• Thursday, July 18, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Alcaraz, Sinner, and Gauff in action on opening day of the Championships

Carlos Alcaraz (L), Coco Gauff (C) and Jannik Sinner will begin their Wimbledon 2024 campaign on the opening day. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Carlos Alcaraz will be the main attraction on the opening day of Wimbledon as he begins his quest to retain the title. Later in the day, world number one Jannik Sinner will look to make a strong start in his opening match.

Alcaraz, 21, who defeated Novak Djokovic to win the title last year and recently won the French Open, will be aiming for his fourth Grand Slam title. He will open Centre Court action against Estonian qualifier Mark Lajal. World number 269 Lajal, one week younger than Alcaraz, aims to become the third man in history to defeat the defending champion in the first round at Wimbledon.

“I want to put my name on that shortlist to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year,” Alcaraz said, aiming to join Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer, and Djokovic in achieving that feat. “It’s going to be a really difficult and big challenge for me, but I think I’m ready to do it.”

Italy’s Sinner, who won this year’s Australian Open and knocked Novak Djokovic off the top of the rankings, faces a more experienced opponent in Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann. Sinner, who made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2022 and semi-finals last year, arrives in London after capturing a maiden grass-court title in Halle. He aims to build on his success and further solidify his position among the sport’s elite.

Emma Raducanu, the 2021 US Open champion, returns to Centre Court after missing last year due to injury. She faces Russian 22nd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova. “It’s a great opportunity to try to get a good scalp and enjoy playing how I have been in the last few weeks,” Raducanu said, eager to make an impact as she works her way back up the rankings.

Coco Gauff, enjoying a strong season, concludes Centre Court action on the opening day as the women’s second seed takes on fellow American Caroline Dolehide. “Everybody has an equal shot, and it’s just about who can perform better that week,” Gauff said, emphasising the open competition.

On Court One, Aryna Sabalenka, the third seed and many people’s favourite for the title, opens against American Emina Bektas. Sabalenka, who made the semi-finals of the French Open earlier this month, will look to continue her impressive form on the grass courts of Wimbledon.

Daniil Medvedev is first on Court One, with Sinner bookending the day on the second-biggest court. Fans flooding into the All England Club, many having camped out overnight, will be treated to a day of high-profile matches. Norway’s eighth seed Casper Ruud, who has more wins than any player on the ATP Tour this year, will face Australian Alex Bolt on the outside courts, adding to the day’s excitement.

Carlos Alcaraz begins his Wimbledon title defence on Monday, opening play on Centre Court against Estonia’s Mark Lajal, ranked 269th. Alcaraz, who won his third Grand Slam at the French Open, aims to become the sixth man to complete the French Open-Wimbledon double in the same season. “I want to put my name on that shortlist to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year. It’s a big challenge, but I’m ready,” Alcaraz said.

Lajal, the son of a motocross rider, has only two main tour wins but hopes to make history by defeating the defending champion in the first round.

Jannik Sinner, who won the Australian Open and became world number one, plays Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann on Monday. Sinner, who made the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year, arrives after winning a grass-court title in Halle. He aims to continue his strong performance on grass and solidify his place at the top of the rankings.

Emma Raducanu returns to Centre Court after missing last year due to injury, facing Russian 22nd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova. “It’s a great opportunity to get a good scalp and enjoy playing,” Raducanu said, looking forward to making a mark at Wimbledon again.

Coco Gauff, the women’s second seed, concludes Centre Court action against fellow American Caroline Dolehide. On Court One, Aryna Sabalenka, the third seed, opens against American Emina Bektas. “Everybody has an equal shot, and it’s about who can perform better,” Gauff said.

Daniil Medvedev starts on Court One, with Sinner ending the day’s action on the second-biggest court. Fans will also see Norway’s eighth seed Casper Ruud against Australian Alex Bolt on the outside courts.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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