Wimbledon day one: Novak Djokovic starts bid for record-equalling eighth title

Wimbledon day one: Novak Djokovic starts bid for record-equalling eighth title

Reigning men’s champion Novak Djokovic will kick things off on Centre Court as Wimbledon gets under way on Monday.

There will also be an emotional return to the big stage for five-time women’s champion Venus Williams as well as plenty of British players hoping for some home glory.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the opening day of action.

Rivals reunited

Djokovic begins the pursuit of an eighth title – which would draw him level with record-holder Roger Federer – against Pedro Cachin.

But he probably had a bigger test as he resumed rivalries with Andy Murray in practice over the weekend.

The pair enjoyed a competitive encounter out on the Aorangi Park courts on Saturday, almost 10 years to the day from when Murray beat Djokovic to win his first Wimbledon title.

That victory in the 2013 final gives Murray the distinction of being the only player in this year’s draw to have beaten Djokovic at Wimbledon.

Iga to prove herself

World number one Iga Swiatek begins her quest for a first Wimbledon title, fresh from another success at the French Open last month.

The Pole, Aryna Sabalenka and defending champion Elena Rybakina are the ‘big three’ in the women’s game at the moment but grass is not the former’s strongest surface.

Swiatek has not made it past the fourth round at SW19 before but should get a nice gentle opening to the tournament as she is first up on Court One against China’s Zhu Lin, who has won just one singles match in four Wimbledon appearances.

Match of the day

Venus Williams returns to SW19 in singles competition for the first time since 2021 and will be looking to add to the five titles she has won here, the last being in 2008.

However, that is highly unlikely and, aged 43, this may be more of a swansong, 12 months on from her sister Serena bidding farewell to the championships.

She gets a Centre Court date with Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who is making a good return following the birth of her baby in October.

Brit Watch

Six home players are in action on the opening day and all will have hopes of getting through.

Katie Swan perhaps has the toughest task as she was drawn against 14th seed Belinda Bencic, but she has been playing well this summer.

Dan Evans takes on Frenchman Quentin Halys, Liam Broady is up against Constant Lestienne and Jan Choinski plays Dusan Lajovic.

Jodie Burrage got to the final at Nottingham so will be confident against American Caty McNally while Harriet Dart, who made back-to-back quarter-finals at Nottingham and Birmingham, goes up against Diane Parry.

Order of play