Matteo Berrettini has withdrawn from Wimbledon after testing positive for coronavirus.

The eighth seed was due to face Cristian Garin in the first round on Tuesday but will now take no part after suffering with mild flu-like symptoms in the past few days.

Berrettini was the runner-up at SW19 last year and, after winning at Queen's for the second straight year last week, was considered to be among the favourites to go all the way at the All England Club.

But the Italian revealed his status on social media.

He wrote: "I am heartbroken to announce that I need to withdraw from Wimbledon due to a positive COVID-19 test result. I have had flu symptoms and been isolating the last few days.

"Despite symptoms not being severe, I decided it was important to take another test this morning to protect the health and safety of my fellow competitors and everyone else involved in the tournament.

"I have no words to describe the extreme disappointed I feel. The dream is over for this year, but I will be back stronger. Thank you for the support."

Andy Murray has defended using an underam serve in his four-set Wimbledon victory over James Duckworth and believes the tactic should be seen as smart.

The two-time Wimbledon champion recovered from a set down to win 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 against the Australian on Monday.

Murray maintained his record of having never lost in the first round at SW19, throwing in an underarm serve to help him win a point in the third set.

The Scot insisted using the underam serve, a move often associated with Duckworth's compatriot Nick Kyrgios, is a legitimate tactic and not a sign of disrespect to an opponent.

"He changed his return position, that's why I did it," Murray explained after the match. 

"He was struggling a little bit on the first-serve return, so he stepped probably two metres further back. As soon as I saw him step further back, I threw the underarm serve in.

"I personally have no issue with players using it. I never have. Certainly more and more players have started returning from further behind the baseline now to give themselves an advantage to return.

"No one says it's disrespectful for someone to return from five or six metres behind the baseline to try to get an advantage.

"So I used it, not to be disrespectful to him, but to say, 'if you're going to step further back to return the serve to give yourself more time, then I'm going to exploit that'.

"I've never understood that [argument it is disrespectful]. It's a legitimate way of serving.

"I would never use an underarm serve if someone was standing on the baseline because I think it's a stupid idea because they're going to track it down and it's easy to get.

"If they stand four or five metres behind the baseline, then why would you not do that to try to bring them forward if they're not comfortable returning there? Tactically, it's a smart play."

Murray will face big-serving American John Isner in the second round on Wednesday, having won each of the duo's eight previous head-to-head meetings.

He was happy with how he felt physically after beating Duckworth, having returned from the abdominal injury he suffered while reaching the Stuttgart Open final earlier this month.

"The last few days when I've been serving was fine," he said. "I went to get an ultrasound scan on it on Saturday after my practice just to see how it was progressing.

"It was all clear for the first time on the scans, which is really positive. I wanted that kind of for my own peace of mind to know that the injury has healed. 

"Obviously I still need to take precautions and still do some rehab and protect it when I can, but in the match it was absolutely fine."

Andy Murray said he intends to make the most of every appearance on Centre Court after recovering from one set down to beat James Duckworth in his Wimbledon opener.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Murray took two hours and 43 minutes to record a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 win over the Australian, maintaining his record of having never fallen at the first hurdle in SW19.

Murray is making just his second Wimbledon appearance since 2017 and is looking to better last year's run to the third round, where he suffered a straight-sets reverse against Denis Shapovalov.

Having endured a spate of injuries and undergone two hip surgeries since his last Wimbledon triumph in 2016, the 35-year-old said he will enjoy every opportunity he gets to play in front of a home crowd on Centre Court.

"It's amazing to be back out here again with a full crowd after the last few years, amazing atmosphere," he said.

"Obviously I'm getting on a bit now, so I don't know how many more opportunities I'll get to play on this court. I want to make the most of every time I get to come out here now.

"I'm glad I managed to get through and hopefully I'll get another match on here in a couple of days."

After fighting back to beat the world number 74, Murray expressed his hope he could grow into the tournament as he advances. 

