Wimbledon 2022: Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray lead British hopes as full capacity crowds return

The crowds return to Wimbledon's famous Centre Court. Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

British tennis stars Emma Raducanu and Sir Andy Murray will take to Centre Court on Monday as Wimbledon kicks off with a full-capacity crowd for the first time in three years.

The 2022 championship marks the first time the grounds will be filled with up to 42,000 people every day since before the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament was cancelled in 2020 and went ahead in 2021 with only a 50% crowd capacity.

The famous Wimbledon 'Queue' has returned for the first time since 2019 as spectators from around the world camp out for hours - many overnight - to buy on-the-door tickets.

Novak Djokovic will begin the defence of his 2021 title, while Rafael Nadal will make his return to the hallowed grass courts for the first time since 2019.

Eyes will also be on Raducanu after she made history last summer as the first qualifier to win the US Open – and 23-time grand slam winner Serena Williams who is coming back as a wild card.

Campers form the overnight queue ahead of the first day of play at Wimbledon Credit: PA

Raducanu, who is seeded 10th, is nursing a side strain while Sir Andy, who is unseeded, is battling an abdominal strain.

Players will not receive ranking points for their performance during the tournament after the ATP and WTA withdrew them in response to Wimbledon barring Russian and Belarusian players after the invasion of Ukraine.

Men’s world number one Daniil Medvedev and women’s number five Aryna Sabalenka are among those to be banned.

Emma Raducanu during a practice session ahead of Wimbledon beginning Credit: PA

The two singles champions will take home record prize money of £2 million.

The total prize money of £40.35 million is an 11.1% increase on 2021’s Championships, where capacity was reduced for Covid reasons, and 5.4% higher than the last regular tournament in 2019.

Elsewhere, the squash brand Robinsons and Wimbledon have ended their sponsorship partnership after 86 years – one of the longest-running deals in sport since it was set up in 1935.

The championship will also mark the centenary of the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s move to the Church Road site in 1922.

Sir Andy Murray returns from a practice session ahead of Wimbledon Credit: PA

British hopes at Wimbledon are high after an encouraging draw for the home players.

Remarkably, of the 17 British representatives in the men’s and women’s singles, not one drew a seeded player in the first round.

Besides Raducanu and Sir Andy, other Britons playing at Wimbledon this year include Katie Boulter, Sonay Kartal, Heather Watson, Harriet Darta, Katie Swan and Jodie Burrage.

For the men’s draw, British players Jay Clarke, Paul Jubb, Dan Evans, Cameron Norrie, Jack Draper, Alastair Gray and Liam Broady are in action at the start of the week.

Mixed weather conditions are forecast for the two-week period, which will likely see predominantly dry conditions with sunny spells interspersed with some showers and breezy winds.