Andy Murray says he will make changes to his schedule to “return to the top of the game”, after withdrawing from Wimbledon on the eve of the tournament.
The former world number one said it was “too soon” to play five-set matches after his comeback from hip surgery.
Britain’s Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion, returned after almost a year out at Queen’s last month.
The two-time Wimbledon winner, 31, said he had not had any setbacks but it was the “right” decision to pull out.
Murray discussed his decision to withdraw and how long he can continue to play in an interview on Sunday.
Can you get back to the top?
Andy Murray: I want to play for a couple more years and hopefully be back competing at the top of the game and I need to bear that in mind when I am making decisions right now.
I think I will make changes to my schedule and things to try and look after my body better. I will certainly not be having any ends to the season like I did in 2016 when I was playing and winning matches every single week and not stopping for a break.
I will be working hard but not killing my body in training blocks either. Providing I am smart with those things, I believe I will be able to compete.
When did you make the decision?
This morning [Sunday] I spoke with all of my team and my doctor, as well, just to get his view on things. I was just sort of feeling that I was not ready and willing to play.
I didn’t know how I was going to respond to playing five-set matches. I would have put myself in a situation that I haven’t been able to replicate in training or in practice recently – which is a maybe a bit unnecessary to do that at this stage.
I went through a similar situation last year when I went into Wimbledon. I didn’t feel good before Wimbledon last year but decided to play. I know how that ended up.
Have you had any setbacks?
No. I’ve made progress in the last month which hadn’t really been the case for the last 10 or 11 months. I was going in the right direction.
I didn’t come off a particular training session and feel bad. I was kind of just reflecting a little bit on the last 10 days. It’s been a positive 10 days, two weeks.
How difficult was it to make the decision?
I didn’t feel like I was going to win the tournament. I didn’t feel I was going to do extremely well in the tournament. There were just so many unknowns.
It’s been hard because I really wanted to play. Once you get back on the match court, you don’t want to be taking what feels like a bit of a step back in some ways.
I feel comfortable with the decision because it is the right one for me at this stage, long term.
If I was thinking I would not play Wimbledon again, it would be a different decision to make.
Austrian-Croatian duo has reached three of past four major finals
In 2017, Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo defeated Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 13-11 in a deciding fifth set to lift the Wimbledon doubles title. Twelve months later, the two pairings return as the top two seeded teams in the 2018 draw.
But this season, it’s Marach and Pavic who are on a roll entering Wimbledon as they bid to go one step further and lift their first SW19 title as a team.
This season, Marach and Pavic have taken the ATP World Tour doubles scene by storm, compiling a 38-8 record in the first six months of the season. The Austrian-Croatian tandem, who lead the ATP Doubles Race to London, have reached seven tour-level finals (4-3) this year, including Grand Slam championship matches at the Australian Open (d. Cabal/Farah) and Roland Garros (l. to Herbert/Mahut).
Marach and Pavic, who will meet Federico Delbonis and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela in the first round, are 2-1 on grass this season after a semi-final run at the Fever-Tree Championships (l. to Murray/Soares). The top seeds share the top quarter of the draw with 2015 finalist Jamie Murray (w/ Peers) and Bruno Soares. Murray and Soares reached their 14th final as a team (7-7) at the Fever-Tree Championships in June.
Roland Garros champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, who lifted the trophy at SW19 in 2016, also feature in the top half of the draw alongside Internazionali BNL d’Italia winners Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
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Defending champions Kubot and Melo, who won their second consecutive Gerry Weber Open crown in June, face a tricky first-round test as they begin their title defence. The second seeds will face Nature Valley International champions Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara. Bambridge and O’Mara, competing together at tour-level for the first time, defeated Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski in the first all-British doubles final since 2012 at Devonshire Park.
Kubot and Melo are joined by Americans Mike Bryan and Jack Sock in the bottom quarter. Bryan, a three-time champion, and Sock, who won the 2014 title with Vasek Pospisil, are competing at a Grand Slam for the first time as a team. Bob Bryan is still recovering from the right hip injury he sustained at the Mutua Madrid Open.
Henri Kontinen and John Peers enter the grass-court Grand Slam championship in strong form. The two-time reigning Nitto ATP Finals champions are riding an eight-match win streak in London after their recent success at the Fever-Tree Championships, dating back to the Round Robin stage at the O2 Arena last November.