"I thought I did well to rebound after the first set, he likes playing on the grass, he's come back from a hip surgery himself in January and was playing very well," he added.

"Once I started to find my returns a little bit more as the match went on, I felt a bit more comfortable and did well to get through.

"Naturally, there's always nerves and pressure and butterflies and stress and all of those things before the first match, it was a longer build-up for me than usual because of the ab injury I had after Stuttgart [where Murray finished as runner-up earlier this month].

"I've done a lot of practising here, I've been at the venue a lot in the last couple of weeks so yeah, it was great to get out here, get a win under my belt and hopefully I'll play better from here on in."

Murray will face big-serving American John Isner in the second round on Wednesday, having won each of the duo's eight previous head-to-head meetings.

Carlos Alcaraz insisted he is not feeling any pressure to be among the Wimbledon favourites after coming through a marathon four-hour clash with Jan-Lennard Struff to reach the second round.

Alcaraz, whose four Tour-level titles in 2022 are more than any other player on the ATP Tour, has been tipped for a deep run at Wimbledon after surging to seventh in the world rankings.

But the 19-year-old was on the brink of a stunning first-round exit when he was taken to a fourth-set tie-break at 2-1 down on Monday, eventually recovering to post a gruelling 4-6 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 win on No. 1 Court.

In his post-match media conference, the Spaniard reiterated last week's claim that he is not one of the favourites to triumph in London, although he said he could win the tournament if he plays to the best of his ability.

"I don't feel the pressure because I don't rank myself as one of the favourites to win this tournament," Alcaraz said.

"Obviously if I play well, I have [the] level to win the tournament, but there are a lot more experienced players on grass. I don't feel the pressure."

Alcaraz also conceded his grass-court game can still improve as he hailed his tremendous serving display – which brought him 30 aces, as the reason for his victory.

"I enjoyed [the match] a lot," he added. "Great battle over four hours. For me, [to] play on grass is so beautiful. I like to play on grass. 

"I would say my level on grass has to improve a little bit, but I'm happy with my level.

"I didn't expect to move as well as I did. I mean, I played really well, I felt really well playing on grass and I still don't know how I served [so well].

"This is probably my best match serving. This was a weapon that I used [and] that's why I won – the serve, for sure."

Alcaraz will face Tallon Griekspoor in the second round after the Dutch player overcame Fabio Fognini in four sets on day one.

Hubert Hurkacz sent down 21 aces in his first-round match at Wimbledon, enough to raise €2,100 for the people of Ukraine but not enough to reach the second round.

The seventh seed, who was a semi-finalist at the All England Club last year, promised on the eve of the championships to donate €100 in aid for every one of his aces.

"Hope my serve works well," Hurkacz wrote on Twitter, and it certainly did across five sets against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Having averaged 11.6 aces per match this season – his 452 the third most on the ATP Tour – Hurkacz had 21 to just three double faults in an effective serving display on Monday.

Unfortunately, Davidovich Fokina was still able to pull off an early upset, narrowly advancing 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 5-7 2-6 7-6 (10-8).

This was the third top-10 win of Davidovich Fokina's career but the first on grass, with his previous two such victories both coming at the Monte-Carlo Masters (vs Matteo Berrettini in 2021 and versus Novak Djokovic in 2022).

While Hurkacz will not add to his ace tally, John Isner undoubtedly will.

He had a remarkable 54 in his five-set win against Enzo Couacaud – as many as Hurkacz managed across six matches in his 2021 run to the last four.

The last player to record 50 or more aces in a grand slam match had also been Isner, against Steven Johnson at the 2020 US Open.

Novak Djokovic became the first male player in the Open Era to win at least 80 matches in all four grand slams with victory over Kwon Soon-woo in the first round of Wimbledon.

The world number three, who is seeking a seventh crown at SW19 to take him level with Pete Sampras and behind only Roger Federer (8), advanced 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 on Monday.

