We start our media day round-up with two British grand slam champions as Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu, who both spoke to the press today. Both have had injury scares over the grass court season with Murray suffering a slight hip injury in the Stuttgart final against Matteo Berrettini. While Raducanu suffered an abdomen problem in Nottingham to derail her grass court plans.
Starting with Murray the three-time grand slam champion told the press about his gradual improvement and life under Ivan Lendl:
“Yeah, it’s gone well. Yeah, I’ve been able to gradually progress my training this week and got to play a few sets, a lot of points,” Murray said about the injury.
“I mean, I think I showed a couple weeks ago that there was still good tennis left in me. I mean, I beat a guy in the top five in the world, you know, was neck-and-neck with Berrettini, who is one of the best grass court players in the world before the injury. I played well against Kyrgios, as well. The first set was a good level. And I’ve been doing pretty well in practices. Yeah, I know the tennis is in there; I just need to bring it out during the event now.
“I mean, we spoke not necessarily about any of the training that I did in the past, but more the future. The place in my career that I am just now, he obviously played into his 30s as well. As he got older, reduced the amount of training and stuff he was doing himself. So we spoke about that a little bit, the amount I would be doing moving forwards.”
Murray will hope that the work with Lendl will translate into results as he takes on James Duckworth third on Centre Court on Monday.
In her press conference Raducanu said despite her injury troubles she is raring to go:
“I’ve been preparing this week. Yesterday we just had to react to the situation. I already practiced in the morning. So, yeah, we all collectively thought it was the best decision to pass on the afternoon session as well, and, yeah, stay fresh and ready to go,” Raducanu said about skipping her afternoon practice session with Muguruza on Court One.
“I think that this week was a good buildup. Definitely, you know, there were moments earlier on in the week we weren’t really sure. We were sort of going to see how the week goes. But it went pretty well. And, yeah, now it’s full steam ahead. Everyone’s really looking forward to it. Yeah, we’re all ready. Right now I’m fit. I’m ready to go. I’m looking forward to it. That’s it.”
Raducanu’s match on Monday will be her first ever match on Centre Court and will be hoping it will be a successful one as she looks for her first deep grand slam run since winning the US Open.
Wimbledon marks the singles return of 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams who has taken a wildcard to SW19. Serena returned to doubles action in Eastbourne with Ons Jabeur where they reached the semi-finals. Now the American looks to win a historic 24th grand slam title and prove that she still has it in her to win the biggest prize in tennis.
However naturally retirement talk has surrounded Serena after not competing for a year however Serena put those rumours to bed during her press conference:
“I don’t know. I didn’t retire. I just needed to heal physically, mentally,” Serena explained.
“I had no plans, to be honest. I just didn’t know when I would come back. I didn’t know how I would come back. Obviously Wimbledon is such a great place to be, and it just kind of worked out. I don’t know. I can only tell you that I’m here. Who knows where I’ll pop up next. You just got to be ready.”
Serena will take on Harmony Tan on Tuesday and could face Karolina Pliskova in a blockbuster third round match.
From one Wimbledon icon to another as Novak Djokovic prepares to defend his Wimbledon title when he opens Centre Court on Monday against Soonwoo Kwon. Djokovic is yet to win a grand slam having been denied entry into the Australian Open due to vaccination and a quarter-final defeat to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.
Speaking of Nadal, Djokovic was asked about the Spaniard’s achievement to win both grand slams this season and the world number one had nothing but praise to offer:
“I mean, he had a surgery second part of last year, coming back after that surgery and winning Grand Slam right away. Something that is really impressive, of course,” Djokovic said.
“Making history as well with Grand Slam wins. Again, in Roland Garros, of course, the tournament where historically he has won most titles. Just hats down for what he has achieved, what he keeps on doing on the court. Great fighting spirit. Amazing champion.
“Just in general overall things that he’s trying to do in order to create even more of a successful legacy for him on the court is something that you just have to respect and admire, of course, even though I’m one of his biggest rivals and we had incredible matches during our career. Have nothing but respect for him and what he has achieved.”
Djokovic will be chasing a 21st grand slam champion and a seventh Wimbledon title when he takes to court over the next two weeks.
As for Nadal, he will start his campaign in Tuesday against Francisco Cerundolo and the Spaniard is feeling fairly positive about his chances:
“So quite happy about the things, how evolved. I can’t be super happy because I don’t know what can happen. But I only can speak about the feelings that I am having the last two weeks,” Nadal said about the foot.
“I can walk normal most of the days, almost every single day. That’s for me the main issue. When I wake up, I don’t have this pain that I was having for the last year and a half, so quite happy about that. Second thing, practicing. I have been in overall better, honestly, no? Since the last two weeks, I didn’t have not one day of these terrible days that I can’t move at all. Of course, days better; days a little bit worst. The feeling and overall feelings are positive, no, because I am in a positive way in terms of pain, and that’s the main thing.
“But in general terms have been an amazing, positive six months in terms of tennis results. Yeah, I enjoy it because have been unexpected. But now is the moment to keep going, no, if I am able to be better with my body. Main thing for me is keep enjoying my daily work and my day by day playing tennis.”
Nadal will be looking for a 23rd grand slam title and a third one this season which would put him one away from the calendar grand slam.
Wimbledon starts on Monday with play on the outside courts beginning a 11:00 while Centre Court and Court One begins at 13:30.
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