The third seeds could meet Mutua Madrid Open champions Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya in the quarter-finals. Mektic and Peya, seeded eighth, face Jurgen Melzer and Daniel Nestor in their opening match. Nestor, who won back-to-back titles at Wimbledon in 2008 and 2009 (w/ Zimonjic), and 2010 champion Melzer (w/ Petzschner) are making their team debut.
A revamped World Team Cup will take place in Australia in the first week of January from 2020, the ATP said.
It comes after the International Tennis Federation set out plans for a rival 18-team end-of-season event to crown the Davis Cup champions from 2019.
In May, ATP executive chairman Chris Kermode said staging both tournaments within six weeks would be “insane”.
But on Sunday he said: “This announcement will change the landscape of the ATP World Tour.”
He added: “We believe this outcome will deliver long-term sustainability not only financially but also from a player health perspective, which is critical. This event has huge potential and we now look forward to working together with Tennis Australia in bringing our vision to fruition.”
The World Team Cup will take place in partnership with Tennis Australia and will feature 24 teams, offering £11.35m in prize money. Ranking points will also be available.
The tournament had previously taken place in Dusseldorf from 1978 to 2012.
Federations will vote at the ITF AGM in August on proposals to transform the Davis Cup, culminating in an 18-nation World Cup-style tournament at the end of the season in November.
The ATP and ITF had been in discussions to try to resolve the issue.
Venue: All England Club, Wimbledon Dates: 2-15 July
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs and the BBC Sport website and app; Live BBC Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra commentary; Text updates online. Full details.
Roger Federer begins his quest for a record-extending ninth Wimbledon men’s singles title when the 2018 tournament begins on Monday.
The Swiss great, 36, opens against Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic on Centre Court from 13:00 BST.
Seven-time champion Serena Williams, back at SW19 for the first time since giving birth, also plays on Monday.
Britons Andy Murray, who is returning from a long-term injury, and Johanna Konta play on Tuesday.
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Is Murray fit enough to play?
Murray looks set to feature after saying he is “most likely” to be fit enough to continue his comeback from almost a year out with a hip injury.
However, he also said “it is possible” that he could pull out because he is “literally taking it day by day”, adding “in terms of winning this event, I have no belief or thoughts that that’s going to happen”.
The 31-year-old Scot returned at Queen’s last month, losing to Nick Kyrgios.
Murray, who won Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016, then took a wildcard at Eastbourne. There he beat fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka before losing to compatriot Kyle Edmund.
“I’m practising at a high intensity every day with some of the best players in the world,” said the former world number one.
“Wimbledon is the most important tournament of the year but my main priority is my health and I’ve got to have that at the front of my mind.”
Edmund leads British men
Murray has been replaced by Edmund as the British number one.
The 23-year-old Yorkshireman has broken into the world’s top 20 after reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
However, the world number 18 has only won one main-draw match at Wimbledon, reaching round two last year.
Murray has also been overtaken in the rankings by 22-year-old Cameron Norrie.
He has enjoyed a memorable breakthrough year, which started with an epic win on his Davis Cup debut, continued with his first ATP semi-final, and resulted in a ranking of 79.
Two other Britons – Liam Broady and Jay Clarke – have been awarded wildcards.
Federer and Nadal the men to beat
Federer is the favourite after moving clear of Pete Sampras with victory last year.
He decided to skip the clay-court season again, returning triumphantly at the Stuttgart Open.
Federer looked on course to continue his unbeaten run at Halle last week, but lost in the final to Borna Coric.
That meant Nadal, fresh from winning his 16th Grand Slam and 11th French Open, regained the number one ranking.
Nadal, 32, and Federer have won the past six Grand Slams between them.
Federer v Nadal – inside the ‘greatest match ever played’
How many multiple Wimbledon champions can you name?
Who could stop them?
Novak Djokovic: The three-time champion is working his way back after a year disrupted by an elbow injury but showed glimpses of his best form at the French Open and Queen’s.
Marin Cilic: The Croat is a proven force on grass, having reached last year’s final and won Queen’s last month.