That was Djokovic's 80th win at the All England Club in what was his 90th match, adding to his 85 wins at the French Open, 82 at the Australian Open and 81 at the US Open.

He has won 22 matches in a row at Wimbledon since retiring in his quarter-final with Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals, and is 17-0 in first-round matches in the event.

With 328 grand slam wins to his name, Djokovic is second only to Federer (369) in that regard, with fellow heavyweight Rafael Nadal – in action on Tuesday – boasting 305 wins.

"I am as dedicated as anyone out there," Djokovic, playing his first match on grass this year, said in his interview on Centre Court. "Now that we're at 80, let's get to 100.

"I'm not one of the youngsters any more, but the love for this sport still burns in me and I try to play my best tennis at the grand slams and deliver my best at the best courts. 

"I've said this before but this court is truly special. For me it has always been the court I dreamed of playing and winning and all my childhood dreams came true here.

"It's an honour and pleasure to be back on Centre Court. This sport has given me everything. I owe a lot to the sport and I love it still with all my heart."

 

Novak Djokovic was made to work by Kwon Soon-woo for his place in the second round of Wimbledon as the reigning champion advanced with victory in four sets on Monday.

In the first match of this year's tournament on Centre Court, which had its roof closed due to rain, Djokovic was pegged back at 1-1 but ultimately prevailed 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4.

The six-time champion has now won each of his past 22 matches at the All England Club and will face either Thanasi Kokkinakis or Kamil Majchrzak in the next round.

Djokovic had yet to play on grass in 2022 prior to his opening clash with Kwon and he was far from his fluent best in the first two sets in particular.

Kwon earned the first break of the match in the third game with a glorious forehand, though Djokovic hit back with two breaks of his own to edge the opening set.

The world number 81 earned the only break of serve in the fourth game of the second set, with Djokovic squandering three break points of his own in the following game.

However, the Serbian showed good signs of recovery – and some impressive shots around the court – by holding throughout the third set and breaking Kwon in the eighth game.

Kwon failed to take advantage of two break points in the second game of the final set and it was plain sailing from that point on for Djokovic.

He completed the job in just under two-and-a-half hours and is the first male player in the Open Era with 80 or more main draw wins in all four grand slam tournaments.

Data slam: Djokovic winning streak continues

Djokovic may have slipped down to third in the ATP rankings after a disrupted campaign, and he was not at his best against Kwon, but he remains the man to beat at Wimbledon.

He is without defeat at SW19 since retiring in his quarter-final with Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals, with Monday's victory his 80th in 90 matches in the tournament.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 30/29
Kwon – 31/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 15/2
Kwon – 7/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 4/8
Kwon – 2/6

The ATP and WTA decision to strip Wimbledon of rankings points due to the banning of Russian and Belarusian players was "very disappointing", given there was "no viable alternative".

That was the message from the All England Club's chairman Ian Hewitt in an interview with ESPN ahead of the third major of the year starting on Monday.

Numerous sporting and financial sanctions have been imposed on Russia for their ongoing invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, with Saint Petersburg stripped of the right to host the Champions League final and Russia removed from Qatar World Cup qualifying.

The All England Club followed suit by confirming Russian and Belarusian athletes would not be permitted to play at this year's championships, but the WTA and ATP responded by stripping the major of its ranking points.

Wimbledon's organisers stuck with their decision, questioning the punishment from those governing bodies, and Hewitt says the ban was justified for reasons outside the sport.

"One was a route to consider having personal declarations from players and, frankly, we did not think that was the right approach for a tournament of our kind," Hewitt said.

"We were not willing to put in jeopardy any safety of players, and we think that that route would have involved implications for players' safety or safety of their families, which really left no other viable alternative.

"But also, it was very important to us that Wimbledon, given the profile that we have, should not be used in any way by the propaganda machine which we know the Russian government employs in relation to its own people and how their position in the world is presented, and that would be.

"We just would not countenance Wimbledon success or participation in Wimbledon being misused in that way.

