Sunday, November 18, 2018 11:33:29 PM
Defending champion Andy Murray and fellow two-time winner Rafael Nadal take centre stage on the first day of Wimbledon on Monday, keen to deliver early hammer blows to any doubts over their title aspirations.
Top seed and world number one Murray opens proceedings on Centre Court insisting a hip problem will not prevent him from dispatching Kazakh lucky loser Alexander Bublik.
The weekend news that the 30-year-old Scot is to become a father for the second time will also be an extra incentive to make it a tournament to remember.
Nadal, the champion in 2008 and 2010 and a three-time runner-up, missed last year's championships because of a wrist injury.
Since making the final in 2011, he has lost to opponents outside the top 100 on four occasions. Australia's John Millman, his first round rival on Monday, is the current 137.
Elsewhere on the opening day, former world number one Victoria Azarenka plays her first Slam since becoming a mother while two-time champion Petra Kvitova is sure to receive a warm Centre Court welcome as she steadily rebuilds her career after being attacked by a knifeman in her home last December.
Murray is looking to become the first British player -- man or woman -- to defend a Grand Slam title since Fred Perry won Wimbledon from 1934-36.
Meanwhile, Bublik, the world number 134, is making his grass court debut.
Murray, who has a 29-0 record against players outside the top 100, insists his recent hip problems are behind him.
"I'll be fine to play the event and play seven matches," he said.
Nadal is bidding to record his 850th tour-level match-win and become just the seventh player in
history to reach the landmark.
It's also his 50th match at Wimbledon.
Millman is playing just his second match of the year after missing five months with a hip injury.
- Nadal on high after French Open -
Nadal, on a high after his record-setting 10th French Open title just three weeks ago, will not be
under-estimating the Australian after his recent experiences at Wimbledon.
The 31-year-old Spaniard lost to world number 100 Lukas Rosol in 2012, number 135 Steve Darcis in 2013, Nick Kyrgios, the 144, in 2014 the 102-ranked Dustin Brown in 2015.
"This is a tournament that you can go out very early. But at the same time, if I am able to go through
at the beginning, I think I'm with confidence," said Nadal.
Venus Williams marks her 20th Wimbledon anniversary with a tie against Belgium's Elise Mertens who she defeated in the third round of Roland Garros.
However, the 37-year-old five-time champion arrives in London facing a wrongful death suit after she was involved in a fatal car crash in Florida.
An elderly man in the other vehicle suffered head injuries in the collision and died on June 22.
Kvitova, whose career was almost ended by the injuries caused fighting off an intruder at her home in
the Czech Republic, takes on Sweden's Johann Larsson.
In the absence of Serena Williams (pregnant) and Maria Sharapova (injured), Kvitova finds herself in
the position of favourite for a third title to add to her 2011 and 2014 triumphs.
Azarenka, who starts against Catherine Bellis of the United States, will be playing her first Grand
Slam since taking time off after last year's French Open to have her first child Leo in December.
Kim Clijsters, Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong are the only women to have won a Grand Slam after having a child.
Elsewhere on day one, men's fifth seed Stan Wawrinka, looking to complete the career Slam faces
Russia's Daniil Medvedev while combustible Australian Nick Kyrgios kicks off play on Court Three against Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France.
French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko, the 2014 Wimbledon junior champion, takes on Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.
Second seed Simona Halep, blasted off court in the Paris final by Ostapenko, faces New Zealand's Marina Erakovic.
Neymar kept his cool to score the controversial penalty that fired Brazil to a 1-0 win over Uruguay in a full-blooded friendly on Friday.Brazil captain Neymar was subjected to some ferocious fouls from Uruguay as the clash between the South American rivals boiled over at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.But the Paris ...
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Saturday announced the squad for the first Test of two-match series against the West Indies (WI) with ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan returned to the squad.Another big-name inclusion in the squad is Soumya Sarkar, whose last Test appearance came on the tour of South ...
THE Police Investigation Bureau (PIB) has unveiled the mystery behind a spine-chilling crime where a middle-aged woman passenger was killed inside a running bus at Ashulia in the outskirts of Dhaka city. It took hardly seven days for them to crack the case. Police have already arrested the murderers along ...
AFP, United Nations :For the first time, the United States voted Friday against an annual UN resolution condemning Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights, dropping its practice of abstaining in the vote.The non-binding resolution was adopted in a General Assembly committee by a vote of 151 to 2, with the ...
Entertainment Desk :Actress Aupee Karim is returning to the big screen after 15 years , with a film titled "Debris of Desire."Aupee made her debut in cinema with Mostofa Sarwar Farooki's 'Bachelor,' for which the actor won the Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Actress in 2004. The film is ...
US Vice-President Mike Pence expressed the Trump administration's strongest condemnation about Myanmar's treatment towards Rohingya Muslims. He told Aung San Suu Kyi that "persecution" by Myanmar's military was "without excuse" in a meeting with her on November14. Mr Pence also pressed Suu Kyi to pardon two Reuters journalists who were ...
AFP, Zagreb :Spain passed up the chance to seal progress to the Nations League finals as they were beaten 3-2 by Croatia on Thursday, undone by a 93rd-minute winner from Tin Jedvaj.Jedvaj's late strike leaves Group 4 wide open ahead of its final fixture between England and Croatia on Sunday. ...
Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh got married at the picturesque locale of Lake Como in Italy. The much-in-love duo got married in a traditional Konkani wedding ceremony on November 14 and today solemnised their wedding as per Sindhi tradition. After managing to keep their wedding pictures well-guarded, the couple has ...
Reuters, London : British Prime Minister Theresa May was fighting for survival on Friday after a draft divorce deal with the European Union provoked the resignations of senior ministers and mutiny in her party.More than two years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, it is still unclear how, ...
THE countrywide 'Income Tax Fair -2018' has already drawn a huge crowd. The authorities hope more people would be brought under tax net this year too. Finance Minister AMA Muhith while inaugurating the fair said out of country's 16 crore population, the number of taxpayers is around one crore. There ...
AP, Washington :The United States military has "lost its edge" and could potentially lose a war against Russia or China, a report by a bipartisan panel established by Congress says.The report by the National Defense Strategy Commission on November 14 said U.S. military superiority has "eroded to a dangerous degree" ...