Alexander Zverev: Only Federer and Nadal have outperformed the 21-year-old this year.
Dominic Thiem: The Austrian reached his first major final on his favoured surface at Roland Garros.
Seeded Serena is back
Williams missed last year’s tournament as she was pregnant with her first child. She returns amid controversy about whether she should have been seeded.
The 36-year-old American has been given the 25th seed, a decision world number 32 Dominika Cibulkova – who has made way – described as unfair.
Williams, who has not lost a singles match at Wimbledon since 2014, has only played four events since returning after giving birth to daughter Alexis in September.
“You can never underestimate a champion like her,” said Muguruza.
Konta hoping to replicate memorable run
British number one Konta reached the semi-finals at the All England Club last year.
That helped the 27-year-old climb to a career-high fourth in the rankings, but she has since fallen to 22nd.
“I’m really excited to be back,” she said.
A record six British women have been given wildcards – Katie Boulter, Naomi Broady, Harriet Dart, Katy Dunne, Katie Swan and Gabriella Taylor.
Who are the favourites?
Simona Halep: The world number one won her first Grand Slam at the French Open.
Petra Kvitova: The Czech has won Wimbledon twice, and has secured five titles this year – more than anyone else.
Garbine Muguruza: The Spaniard has reached either the French Open or Wimbledon final in each of the past three years but her grass-court season began with defeat by Barbora Strycova at Birmingham.
Caroline Wozniacki: The world number two won her first Grand Slam at the Australian Open and warmed up for Wimbledon by winning Eastbourne on Saturday.
Order of play – Monday, 2 July
Federer’s match against Lajovic is followed on Centre Court by second seed Wozniacki’s meeting with American Varvara Lepchenko.
Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov is then scheduled to play Wawrinka.
US Open champion Sloane Stephens – seeded fourth – opens proceedings on Court One against Croat Donna Vekic.
British wildcard Broady is the second match on the show court, against 13th seed Milos Raonic of Canada.
Serena Williams is then due on Court One against world number 107 Arantxa Rus.
Elsewhere, Dart takes on seventh seed Karolina Pliskova on court 12 at 11:30, while Swan is third on court 14 against Romanian world number 36 Irina-Camelia Begu.
Norrie’s match against Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene will be allocated a court on Monday, with the match not scheduled to start before 17:00.
What is the weather forecast?
How can I follow the Championships?
Wimbledon returns to the BBC with comprehensive coverage across TV, radio, online and the mobile app.
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1968 was a year of revolution across the world with movements against the political and military elite taking place in a number of countries.
In the same year, tennis had its own revolution.
For the first time, professional players were allowed to compete in the Grand Slam tournaments – ushering in a new ‘Open era’ which marked the beginning of the modern game.
To mark the 50th anniversary, we take a visual and interactive look at how Wimbledon has evolved since 1968.
Interactive The All England Club from above
What led to the creation of the Open era?
Up until 1968 tennis was divided into professional and amateur circuits, meaning those paid to play were barred from competing in the Grand Slam tournaments.
However, it was widely known amateur players were being given clandestine payments at other tournaments – leading to it being dubbed as “shamateurism”.
“They bargain for – and receive – exorbitant expenses to compete at many tournaments,” Derek Penman, a Lawn Tennis Association councillor, said at the body’s AGM in 1967.
“We must take action on our own account to make the game honest.”
That action came in the form of the All England Club – whose chairman Herman David first proposed reform in 1959 and saw it rejected – teaming up with the LTA to finally convince members of the International Tennis Federation to vote in favour of allowing professionals to play alongside the amateurs.
“The move is made because the English are tired of the hypocrisy in the sport, the shamateurism that plagues high-class tennis,” added Penman.
The Open era, which led to the increased professionalism and greater riches, was born.
Click to see content: Wimbledon_prize_money_1968
Converting these earnings into modern-day money following the decimalisation of UK currency in 1971, and taking into account inflation, the 1968 men’s champion, Rod Laver, received the equivalent of around £30,000.
Billie Jean King, who won the ladies’ singles that year, won the equivalent of £11,000.
King, a 12-time Grand Slam singles champion, pioneered and fought for gender equality in tennis, eventually helping achieve another breakthrough: equal pay at the Grand Slams.
