A strange edition opens at Wimbledon this Monday, with the geopolitical context that we know in the background, which makes it a tournament for butter.

But the London Grand Slam is nonetheless a major event of the season, and we will carefully observe the progress of Rafael Nadal, who arrives without landmarks and after undergoing heavy foot treatment, and that of Serena Williams, who is attempting an improbable return to the courts at 40.

Here is a short summary of what you need to know, before the first racket shots scheduled for 12:00 p.m.

No Russian and Belarusian players

The announcement was made a long time ago.

Due to the Russian invasion in Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian players are excluded from this edition.

“In the circumstances of unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefit from the participation of Russian or Belarusian players,” justified the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

World number 1 Daniil Medvedev is therefore not present, like Andrey Rublev.

Among the ladies, the same goes for Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (6th in the world and semi-finalist last year), Victoria Azarenka (20th and double semi-finalist) and Russian Daria Kasatkina (13th, quarter-finalist in 2018) will miss the call.

Ukrainian player Sergiy Stakhovsky for his part posted a message on Twitter where he made the link between his past activity and his present as a volunteer in the Ukrainian army.

“That was us… This is now our Wimbledon… Last night 62 missiles and rockets targeted different cities in Ukraine… #stoprussia #boycottrussia #helpukraine,” he captioned photos showing him and his compatriot Alexandr Dolgopolov, now also a soldier, at Wimbledon during their career.

This used to be us….

Now this is our @Wimbledon….

Last night 62 rockets were launched to attack different cities in Ukraine.. #stoprussia #boycottrussia #helpukraine @TheDolgo 🇺🇦✊🏻 pic.twitter.com/dbTLuDRvAg

— Sergiy Stakhovsky (@Stako_tennis) June 25, 2022

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Tournament organizers have announced that they will be distributing match tickets to Ukrainian refugees who live in areas near Wimbledon.

They also plan to donate 250,000 pounds (290,000 euros) to an association helping refugees.

For their part, the ATP and the WTA have decided that no points will be awarded at the end of the tournament.

The crazy challenge of Rafael Nadal

We left him beaming after winning his 14th Roland-Garros, but in total uncertainty as to the rest of his career.

Three weeks later, Rafael Nadal is nevertheless present to start a tournament that he has not set foot in since 2019. The "last chance treatment" for his left foot seems to have worked perfectly, the Spaniard claiming he no longer feels the pain that has plagued him so much for years.

In training, “for two weeks, I have never had any of those terrible days where I can no longer walk.

There are days when it goes better, others when it goes less well, but overall it's positive, ”he said when he arrived in London.

Rafa, who finds himself in a very dense part of the table (Cilic, Auger-Aliassime, Berrettini potentially on his way from the 8th), will try to achieve the unthinkable: win a new Wim 'and find himself a step away from Calendar Grand Slam, after having already won the Australian Open and Roland at the start of the year.

The unlikely return of Serena

A year that she had not played, and suddenly, here she is again.

Serena Williams, who we hadn't seen since her retirement in the first round here last year, has decided to make her comeback.

The American will try to win this famous 24th major title after which she has been chasing for so many years, and thus equal the legendary Margaret Court.

“I haven't retired.

I needed to heal myself physically and mentally, I had no plans, it's just that I didn't know when I was going to come back and in what state I would come back, "said the now elderly player on Saturday. 40 years old.

In her London garden where she has already won seven times, Serena would further mark the history of her sport if she managed a winning comeback.

The French discreetly

What to expect from the French?

As at Roland a few weeks ago, not much, unfortunately.

Among the men, the only one still present in the top 50, Gaël Monfils, is again forfeited due to a heel injury.

He wants to take the time to get back on track for the hard court season.

Hugo Gaston could cross paths with Nadal if he arrives in the 3rd round, which would already be a performance.

For a nice surprise, we will bet on Benjamin Bonzi (56th), semi-finalist in Mallorca last week.

In the ladies, we will watch carefully the first round of Harmony Tan, who shot… Serena Williams.

We have experienced a simpler introduction.

As for the two most experienced Frenchwomen, Alizé Cornet and Caroline Garcia, serious obstacles soon presented themselves in their path.

From the first round for the first, opposed to the formidable Kazakh Yulia Putintseva (33rd), and in the second for Garcia, who will face the local heroine Emma Raducanu (11th) if she passes the obstacle Yuriko Miyazaki (206th) as planned.

A total of 18 French players are entered in the main draw: 10 for the men and 8 for the women.


Roland-Garros: Rafael Nadal triumphs again, but his career hangs by a thread


Wimbledon: Serena Williams talks about her period of inactivity, "I haven't retired"

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