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Wimbledon 2022: Five key talking points as star-studded action gets underway at All-England Club

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Ground staff prepare the court before the start of play at Wimbledon. Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville

Ground staff prepare the court before the start of play at Wimbledon. Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville

Ground staff prepare the court before the start of play at Wimbledon. Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville

The 2022 edition of Wimbledon gets under way on Monday morning with a star-studded line-up.

Reigning men's singles champion Novak Djokovic starts proceedings on Centre Court and will be followed by home hopes Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray on the opening day.

Here, we pick out five talking points ahead of this year's tournament.

Djokovic aiming to rein in Rafa?

Djokovic has not won any of the last three grand slams - the first time that has happened since 2018. The 2021 Wimbledon champion lost in the final at the US Open, was deported ahead of the Australian Open due to his anti-vaccination stance and was beaten by an inspired Rafael Nadal at the French Open.

With Nadal winning in Australia and Paris, the Spaniard is now two clear of Djokovic on 22 grand slam singles titles, but this is a serious chance for the Serbian to claw one back.

Djokovic has won the last three titles at Wimbledon - and six in total - while there are doubts over the fitness of Nadal, who played through the French Open with a foot injury, and only two of his 22 titles have been at SW19.

With another Covid-19 row looming at the US Open in September, this is an important tournament for Djokovic in the race to be grand slam king.

Serena's quest for history

Serena Williams is back for another shot at equalling Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam singles titles.

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The American won her 23rd title in 2017 when she won the Australian Open while pregnant, but has been unable to add to her tally since her comeback.

The 40-year-old had not played since limping out of the first round at the All England Club 12 months ago due to a leg injury before competing in two doubles matches at Eastbourne.

Helping Williams' bid for history is an open women's draw.

Last year's champion Ash Barty has retired and while number one seed Iga Swiatek is on a record-equalling 35-match winning run taking in six successive tournaments, she said: "I still feel like I need to figure out grass."

Emma's homecoming

Things will be a little bit different for Raducanu at Wimbledon this year, 12 months on from her historic run to the second week of her debut grand slam.

The teenager, fresh from completing her A-Levels, became the youngest British player to make it to the fourth round at SW19 and things only got better from there as two months later she incredibly won the US Open.

She achieved all that success without having established herself on the regular tour and it has been tough since as injuries, defeats and a raft of coaching changes have made it a difficult introduction to life as a professional.

And the 19-year-old has played just 33 minutes of action on the grass after sustaining a side strain in her first warm-up match at Nottingham ahead of facing the tricky Alison Van Uytvanck.

Any more Murray magic?

Murray skipped all-but one tournament in the clay-court season in order to prepare for Wimbledon and it looked like a wise decision as he made the final of an ATP Tour event in Stuttgart.

He suffered an injury in that defeat to 2021 SW19 runner-up Matteo Berrettini, but having said his recovery had "gone well", the former world number one will have eyes on his best run at a grand slam since his hip injury derailed his career in 2016.

The two-time Wimbledon singles champion has only been past the second round once in eight attempts as tough draws and poor performances have hindered him.

But this is his happy hunting ground and he will realistically be eyeing a run to the second week, which would be some achievement for a player with a metal hip.

Ban and ranking points controversy

This is the first edition of the tournament since 2019 that will be played in front of a full capacity, but things are still not completely normal.

Wimbledon's decision to bar Russian and Belarusian players in response to the invasion of Ukraine has had serious repercussions, with the ATP and WTA deciding to withhold ranking points from the tournament.

Men's world number one Daniil Medvedev and women's number five Aryna Sabalenka are among those to be banned, but the prestige and record prize money will still make it worthwhile for most players.


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