In 2007, Wimbledon offered women and men equal prize money for the first time, sums which have continued to rise at SW19.
Click to see content: Prize_money_2018
Still ‘Centre’ of the tennis world
In 1968, Centre Court was one of sport’s most iconic venues. Fifty years later, it is still.
While the dimensions of the patch of grass have barely altered, plenty around it has changed.
The court capacity has been expanded by more than 5,000 since 1968, with the biggest redevelopment the addition of the retractable roof in 2009.
Interactive Inside Centre Court
While the new roof also meant modifications to the stands, it did not mean the end for Centre Court’s green masonry or seating.
Nor was it the end of the iconic creeper covering the wall of the main entrance.
“We had to strip off the old vines and replant from scratch,” Martyn Falconer, head gardener of the All England Club, says.
Interactive Outside Centre Court
In 1968, Centre Court used to have a next-door neighbour: the old Court One.
It was attached to the west side of Centre before being replaced by a new 11,000-capacity court – north of Centre – in 1997.
Since 1968, four other show courts have been built – courts two, three, 12 and 18 – meaning the layout of the grounds has been transformed.
How the spectator experience has changed
While the All England Club has gradually been transformed over the years, the appetite to experience what many regard as the quintessential English sporting event has not diminished – despite the odd bit of rain…
More people than ever are arriving at SW19 over the Wimbledon fortnight….
While modern-day ticket prices are still not dissuading those keen to sample the experience…
The amount of prize money might have increased considerably, but the other main prize for a Wimbledon singles champion – the trophy and its presentation – has barely changed.
The men’s champion receives the silver gilt Challenge Cup, which was first presented in 1887, while the ladies’ champion receives the Venus Rosewater Dish – a silver salver first presented in 1886.
Like 50 years ago, the trophies are presented by the president of the All England Club – Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent in 1968, and now her son, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.
Interactive Trophy presentation
There is another similarity between the images showing Billie Jean King and Garbine Muguruza receiving the ladies’ singles trophies: the white kit.
Since 1963, Wimbledon has insisted players must be dressed predominantly in white throughout, although the rule was clarified to ‘almost entirely white’ in 1995.
“Any competitor who appears on court dressed in a manner deemed unsuitable by the committee will be liable to be defaulted,” says the Wimbledon rulebook.
…but Wimbledon continues to grow globally
Tennis has become more global in terms of the two professional tours – ATP and WTA – holding more events all around the world.
While Wimbledon has seen an increase in the number of nations represented in the first-round draw, there was also a healthy spread across the globe in 1968…
The increase in the number of countries represented, coupled with transportation across the world becoming more viable, means there are now journalists from around 50 countries.
After the UK, which had around 350 journalists there in 2017, the country with the next largest representation was the United States (47).
That was followed by France, Italy, Japan, Germany, Switzerland and Spain, all with between 20-31 representatives.
How technology has changed
The umpire remains the one who administers the rules from their perch on the familiar extended chair.
However, the tools available to them are vastly different.
Computers are now used to score the match, while net-cord machines also alert them.
But the most notable change came with the introduction of the electronic review system.
Hawk-Eye, which allows players to challenge line calls, was implemented by Wimbledon in 2007 and is used on Centre Court, Court One, plus courts two, three, 12 and 18.
That also meant the scoreboards had to change.
While Centre Court and Court One had electric scoreboards from the 1920s, they have been regularly updated over the years with the current video boards being introduced in 2008.
In 1968, all the outside courts had manual scoreboards – operated by ball boys and girls – before electronic scoreboards became standard across the grounds in 2013.
Ball boys and girls
In 1968, there were fewer than 100 ball boys at Wimbledon.
They were provided by Shaftesbury Homes – a charity which supported young people in care – and all wore All England green and purple halved shirts and shorts.
Interactive Ball boys and girls
With ball girls introduced in 1977, that figure has risen to around 250 children.
The ball boys and girls, who are picked from several London schools, now wear navy polo shirts with a green stripe down the side, and navy blue shorts.
Thanks to the All England Club for providing several of the archive images. More information about the history of Wimbledon is available at the club’s museum.
Wimbledon 2018 on the BBC
Coverage: Extensive live coverage across television, radio and online
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