Wimbledon releases early wildcards for the upcoming championships

With Wimbledon commencing in just under two weeks, the All England Lawn Tennis Club has announced the initial group of players who will receive a wildcard into the singles draws for the third Grand Slam of the year.

Six Brits appear across both singles line-ups, with three players in each respective draw. The entertaining Dustin Brown and Radek Stepanek will have the chance to light up Centre Court yet again.

Dustin Brown rewarded for upset of Nadal in 2015

Brown put in an impressive display to overcome two-time champion Rafael Nadal last year (Photo: Getty Images/Ian Walton)
Brown put in an impressive display to overcome two-time champion Rafael Nadal last year (Photo: Getty Images/Ian Walton)

After completing arguably the biggest upset at last year’s championships, Brown has been given the opportunity to cause yet more damage on Centre Court. The German is the highest ranked player to receive a wildcard, and recently won the challenger event in Manchester to go alongside progressing in the ongoing Gerry Weber Open in Halle, making it near-impossible for the AELTC to ignore the talented shotmaker. He’s joined by Stepanek, with the 37-year-old proving there’s life in the old dog yet after pushing Andy Murray all the way to five sets at the French Open. The Czech reached the last eight ten years ago, and would love another deep run in London.

The other three wildcards were gifted to three Brits, with Liam Broady and Alex Ward joining the ever-present James Ward in the main draw. James Ward reached the third round last year, losing out to Vasek Pospisil in a tight five-set battle, but his namesake Alex has never featured in a main draw at a Slam. Broady hasn’t played in any main draw on the ATP tour since progressing to the second round at SW19 12 months ago.

Hantuchova set for 16th consecutive main draw appearance at Wimbledon

Hantuchova reached the last eight 14 years ago (Photo: Getty Images/Ian Walton)
Hantuchova reached the last eight 14 years ago (Photo: Getty Images/Ian Walton)

Former Wimbledon quarterfinalist Daniela Hantuchova will play in her 16th consecutive main draw at Wimbledon, after the world number 163 received a wildcard into this year’s event. The former world number five also boasts a title at the slam, as she clinched the mixed doubles title 15 years ago with Kevin Ullyett.  The Slovakian is only the second non-British player to be on the wildcard list in the ladies singles, with Marina Melnikova given her first ever main draw position at a Grand Slam after winning the ITF event in Surbiton recently.

Laura Robson heads the list from a British point of view, as the 22-year-old is still re-adjusting to life back on the WTA tour after a long-term wrist injury has halted a positive start to her career. Robson made the second week at Wimbledon back in 2013 and clinched the girls crown in 2008. Joining Hantuchova, Melnikova and Robson on the wildcard list are other Brits Tara Moore and Katie Swan. Moore has played twice at her home major, but 17-year-old Swan is set to test herself at tennis’ highest level for the first time in her young career.

There are still three wildcards to be given in both the gentlemen’s and ladies singles events. These will be announced later this week by the AELTC.

Brits dominate the doubles wildcards

Five of the seven doubles wildcards are all-British pairs, while a home player is present within each of the pairings earning direct entry into the event.

The men’s doubles wildcard pairings have been awarded to Dan Evans and Lloyd Glasspool, Brydan Klein and Alex Ward, Jonathan Marray and Adil Shamasdin, and Ken Skupski and Neil Skupski. Robson and Ashleigh Barty, Naomi Broady and Heather Watson and Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith are the lucky pairings to receive entry on the women's side.

Three pairings are still yet to be revealed in the gentlemen’s doubles, while four spots are still up for grabs in the ladies doubles. No wildcards have been awarded as of yet in the mixed doubles event.