Champion Andy’s Wimbledon honour

Andy Murray
Andy Murray

Andy Murray receives the traditional defending men’s champion’s honour of opening play on Centre Court when Wimbledon gets under way today.

The Scot begins his quest against Belgium’s David Goffin at 1pm, with that clash followed by women’s second seed Li Na of China taking on Poland’s Paula Kania.

Men’s top seed Novak Djokovic tackles Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev in the third and final match due on the All England Club’s principal show court.

Victoria Azarenka, Queen’s Club champion Grigor Dimitrov and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga provide the star quality on Court One, while five-time women’s champion Venus Williams plays Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor on Court Two.

Murray clearly represents the best home hope, but British men’s number two Dan Evans will look to impress when he faces Russian Andrey Kuznetsov in the third match on Court Two, while James Ward faces a testing assignment against Russian 17th seed Mikhail Youzhny, second up on Court Three.

Of the other Britons, Kyle Edmund will have high hopes as the 19-year-old heads into a late-afternoon match against Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer on Court 12.

Johanna Konta opens proceedings on the same court when she faces China’s Shuai Peng, while Dan Cox plays Jeremy Chardy on Court 18 and Naomi Broady is handed a Court 16 outing against Hungary’s Timea Babos.

Meanwhile Rafael Nadal is confident of a good run at this year’s tournament after suffering early losses in the last couple of years.

His shock second-round loss in 2012 to Lukas Rosol was followed last year by a first-round defeat against Steve Darcis, while in Halle last week he was beaten in his first match comprehensively by Dustin Brown.

With his knee, and now his back, proving troublesome, Nadal has found the quick transition from clay to grass too difficult to overcome.

But, after a brief trip home to Majorca to recharge his batteries, the 28-year-old believes he is in a better position to succeed in the tournament this time.

He said: “I really tried hard in Halle, even though I know I was not able to have good success there. But a few days of practice helped me to retain a little bit how to play here on grass. Personally I feel that I am doing things better. That’s the most important thing for me.

“It’s true that for the last couple of years I didn’t play a lot of matches on grass but I am confident that I can do it again. I’m not talking about winning, I’m talking about playing better than I did the last couple of years.”

Nadal will need to play better to survive the first few rounds, with the draw appearing particularly unkind to the Spaniard.

First up he faces dangerous Slovakian Martin Klizan, the second round could bring a reunion with Rosol and Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic looms in the third round.