Roger Federer and Serena Williams hope to defy the doubters when they get their Wimbledon campaigns underway on ‘Super Tuesday’ at the All England Club where a backlog of matches needs to be cleared after the opening day downpours.
Serena, a seven-time Wimbledon champion, is still one shy of Margaret Court’s Grand Slam singles record of 24.
Williams remains in the top 10 in the world but bowed out early in the French Open and the days of her holding a psychological edge over players appear to have gone.
Eight-time winner Federer, like Williams edging closer to his 40th birthday, had a disappointing second round exit at Halle – his traditional warm-up for Wimbledon which he has won 10 times.
He starts against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino who has reached the fourth round at Wimbledon three times.
Federer says his longevity was not something he planned.
“Truthfully, I don’t think my goal was to play till, whatever, 39 or 40 or more,” he said.
“It was maybe more like 35 I was thinking, which was already a high number at the time.”
Federer lost an epic final to Novak Djokovic two years ago despite holding two championship points.
Last year he underwent two knee surgeries.
- ‘Big X on my back’ -
Williams faces Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus on Tuesday.
The American has never lost a first round match at Wimbledon, posting a 19-0 record.
Indeed, she has only ever lost one opening round match in 78 major appearances.
The American puts players generally being able to play longer down to technology.
“I think technology has played a huge role in that,” she said.
“The way we view the game, the way we recover, the way our shoes are made, the way the equipment is made.
“Because normally people retire at 29, 30, before – 29, 30, 32 was the max.
“I feel like there’s several players at that age who are just hitting their stride.”
Williams, though, acknowledges that with her legend status every player who faces her ups their game.
“I’ve had a big X on my back since ‘99, since I won the US Open,” she said.
“When players play me that hard every single tournament, every single match, every single Grand Slam, it just doesn’t matter where, you just get better.
“Yeah, it’s been difficult mentally when someone might beat you and they lose directly in the next round almost every time.”
One of the big barriers to Williams’s goal of equalling the controversial Court’s record will be Ashleigh Barty.
The 25-year-old world number one has the honour – in the absence of 2019 champion Simona Halep – of opening on Centre Court against Carla Suarez Navarro.
The 32-year-old Spaniard is likely to have the crowd on her side after being diagnosed and then beating Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Barty will be seeking to add senior Wimbledon glory to her 2011 junior title with the added symbolism of it being 50 years since her fellow indigenous Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley won her first Wimbledon title.
Barty will be wearing an outfit inspired by Cawley’s iconic scallop dress she wore when she won in 1971.
“It’s a really special anniversary for a lot of Australians, but for indigenous Australians in particular,” said Barty of the 50th anniversary of Cawley’s triumph.
Only 32 of the scheduled 64 singles matches were completed Monday.
Tuesday’s bumper programme also includes second seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev, fresh from his first grass court title in Mallorca, facing Jan-Lennard Struff.
The German player defeated Medvedev in Halle earlier this month.
Coco Gauff, who made the last 16 in 2019 as a 15-year-old qualifier, is seeded 20 and faces British wildcard Francesca Jones.
Venus Williams, the five-time winner, faces Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu while French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova tackles Clara Tauson of Denmark.
Also on the schedule is Australian crowd-pleaser Nick Kyrgios who plays France’s Ugo Humbert.
