Australians face Wimbledon 'Ashes' test

Darren WaltonAAP
Australia's Nick Kyrgios has drawn to play a British wildcard in the opening round of Wimbledon.
Camera IconAustralia's Nick Kyrgios has drawn to play a British wildcard in the opening round of Wimbledon. Credit: AAP

Nick Kyrgios will open his Wimbledon campaign against English wildcard Paul Jubb as the much-anticipated draw delivered a mini "Ashes" for Australia's tennis stars.

Australia's biggest title hope in the absence of retired 2021 women's champion Ash Barty, Kyrgios will play the 219th-ranked Jubb on Tuesday.

While that shapes as a straightforward opening assignment for the enigmatic former quarter-finalist, James Duckworth's showcourt showdown with Britain's golden boy and two-time champion Andy Murray is anything but.

After career-saving hip surgery, Murray returned to the world's top 50 for the first time in four years last month and rounded preparations for another Wimbledon tilt by reaching the final in Stuttgart.

It's a huge test for Duckworth but one the 30-year-old journeyman is relishing.

Resurgent former world No.1 junior Jason Kubler also plays a home hope in newly crowned Nottingham Open champion Dan Evans, the tournament's 28th seed.

Thanasi Kokkinakis also has an intriguing draw, facing Pole Kamil Majchrzak first up and, potentially, top-seeded six-times champion Novak Djokovic in the second round.

Australian No.1 Alex de Minaur, the men's 19th seed, starts against Bolivian Hugo Dellien, the world No.81.

Despite his status as the country's highest-ranked player, de Minaur is playing second fiddle once more to Kyrgios, who has returned to the All England Club as a genuine title contender - if he can hold it together mentally.

The one-time world No.13 has been sublime at times this year, effortlessly beating the likes of third-seeded French Open finalist Casper Ruud and also adding Greek superstar Stefanos Tsitsipas to his list of prized scalps.

At other times, Kyrgios has melted in all-too-familiar fashion, leaving fans wondering when will tennis's most prodigious talent deliver on his potential.

On medical advice, Kyrgios withdrew from this week's Mallorca Championships with a painful abdomen.

Should he have recovered sufficiently enough to get past the talented Jubb in his opener, he would play either Filip Krajinovic or Czech Jiri Lehecka in the second round.

In-form countryman Jordan Thompson or fourth-seeded Tsitsipas looms as a third-round blockbuster for Kyrgios.

Australia's top-ranked female Ajla Tomljanovic faces a tough time to repeat her run to the quarter-finals last year, drawing Swiss 18th seed Jill Teichmann in the first round.

Inspirational qualifier Zoe Hives also has a seed in world No.5 Maria Sakkari.


Women's singles

AjlaTomljanovic v 18-Jill Teichmann (SUI)

Jamiee Fourlis v Kirsten Flipkens (BEL)

Zoe Hives v 5-Maria Sakkari (GRE)

Daria Saville v Viktoriya Tomova (BUL)

Astra Sharma v Tatjana Maria (GER)

Madison Inglis v Dalma Galfi (HUN)

Men's singles

19-Alex de Minaur v Hugo Dellien (BOL)

Thanasi Kokkinakis v Kamil Majchrzak (POL)

John Millman v Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB)

James Duckworth v Andy Murray (GBR)

Max Purcell v Adrian Mannarino (FRA)

Nick Kyrgios v Paul Jubb (GBR)

Jordan Thompson v Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP)

Jason Kubler v 28-Dan Evans (GBR)

Alexei Popyrin v Hugo Gaston (FRA)

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