The women’s field opens Monday at Wimbledon with the lone two former champions in the draw – 5-time winner Venus Williams and 2-time champ Petra Kvitova.
Williams takes on Belgian Elise Mertens. But off course, Venus is under a cloud over a car accident in June which left a man dead.
Kvitova continues her comeback in her third event as she faces Johanna Larsson. The Czech shrugged off the assertion she is the favorite to win without Serena in the draw.
“I think we still do have a great players in the draw, even Serena is not playing,” Kvitova said. “I think it’s a few favorites of the tournament. But it’s very open. So who knows who going to win.”
Kvitova already won a title in Birmingham over Ash Barty a few weeks ago.
“I think the grass always giving me extra confidence,” she added. “I know I can play well on it. Through the tournament, I felt like every round I played better and better, which is always good sign.
“It’s my first goal to go try to play my best in the first round. I think that I still do have things to improve, which I really wanted to do, to be back in the best level, if I can say. Will try to be better than that.
French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko battles Aliaksandra Sasnovich while the best British women are all on court with Johanna Konta, Heather Watson and Laura Robson.
“I think I kind of made the history, like the Latvian history,” Ostapenko said. ‘I was the first person who won the Grand Slam in Latvia. Yeah, I don’t know. I feel a little bit more confident. Really, really happy to have the Grand Slam title.”
The 20-year-old from Latvian already has a Wimbledon title having won the junior girls in 2014.
Simona Halep, Madison Keys and Victoria Azarenka returns to test American teen CiCi Bellis in one of the best women’s match of the day.
“She’s definitely not an easy opponent, especially in the first round,” Azarenka said. “I’m here unseeded with really no ranking. I didn’t really know who I’m going to play. I expect every round to be tough.
“But I actually practiced with her couple of times already. I practiced with her here and in Mallorca. She’s definitely a good player. At this age you have nothing to lose, just go out there with no pressure, and playing. I’m happy to play against anybody.”
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