Order of play, singles – Tuesday
Centre Court (6 pm)
- Ashleigh Barty v Carla Suarez Navarro
- Roger Federer v Adrian Mannarino
- Aliaksandra Sasnovich v Serena Williams
NO.1 court (5:30 pm)
- Tallon Griekspoor v Alexander Zverev
- Angelique Kerber v Nina Stojanovic
- Jan-Lennard Struff v Daniil Medvedev
NO.2 court (3:30 pm)
- Daniel Evans v Feliciano Lopez
- Diego Schwartzman v Benoit Paire
- Francesca Jones v Coco Gauff
- Lucas Pouille v Cameron Norrie
- Alize Cornet v Bianca Andreescu
NO.3 court (3:30 pm)
- Mihaela Buzarnescu v Venus Williams
- Clara Tauson v Barbora Krejcikova
- Fernando Verdasco v Grigor Dimitrov
- Felix Auger-Aliassime v Thiago Monteiro
Court 12 (3:30 pm)
- Denis Shapovalov v Philipp Kohlschreiber
- Christopher O’Connell v Gael Monfils
- Nick Kyrgios v Ugo Humbert
- Victoria Azarenka v Kateryna Kozlova
- Belinda Bencic v Kaja Juvan
Court 18 (3:30 pm)
- Elise Mertens v Harriet Dart
- Fabio Fognini v Albert Ramos-Vinolas
- Kiki Bertens v Marta Kostyuk
- Marin Cilic v Salvatore Caruso
- Sam Querrey v Pablo Carreno Busta
Court 4 (3:30 pm)
- Tereza Martincova v Alison Riske
- Varvara Gracheva v Petra Martic
- Cristian Garin v Bernabe Zapata Miralles
- Yasutaka Uchiyama v Carlos Alcaraz
- Leylah Fernandez v Jelena Ostapenko
Court 5 (3:30 pm)
- Ons Jabeur v Rebecca Peterson
- Soonwoo Kwon v Daniel Masur
- Anna Blinkova v Timea Babos
- Steve Johnson v Dennis Novak
- Greet Minnen v Ajla Tomljanovic
Court 6 (3:30 pm)
- Zhizhen Zhang v Antoine Hoang
- Jessica Pegula v Caroline Garcia
- Sara Sorribes Tormo v Ana Konjuh
- Lorenzo Sonego v Pedro Sousa
Court 7 (3:30 pm)
- Donna Vekic v Anastasia Potapova
- Marie Bouzkova v Vera Zvonareva
- Tennys Sandgren v Norbert Gombos
- Emil Ruusuvuori v Marcos Giron
- Katerina Siniakova v Yafan Wang
Court 8 (3:30 pm)
- Pierre-Hugues Herbert v Pablo Andujar
- Oscar Otte v Arthur Rinderknech
- Anastasija Sevastova v Zarina Diyas
- Mikhail Kukushkin v Alexander Bublik
- Ellen Perez v Clara Burel
Court 9 (3:30 pm)
- Lin Zhu v Mona Barthel
- Pablo Cuevas v Laslo Djere
- Marco Trungelliti v Benjamin Bonzi
- Olga Govortsova v Coco Vandeweghe
Court 10 (3:30 pm)
- Ann Li v Nadia Podoroska
- Lloyd Harris v Ricardas Berankis
- Marc Polmans v Yen-Hsun Lu
- James Duckworth v Radu Albot
Court 11 (3:30 pm)
- Dusan Lajovic v Gilles Simon
- Elena Vesnina v Martina Trevisan
- Taylor Fritz v Brandon Nakashima
- Daria Kasatkina v Patricia Maria Tig
Court 14 (3:30 pm)
- Karolina Pliskova v Tamara Zidansek
- Liudmila Samsonova v Kaia Kanepi
- Hubert Hurkacz v Lorenzo Musetti
- Daniel Elahi Galan v Federico Coria
Court 15 (3:30 pm)
- Maria Sakkari v Arantxa Rus
- Misaki Doi v Claire Liu
- Richard Gasquet v Yuichi Sugita
- Nao Hibino v Bernarda Pera
- Marketa Vondrousova v Anett Kontaveit
Court 16 (3:30 pm)
- Shelby Rogers v Samantha Stosur
- Madison Brengle v Christina McHale
- Andrea Petkovic v Jasmine Paolini
- Filip Krajinovic v Alex Bolt
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Mikael Ymer
Court 17 (3:30 pm)
- Sebastian Korda v Alex De Minaur
- Egor Gerasimov v Jay Clarke
- Juan Ignacio Londero v Gianluca Mager
- Sorana Cirstea v Samantha Murray Sharan
- Emma Raducanu v Vitalia Diatchenko
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