Emma Raducanu will take her place as one of Wimbledon’s top attractions when the tournament starts on Monday.
The idea of a British Grand Slam champion appearing on the center court project would have been unthinkable a few decades ago, but these are heady days and the opening triumvirate sees Raducanu follow defending champion Novak Djokovic and precede Andy Murray.
“I think it’s a really cool lineup,” said Raducanu, who will bow from center court.
“Just to be included among those names is special in its own right. I would never have thought of that. I am obviously looking forward to getting there.”
Whether Raducanu can hope to match last year’s run all the way to the fourth round, or even attempt to echo her remarkable US Open triumph, will become clearer when she starts her match against the dangerous Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck.
Raducanu declared herself fit and ready to go, and there will certainly be no hiding if the lateral tension she suffered in Nottingham three weeks ago is still bothering her.
They’ve met once before, at a second-tier tournament in Chicago last summer, when Van Uytvanck was top seed and Raducanu was still a promising prospect.
The British number one won, but Van Uytvanck is a proven athlete on grass, having reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2018, while she won a warm-up tournament in Italy last weekend.
Raducanu, who has only managed seven competitive games on grass this season, said: “I definitely feel like, game-wise, I support myself against pretty much anyone. I feel like if I really put my mind to it and commit, then I can be really good. So I’m definitely looking forward to the match.
“But she is a very complicated opponent, especially on grass courts. I think this surface definitely suits her well. She plays a very fast and fast game. It will definitely take some getting used to, so be prepared for it right away.
“It’s definitely going to be a tough match, but all the matches are at this level. I’m still ready to go.”
On paper, Murray has a more direct opening against Australian James Duckworth, 77th, who hasn’t won a game all season.
The two-time Wimbledon champion appears to have recovered well from an abdominal strain and can have plenty of confidence from a race to the ATP Tour event final in Stuttgart two weeks ago, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios.
Murray and Kyrgios are arguably the two most dangerous unseeded players, and the Australian was impressed by his rival’s performance in Germany.
“I think he’s one of the most dangerous players still on grass,” Kyrgios said. “I definitely think he can handle speed, return, competition, slice, volley. As long as his body is fine, I don’t want to see him on the grass.
“I’m playing unbelievable tennis right now. That first set was as good a level as anyone can produce on grass. I know what he is capable of.”
Raducanu and Murray are among the nine British players who will compete on Monday.
British number one and ninth seed Cameron Norrie finds himself on the second court against veteran Spaniard Pablo Andujar, while Heather Watson faces Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch.
Debutant Ryan Peniston hopes to continue his debut against Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen, while Jodie Burrage, who has also been in excellent form on the pitch, faces Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.
Also in action are Jay Clarke, who faces the American Christian Harrison, Katie Swan, who meets the Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, and Yuriko Miyazaki, who has a difficult task against the French Caroline Garcia.
Among the big names starting their campaigns, however, are French Open finalist Casper Ruud and fifth seed Ons Jabeur and Carlos Alcaraz.