"So as a result of the combination of reasons, we were left with no viable alternative other than to decline entries; we hugely regret the impact on the individual players affected. 

"But we also hugely regret the impact on so many innocent people, which the tragic situation in Ukraine has caused."

The punishment of Russian and Belarusian stars meant world number one Daniil Medvedev will not feature at the grass-court major, and neither will Andrey Rublev, ranked eighth in the world.

Women's world number six Aryna Sabalenka was another to miss out, alongside 13th-ranked Daria Kasatkina and 20th-ranked Victoria Azarenka, but Hewitt stands by the call.

"In relation to the decision of the ATP and WTA to remove ranking points, yes, we are very disappointed with that, we believe it is a disproportionate approach and, frankly, we believe it is more damaging to the interests of a large majority of players, and we regret that decision of the ATP and WTA," he added.

"We respect that opinions do differ, but we would have hoped that there would have been a different way of tackling that in the interests of the players. 

"But as regards our decision, we certainly stand by our decision, and I'd say now our primary focus is to get on with the championships and prove that we are really a championship that is the pinnacle of the sport."

When Wimbledon ended last year, there were two great takeaways from the tournament: Novak Djokovic would soon be pulling away in the grand slam title race and Ash Barty was beginning a new era of dominance.

Both seemed to be knock-ins, and yet neither has come to pass. Djokovic missed out on a calendar Grand Slam in New York before being banished from Australia, and despite drawing level with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 grand slams with his Centre Court triumph, he now finds himself two adrift of the Spaniard again.

Barty, meanwhile, has left her own party. The then world number one stunned the tennis world by retiring in March, having added the Australian Open she so craved to her trophy cabinet.

Djokovic and Iga Swiatek head into Wimbledon, which begins on Monday, as the top seeds.

Stats Perform has used Opta facts to consider what the men's and women's singles might deliver.

 

KING ROGER'S REIGN IS OVER, BUT DJOKOVIC AND NADAL KEEP GOING STRONG

There will come a time when the Wimbledon favourite is not one of the 'Big Three'. That time is not now.

Djokovic is the man most likely, as he targets his fourth straight Wimbledon title and seventh overall; since 2011, when he beat Nadal in the final, the Serbian has only been absent from the trophy match three times (in 2012, 2016 and 2017).

His winning run of 21 matches at Wimbledon is the fifth-longest in the men's singles. Bjorn Borg holds the record (41 between 1976 and 1981).

The last player other than Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray to win the Wimbledon men's title was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002. Federer is absent this year and may have played his last Wimbledon.

Nadal has won Wimbledon twice, in 2008 and 2010. He won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010, the only season of his career when he has won three slams. This year, at the age of 36, he has the Australian and French Open trophies already locked away, potentially halfway to a calendar Grand Slam, last achieved in men's singles in 1969 by Rod Laver.

Should Nadal pull off another major coup, it would make him only the second man in the Open Era (from 1968) to win the season's first three singles slams, after Laver in 1969 and Djokovic last year.

Can the rest hope to compete?

What of Murray? Well, only Federer (19), Sampras (10), Laver and Jimmy Connors (both nine) have won more ATP titles on grass than the Scot in the Open Era. If he recovers from an abdominal strain, he has a shot at reaching the second week. He will of course have the full backing of the Wimbledon crowd.

Last year's runner-up Matteo Berrettini is fancied more than Nadal by many, having won Stuttgart and Queen's Club titles in the build-up.

There has not been an American men's singles champion since 2000, and although the United States has six players seeded, more than any other nation, it seems a safe enough assumption we will be saying a similar thing again in 12 months' time.

Third seed Casper Ruud has never won a singles match at Wimbledon, while fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas has not had a win since reaching the fourth round in 2018. Daniil Medvedev, the world number one, cannot compete at The All England Club after their contentious decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

IF SERENA CAN'T CHALLENGE SWIATEK, WHO CAN?

