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Andy Murray receives Wimbledon wild card

Andy Murray receives Wimbledon wild card
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Andy Murray will play singles at the All England Club for the first time since 2017.

Andy Murray has been confirmed as one of the initial recipients of a Wimbledon wild card.

The two-time champion, who played just his third ATP singles match of the year at Queen's Club on Tuesday, is ranked down at 124, which is outside the cut-off for direct qualification.

Murray's last appearance in singles at the All England Club was in 2017, when his hip problems first surfaced, although he did play men's doubles and mixed doubles two years ago.

Murray will be joined by fellow British players Katie Boulter, Jodie Burrage, Harriet Dart, Samantha Murray Sharan, Francesca Jones, Liam Broady, Jay Clarke and 19-year-old Jack Draper, who won his maiden ATP Tour match at Queen's on Monday.

Five-time champion Venus Williams and Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz have also been given main draw wild cards, while 16 other British players have been given wild cards into qualifying.

Paul Jubb, who earned a lot of attention two years ago when he was given a wild card after winning the US college title, misses out this year through injury.

Maintenance staff lift barriers into place ahead of this year's tournament
Maintenance staff lift barriers into place ahead of this year's tournament (Thomas Lovelock/AELTC/PA)

Chief executive Sally Bolton revealed that, as things stand, the All England Club is expecting Naomi Osaka to compete in the tournament, which begins on June 28.

Bolton said: "We've reached out to her team, we haven't spoken to Naomi herself. At this point in time she's entered into the Championships and we haven't received confirmation that she won't compete."

Osaka has been taking time away from the court since withdrawing from the French Open for mental health reasons amid a furore around her refusal to fulfil media duties.

Tournament director Jamie Baker added: "I had the conversation with her team. It's absolutely clear that we're here, we're completely open for any discussions when they want to have that.

"Hopefully it goes without saying that we want the best players competing here no matter what.

Naomi Osaka is still entered into the Championships
Naomi Osaka is still entered into the Championships (Steven Paston/PA)

"We treat every single player with a tremendous amount of care. That's one of the main reasons for me and my role.

"We've been building those relationships so there's a constant, ongoing dialogue and we will just continue to behave in this way."

It was announced on Monday that Wimbledon would be a pilot event as part of the third stage of the Government Event Research Programme, enabling 50 per cent capacity crowds from the start of the event.

The first week will see a cap of 50 per cent capacity for Centre Court and Court One with the smaller show courts at 75 per cent capacity. Organisers aim to have increased capacity on the main two courts for the fourth round and quarter-finals, with full capacity for the semi-finals and finals.

Wimbledon is gearing up to host spectators again
Wimbledon is gearing up to host spectators again (Andrew Baker/AELTC/PA)

Tickets will go on sale online from 1pm on Thursday and will be released in several batches. Ticket-holders must show proof either of full vaccination, a negative test or natural immunity through having had coronavirus.

There is sure to be massive demand, and ticket sales for the other grass-court events were marred by technological problems, but Bolton said: "We're very confident that the infrastructure will hold up."

Spectators will be required to wear masks while moving around the grounds but not while seated in the stands.

Henman Hill will also be open for fans to watch the big screen, although the logistics have yet to be determined.

The announcement that Wimbledon will be allowed such a high capacity compared to other sporting events has been met with disgruntlement in some quarters.

Gary Neville tweeted: "Can't dance at a wedding but can stuff strawberries and champagne down your neck at The All England Club packed with tens of thousands crammed like sardines in a tin."

Bolton said in response: "We are helping to support the Government and the sector to understand how we can increase fans as we work our way out of the pandemic so we're really pleased to be playing a part in that and I don't think that's got anything to do with class.

After last year's cancellation, the final touches are being applied
After last year's cancellation, the final touches are being applied (Andrew Baker/AELTC/PA)

"Our view is very clearly that Wimbledon is for everyone. I don't recognise us as an elitist organisation but clearly people can have their own view."

Overall prize money has been reduced slightly from 2019, down from £36.9million to £35million.

The singles champions will take home £1.7million compared to £2.35million two years ago, with prize money for the early rounds and qualifying increasing.

Despite the reduced income from ticket sales and extra costs associated with housing the players in designated hotels as part of a minimised risk environment, the All England Club is confident the annual surplus that funds British tennis through the Lawn Tennis Association will not be significantly reduced.

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26 Nov 2000: Tim Henman of England with the trophy after his straight sets win over Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia in the final of the Samsung Open at the Brighton Centre, Brighton.
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States19201352
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151238
Great BritainGreat Britain9101231
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events

· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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