Emma Raducanu one of four grand slam champions to get Wimbledon wildcards

Emma Raducanu one of four grand slam champions to get Wimbledon wildcards

Emma Raducanu is one of four grand slam champions to have been awarded wildcards for Wimbledon. Raducanu will return to the All England Club, where she made her breakthrough by reaching the fourth round in 2021, for the first time in two years following wrist and ankle surgery last year.

The former US Open champion reached the semi-finals of the Rothesay Open in Nottingham last week in an encouraging start to her grass-court campaign.

The other slam champions in the first batch are Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber, along with the British players Francesca Jones, Heather Watson and Yuriko Miyazaki.

The former world No 1s Osaka and Wozniacki will both play in the main draw at Wimbledon for the first time in five years, after becoming mothers. Wozniacki was disappointed to miss out on a wildcard at the French Open and she said: “I have so many special memories. I won junior Wimbledon back in 2005, so it’s a long time ago. There’s something so special about playing on Wimbledon’s Centre Court that you can’t replicate anywhere else.”

Kerber, a former Wimbledon champion and another former world No 1 who has taken time away from the sport to start a family, has also received a wildcard.

In the men’s draw, the initial batch of wildcards has gone to seven British players, including last year’s junior champion, Henry Searle. The 18-year-old from Wolverhampton, who became the first home winner of the boys’ singles since 1962, has made impressive strides in the senior game this season.

Henry Searle in action against Rinky Hijikata at Queen’s.View image in fullscreen

At the other end of the age spectrum, there will be a grand slam debut for 29-year-old Billy Harris, who spent the early part of his career travelling around Europe in a converted transit van.

Jacob Fearnley is rewarded for winning his first singles Challenger title in Nottingham last Sunday with a Wimbledon singles debut, while Liam Broady, who defeated Casper Ruud to reach the third round last year, Arthur Fery, Paul Jubb and Jan Choinski have also been given wildcards.

Dominic Thiem, though, is set to have to go through qualifying if he is to make a final appearance at the All England Club, with the Austrian announcing last month that he will retire at the end of the season because of wrist problems.

The junior stars Hannah Klugman, Mingge Xu and Mika Stojsavljevic will play in qualifying in the women’s singles, while the 21-year-old Jack Pinnington Jones, who stunned Cameron Norrie in Nottingham last week, and the 16-year-old Oliver Bonding are among those given wildcards into men’s qualifying.