From the jaws of retirement, Serena Williams is back. Silence from the 40-year-old about her intentions had become almost deafening, and yet here she is, back at Wimbledon on a wildcard, hoping to rekindle the old magic.

Because she has pushed back against the doubters for over two decades now, you have to take this seriously. Her haul of 23 grand slams is one short of Margaret Court's all-time record and Williams would dearly love to at least match it.

Three years ago, Williams became the oldest player to reach Wimbledon's women's singles final when she lost to Simona Halep. Six years ago, she was the oldest champion when she beat Angelique Kerber.

Only four women in the draw this year besides Williams have been champion before: Petra Kvitova (in 2011 and 2014), Garbine Muguruza (in 2017), Kerber (in 2018) and Halep (in 2019).

World number one Iga Swiatek starts as favourite. Junior Wimbledon champion four years ago, she has scooped two women's French Open titles since then and is on a 35-match winning streak.

After triumphing at Roland Garros in early June, Swiatek will hope to become the first woman since Kerber in 2016 (Australian Open and US Open) to win two singles slams in the same season.

The only competitive warm-up for Williams came in two doubles matches at Eastbourne, having not played since sustaining a hamstring injury at Wimbledon last year. The seven-time champion might consider it a challenge that there has never been an unseeded Wimbledon women's singles finalist during the Open Era.

The women's top two seeds have not met in the final since Serena faced her sister Venus in the 2002 title match, so don't hold your breath for a Swiatek versus Anett Kontaveit showpiece on July 9.

Could Gauff be best of the rest?

Coco Gauff made a breakthrough with her run to the French Open final. Although she was blown away by Swiatek, for the 18-year-old American it was another mark of progress. Gauff reached the fourth round in Wimbledon in 2019 (lost to Halep) and 2021 (lost to Kerber).

Fitness is likely to be the key factor in how US Open champion Emma Raducanu fares at her home grand slam, given her injury problems. Raducanu reached the fourth round on a wildcard last year and the 19-year-old will attempt to become the first British woman to reach that stage in back-to-back seasons since Jo Durie (1984, 1985).

Ons Jabeur, meanwhile, should not be discounted. The world number three reached the quarter-finals at SW19 last year and heads to Wimbledon having won on grass at the Berlin Open, albeit Belinda Bencic had retired hurt in the final.

The likes of Gauff, Raducanu and 21-year-old Swiatek will attempt to become the youngest woman to lift the trophy since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova triumphed in 2004.

A first-round exit for Swiatek would leave the event wide open, but don't count on it. In the Open Era, only three times has the top-seeded woman lost in round one: Steffi Graf in 1994 and Martina Hingis in 1999 and 2001.

Novak Djokovic says he has "nothing but respect" for Rafael Nadal as the Spaniard strives to create "even more of a successful legacy".

Nadal now has 22 majors to his name after winning the Australian Open and French Open this year – two more than Djokovic and Swiss great Roger Federer.

Victory at the French Open earlier in June was Nadal's 14th at Roland Garros, which is a whopping eight more than anyone else in the open era.

Djokovic, who kicks off his bid for a fourth consecutive Wimbledon title against Kwon Soon-woo on Monday, is in awe of Nadal's achievements, describing the 36-year-old as an "amazing champion".

"He had a surgery in the second part of the last year and coming back after that and winning a grand slam right away is something that is really impressive," the Serbian told a media conference on Saturday.

"[He is] making history with grand slam wins and at Roland Garros, the tournament where he has won most titles.

"Just for what he has achieved, keeps on doing on the court; he has a great fighting spirit, and he is an amazing champion.

"Just in general, the things he is trying to do to create even more of a successful legacy is something you have to respect and admire even though I am one of his biggest rivals. I have nothing but respect for what he has achieved."

Djokovic's refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccination has hampered his playing time this year, yet the 35-year-old is confident that will not hold him back as he bids for a seventh title at The All England Club.

