The bamks of Henman Hill will today be packed to the rafters for the first time since before the pandemic. Wimbledon is back.
And though the likelihood of an Andy Murray win feels slim, and the odds on Emma Raducanu lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish remain long, there’s hope that a number of Brits will make the second week of the Slam.
Murray will take the British headlines on the men’s side of the draw. Fresh off a final in Stuttgart – where he lost to the in-form Matteo Berrettini – the 35-year-old remains a fan favourite.
He’s the most successful Brit in the singles in SW19 in recent years and he’ll be hoping to capture the nation once again when he opens his account today on Centre Court against James Duckworth.
British No1 Cameron Norrie has been the most consistent across the last couple of seasons.
That said, the South Africa-born 26-year-old has never made it beyond the third round at the All England Club.
A solid server and stable returner, Norrie can cause issues for any opponent – across five sets, though, he could struggle. He plays Pablo Andújar first.
The one to watch, though, would be Jack Draper. On an impressive run of making the latter stages of tournaments – including a semi-final at Eastbourne last week – he is the kind of player you’d want to avoid in the opening rounds.
He hasn’t yet passed the first round of Wimbledon but this year he has developed well into the grass court season, and there’s no doubt he could make a surprise appearance in the second week if he gets off to a good start against Zizou Bergs.
Raducanu remains on a high, and this Wimbledon will be her first since winning a Grand Slam in the United States last year.
She captured the hearts of those on Henman Hill last year in making it to the fourth round before retiring in the second set against Ajla Tomljanović.
But in her first Wimbledon as a known face, the pressure will be on. And though many will expect to see her in the second week, her first obstacle in Alison Van Uytvanck on Centre Court will be no easy feat.
Katie Boulter has been hampered by injury throughout her professional career but the world No118 has the potential to surprise. In an impressive run to the last 16 at Eastbourne last week, Boulter beat Karolina Pliskova before giving it a good go against Patra Kvitova. She faces Clara Burel on Tuesday.
Tennis in Britain has faced its challenges at Wimbledon since Murray’s success.
But in Raducanu and a number of other players such as Boulter and Harriet Dart – as well as Daniel Evans, Norrie and Ryan Peniston – there’s be hope for those on the Hill come this morning.