC TV, BBC Radio and BBC Sport website with further coverage on Red Button, Connected TVs and app. Click for full times.

Britain’s Andy Murray will open Centre Court play on Monday as he attempts to make history once again at the 131st Wimbledon Championships.

The Scot, 30, begins his title defence against Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik in the first round at 13:00 BST.

Murray, who is fit following a hip injury, hopes to match fellow Briton Fred Perry as a three-time champion.

British number one Johanna Konta is also in action on day one, along with Venus Williams and Rafael Nadal.

Defending women’s champion Serena Williams is absent as she awaits the birth of her first child.

The weather forecast for the early days of the tournament suggests little or no rain but play is guaranteed on Centre Court thanks to the roof, which has been in place since 2009.

Court One will be even more open to the elements than usual this year as work has begun on installing a roof there in time for the 2019 Championships.

The earliest places in the famous queue for tickets were taken 48 hours before play starts by those prepared to camp out.

Approaching half a million spectators will pass through the gates of the All England Club across the 13 days of play – and they will consume 28,000kg of strawberries and 10,000 litres of cream along the way.

And after 647 matches, the two singles champions will walk away with record prize money of £2.2m – double the winners’ cheques of just six years ago – while first-round losers will take home £35,000.

‘A few more nerves’ for Murray

Wimbledon 2016: Andy Murray beats Milos Raonic to take second title

Much of the focus will again fall on Murray, who hopes at add to his victories of 2013 and 2016, having overcome the worst of a hip injury he suffered in the build-up.

He will carry the burden of knowing his number one ranking is under threat from Nadal, Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic, as well as trying to retain his title.

“I don’t feel like I’m coming in trying to defend something,” said Murray.

“I’m going out there trying to win Wimbledon again. I want to try to win the competition.

“Maybe it adds a little bit of extra pressure. Maybe a few more nerves, especially at this Slam with the way the scheduling is, that you’re the first one out there on Centre Court.

“You feel like you’re opening up the tournament a little bit, and that adds a few more nerves.

“But I feel OK. I’ve felt fairly calm the last few days, considering how I’ve been feeling.”

Johanna Konta practised at Wimbledon on Sunday, showing no signs of the back injury she suffered at Eastbourne on Thursday

Konta, 26, has her highest ever seeding at a Grand Slam at sixth, but she too is on the mend after injuring her spine in a heavy fall at Eastbourne on Thursday.

“It’s much better,” she said. “Definitely it was medically the right decision to not continue playing in Eastbourne, to give my body that chance to recover.

“It was a bit of a traumatic fall on the body.”

Federer favourite to land eighth title

Roger Federer won his first Wimbledon title back in 2003

While both Murray and Konta have serious ambitions for the next two weeks, Switzerland’s seven-time champion Roger Federer and Czech players Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova are the favourites for the men’s and women’s titles.

Federer, 35, is trying to win a record eighth Wimbledon title and his first since 2012, and has enjoyed a superb 2017 that began with victory at the Australian Open – his 18th Grand Slam title.

He skipped the entire clay-court season, taking a 10-week break that leaves him fresh for the challenge of Wimbledon.

“That was the decision for me – no compromise really,” said Federer, who would surpass Pete Sampras with an eighth title.

“To give myself the best chance for the grass, so I would never look back and have regrets once I came here.”

Kvitova, 27, is playing only the third tournament back since suffering a career-threatening injury to her hand during a knife attack at her home in December.

She will follow Murray onto Centre Court when she takes on Sweden’s Johanna Larsson, with Swiss fifth seed Stan Wawrinka then up against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev.

Five-time champion Venus Williams opens play on Court One against Belgian Elise Mertens.

Nadal is fully fit and looks like a title contender once again, having last won Wimbledon in 2010, and the Spaniard follows Williams in his match against Australian John Millman.

Konta completes the line-up on Wimbledon’s second show court when she plays Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan.

Seven Britons play on day one

Britain has 12 players involved in the singles draws – four through their ranking, seven offered wildcards and one, world number 855 Alex Ward, having come through qualifying.

Jamie Murray and Brazil’s Bruno Soares are seeded third for the men’s doubles, while Gordon Reid, Alfie Hewett and Jordanne Whiley defend their wheelchair titles.

Seven Britons are in singles action on day one: Murray, Konta, Heather Watson, Naomi Broady, Laura Robson, Aljaz Bedene and Cameron Norrie.

Alex Ward and compatriot Kyle Edmund are sure to carry plenty of support when they meet on Tuesday.

Other Britons in action
Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil) v Laura Robson (GB)
Naomi Broady (GB) v Irina-Camelia Begu (Romania)
Maryna Zanevska (Belgium) v Heather Watson (GB)
12-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) v Cameron Norrie (GB)
Ivo Karlovic (Croatia) v Aljaz Bedene (GB)

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