ANDY Murray will launch his Wimbledon challenge today with a late-afternoon assignment on Centre Court.
Last year’s runner-up will face Germany’s Benjamin Becker in the third match on the principal show court, following the opening encounter between defending champion Roger Federer and Victor Hanescu, and the clash between Maria Sharapova and Kristina Mladenovic. The schedule means that, providing the early matches do not race by, Murray’s match should find a prime-time television audience.
Spain’s two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal, seeded fifth this year, starts his campaign in the second match on Court One when he faces Belgian Steve Darcis. Court One action begins with the match between women’s second seed Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, and Portugal’s Maria Joao Koehler. Court Three will hold appeal to supporters of British tennis as Scotland’s Elena Baltacha opens play at 11:30am against Italian Flavia Pennetta, prior to 18-year-old Kyle Edmund taking on Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz.
British hopefuls Johanna Konta and James Ward are due to be second and third on Court 12, as they face Jelena Jankovic and Lu Yen-hsun respectively. The incentive for Ward is huge, as a second-round clash with Murray awaits, assuming the Scot takes care of Becker. “I don’t want to think about it too much, but it’s a good incentive to work towards,” said Ward of the potential all-British clash.
If the pair do win today, it would be the first time Murray has faced a countryman at a grand slam, and the first time he has played a British player since a match against Tim Henman in Bangkok in 2006.