"I didn't have any lead up tournaments but I've had success at Wimbledon before without having any official matches," he added.

"I had success with adapting quickly to the surface so there is no reason to believe why I cannot do it again. I'm very pleased and happy to be back at the tournament that was always my childhood dream, the one I wanted to win. Hopefully I continue that run.

"I would love to be in the position to fight for another trophy, I would like to be in the last match and eventually make history at this tournament.

"As a seven, eight-year-old boy I dreamed of winning Wimbledon and becoming number one. That was the biggest motivation I had as a kid.

"Pete Sampras, when he won his first Wimbledon, was the first tennis I watched on the TV. Pete has won it seven times. Hopefully I can do the same this year."

Novak Djokovic has accepted it is unlikely he will play at the US Open, as the Wimbledon top seed insisted he has not changed his mind on the COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic was unable to compete at the Australian Open earlier in 2022 after he was deported – following a drawn-out legal case with Australia's federal government – for not being vaccinated against coronavirus.

The Serbian has spoken out against mandatory vaccinations and when asked on Saturday by reporters at Wimbledon if he had closed his mind to the idea of being vaccinated before the US Open begins, he said "yes".

That means, as it stands, Djokovic will be unable to enter the United States due to being unvaccinated.

However, while frustrated that he will likely miss out on another grand slam this year, the 35-year-old suggested he is now even more motivated to go on and win Wimbledon for a seventh time, which would take him level with Pete Sampras and behind only Roger Federer, who has eight All England Club titles to his name.

Djokovic told reporters: "As of today I'm not allowed to enter the States under these circumstances. That is an extra motivation to do well here.

"Hopefully I can have a very good tournament as I have done in the last three editions. Then I'll have to wait and see.

"I'd love to go to the States but as of today that's not possible. There's not much I can do any more. It's up to the U.S. government on whether they allow unvaccinated people to go into the country."

Djokovic was at the centre of the controversy ahead of the season's first major, but the third grand slam of 2022 has been contentious for other reasons.

The All England Club made the decision to ban all Russian and Belarusian players, including men's world number one Daniil Medvedev, from competing, due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The call received criticism and, as a result, Wimbledon has been stripped of any ranking points by the WTA and ATP.

However, Djokovic is no longer as concerned about those points as he once was, as he instead looks to move back to within one major title of Rafael Nadal, whose tally stands at 22.

"I don't want to say ranking points are not important for me, of course they are, but they are not as important as they were for me," he said.

"Now I'm not really chasing the ranking as much as I have. I was breaking the record for longest weeks at number one and after that it wasn't as important for me in terms of priority.

"Of course, I understand that 90 per cent of players will be more affected by the points. Of course this year I did not have the chance to defend 4,000 points in Australia but my priorities now are different so I’m not as affected."

Djokovic, though, does feel it is harsh that Russian and Belarusian athletes are unable to play at SW19.

He said: "I just don't see how they have contributed to anything that has happened. I don't feel it’s fair. 

"I feel like they deserve to win, compete, they are professional athletes. None of them have supported any war or anything like that. 

"I understand both sides. It's hard to say what is right and wrong. Putting myself in a position where someone would ban me from playing because of circumstances that I have not contributed – I do not think that is fair."

Six-time champion Novak Djokovic will take centre stage on day one at Wimbledon along with home hopes Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray.

The All England Club has announced the schedule of play for Monday, when the 2022 tournament will get under way.

As is tradition for the defending champion, Djokovic, who defeated Matteo Berrettini in last year's men's singles final, will take part in the first match on Centre Court when he plays against Kwon Soon-woo.

Djokovic will be bidding for a fourth Wimbledon title in succession following triumphs in 2018, 2019 and 2021, after the cancellation of the 2020 championships.

US Open champion Raducanu has also been selected to appear at Centre Court on the opening day.

Raducanu will take on Alison Van Uytvanck hoping to kick off a successful campaign in front of her home crowd, having burst onto the scene at Wimbledon last year with a shock run to the fourth round.

