Draw Completed, Stage Now Set For Wimbledon

Wimbledon (photo: @Wimbledon/Twitter)

WIMBLEDON/WASHINGTON, June 25, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

The Wimbledon draw ceremony, in which names are drawn randomly to select the first round match-ups for this year’s third – and grandest – major, took place Friday morning at the All England Club. Head Referee Gerry Armstrong and Deputy Referee Denise Parnell carried out the draw, meticulously reading off names for both the gentlemen’s and ladies’ singles draws.

The stage now is set for the Wimbledon Championships to commence Monday.

Among the storylines going in were: Who would Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer draw as their first-round opponents and would they be on opposite sides of the draw unlike the French Open? Who would Andy Murray start against? What about Serena Williams as she continues her quest for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam? Would Simona Halep be healthy enough to play after having to miss Roland Garros?

In due time, the answers to all of these questions – and more – were revealed.

First, shortly before the draw, Halep, the 2019 Ladies’ singles champion, announced via her social media that she had withdrawn with a calf injury that she sustained in Rome and has now kept her out of back-to-back Grand Slams.

“It is with great sadness that I’m announcing my withdrawal from The Championships as my calf injury has not fully recovered,” she wrote.


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Then, as the men’s draw unfolded Djokovic drew British wild card Jack Draper while eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer was drawn to play a familiar foe, Adrian Mannarino of France – and, many a tennis fan breathed a sigh of relief as Djokovic and Federer were placed in opposite ends of the draw and, thus, cannot meet until the final. As for Murray, twice a Wimbledon titlist and now a wild card entrant, he will face Georgia’s Nikolaz Basilashvili, the 24th seed.

Meanwhile, the No. 6 seed Williams will face Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus in the first round as she goes after her eighth Wimbledon singles title As for the No. 1 women’s seed, Ashleigh Barty, she will face feel-good story Carla Suárez Navarro of Spain, playing in her final Wimbledon before she retires.

As Djokovic continues his quest to tie Federer and Nadal for most career major singles titles with 20, his possible route to defending his 2019 Wimbledon crown includes:

With the withdrawal of Halep, it elevates World No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka to the No. 2 seed. Without Halep to defend her title, will be a new ladies’ champion this year.

Sadly, there will be plenty of familiar names missing from this year’s fortnight besides Halep. On the women’s side, there’s Naomi Osaka and Jennifer Brady, while on the men’s side, there’s two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, David Goffin, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic.

Fortunately, as always with a Grand Slam, there are plenty of enticing first-round matches lined up. On the men’s side, there’s Stefanos Tsitsipas versus Frances Tiafoe, Sebastian Korda against Alex de Minaur, Nick Kyrgios facing Ugo Humbert and Hubert Hurkacz taking on Lorenzo Musetti. On the women’s side, French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova versus Clara Tauson, Alizé Cornet against Bianca Andreescu, Petra Kvitova facing Sloane Stephens and Iga Swiatek taking on Hsieh Su-Wei. There will be plenty of must-see TV matches as the draws unfold – and, perhaps, unravel through the British fortnight.

Indeed, the stage is now set. Let the Championships begin.