And another Briton, two-time winner Andy Murray, will be involved in the third and final match on the prestigious court when he faces James Duckworth of Australia.

Murray will be hoping to better last year's third-round berth at SW19 after impressively reaching the Stuttgart Open final this month, losing to Berrettini after notable wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios.

Ons Jabeur, Angelique Kerber and Carlos Alcaraz are the big names selected for action on Court One on Monday.

And it has been confirmed that, in the absence of retired champion Ash Barty, women's number one seed Iga Swiatek will open the action on Centre Court on Tuesday when she plays Jana Fett. Swiatek said she felt "very privileged" to be opening the proceedings on day two.

Rafael Nadal, who has won the opening two men's grand slams this year, is also expected to begin his campaign on day two, as is seven-time women’s champion Serena Williams on her return from injury.

Rafael Nadal does not know how long his troublesome foot will hold up and cannot be "super happy" while the threat of injury lingers, but he is ready to attack Wimbledon.

Nadal, the 22-time major champion, is halfway to a calendar Grand Slam, having won the Australian Open and French Open.

Yet those successes have come despite a long-term foot problem he has battled, requiring pain-killing injections before every match at Roland Garros.

Nadal's Wimbledon participation was in question for some time, but he underwent two courses of radiofrequency injections in a bid to ease the pain and be fit enough to challenge at the All England Club.

That is now the case, he says, even if he has to accept his status is unpredictable day to day.

"It's obvious that if I am here, it's because things are going better," the Spaniard told a news conference. "If not, I would not be here.

"So I'm quite happy about [how] the things have evolved. I can't be super happy because I don't know what can happen.

"First of all, I can walk normal most of the days, almost every single day. That's for me the main issue. When I wake up, I don't have this pain that I was having for the last year and a half, so I'm quite happy about that.

"And second thing: practising. I have been overall better.

"Since the last two weeks, I didn't have one day of these terrible days that I can't move at all. Of course, [some] days are better; [some] days are little bit worse."

He added: "I can't tell you if I'm going to be in that positive moment for one week, for two days, or for three months.

"Of course, the treatment that I did didn't fix my injury. It is not improving my injury at all but can take out a little bit the pain. That's the main goal.

"Sometimes the things in the medical world, mathematics is not predictable 100 per cent.

"But in theory, that can help the foot because it's about the nerve. You touch the nerve, so then the nerve is like asleep in some way for a while, but then recovers.

"So how long the nerve is going to be that way, I can't tell you. It's something that we need to discover."

Taylor Fritz earned his third ATP Tour title and second at the Eastbourne International as he defeated fellow American Maxime Cressy 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4) in Saturday's final.

Three years on from Fritz's breakthrough tour triumph against Sam Querrey – another compatriot – at the same event, the world number 24 was celebrating again in the last tournament before Wimbledon.

Paris-born opponent Cressy had defeated a trio of home hopefuls in succession in Britons Dan Evans, Cameron Norrie and Jack Draper to reach this stage, but Fritz had just too much.

While the Indian Wells Masters champion had not lost a break all week and maintained that record through the decider, he was taken all the way.

"I played about as well as I could possibly play today, and it still came down to the final couple of points," Fritz said afterwards. "It couldn't have been much closer."

That had not appeared likely after an opener in which Fritz's return game dominated 6ft 6in serve-and-volley specialist Cressy, who was broken immediately following a double-fault.

That was one of four in the first set – as many as in three against Draper – as Cressy won just half of his service points, broken again to love.

Yet neither player faced another break point, with a pair of tie-breaks required to settle the title.

The first went the way of Cressy, forcing a decider as a pair of powerful forehands finally broke down Fritz, but he required treatment between sets and had clearly tired by the closing stages.

The latest in a series of Fritz lobs proved beyond Cressy, not that the result should have come as any surprise – improving the champion's career record in deciding tie-breaks to an astonishing 20-3.

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