Wimbledon: Jay Clarke expecting 'fun' Roger Federer match as Rafael Nadal meets Nick Kyrgios
Five British players in singles action; Andy Murray partners Pierre Hugues-Herbert in men's doubles in exciting day's schedule
By Mathieu Wood
Last Updated: 04/07/19 5:54pm
British wildcard Jay Clarke will play eight-time champion Roger Federer in the second round at Wimbledon in a packed schedule on Thursday, which includes a grudge match between Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios.
Clarke defeated American qualifier Noah Rubin in just his second main draw match at a Grand Slam to set up a prized opportunity to face the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
The 20-year-old Brit is scheduled second on Court One against the 37-year-old Swiss, after two-time champion Petra Kvitova faces Kristina Mladenovic in the opening match at 13:00.
"I always looked up to him. Tried to copy a lot of the stuff he does. But I did that with all the big ones, to be honest," Clarke said.
It's going to be a fun match. No real surprises. I know what to expect
Jay Clarke on facing Roger Federer
"It's going to be a fun match. No real surprises. I know what to expect. I've seen him play a lot. I just need to get ready for it."
For Clarke, who reached the mixed doubles semi-finals last year and will partner American teenage sensation Cori Gauff this time around, the challenge of facing Federer represents the biggest match of his career.
"I'll go out there and I wouldn't play above myself, I'll just play my game," Clarke, who arrived at Wimbledon on a six-match losing streak at all levels, added.
"That's the best test to actually see where I'm at. If I start doing stuff I don't normally do, then I wouldn't really learn anything.
"I'll always try to do what I do, maybe a bit higher tempo or a bit bigger serving in certain moments. I'll stick to the way I play and then just see how it goes."
One to watch
The Centre Court crowd will witness the latest instalment in the entertaining rivalry between Nadal and Kyrgios, in what is without question the standout second-round match at the All England Club.
The meeting will invoke memories of Kyrgios' victory against the Spaniard when the pair last met on grass five years ago at Wimbledon on the very same court. The styles of play and their on court demeanour couldn't be more apart.
Both players have shared their six previous encounters going into Thursday's tussle, which comes six months after Nadal accused the Australian of lacking respect as Kyrgios served underarm during his three-set victory in Acapulco.
Kyrgios said Nadal was his "polar opposite" during a recent podcast interview, during which he also called the Spaniard "super salty".
Did you know?
Nick Kyrgios is the youngest player (19) to defeat a world No 1 at a Grand Slam since Rafael Nadal (also 19) defeated Roger Federer at the French Open in 2005.
Asked in his post-match news conference on Tuesday, if he had a "good relationship" with Nadal, Kyrgios said: "Not sure that me and Rafa could go down to the Dog & Fox (a pub in Wimbledon Village) and have a beer together.
"I don't know him at all. I know him as a tennis player. I just don't - no, I don't know him very well."
Seed to struggle?
Ordinarily, sixth seed Kvitova would be a strong favourite for the Wimbledon title but the Czech came into the grass-court major having not played since pulling out of the French Open in May with an arm injury.
The 29-year-old, who beat Ons Jabeur in straight sets on Tuesday, faces a difficult encounter against France's Mladenovic, who under Naomi Osaka's former coach Sascha Bajin will be optimistic of just a second win in their ninth meeting.
How Kvitova recovers from the physical demands of returning to the court will prove significant, but Mladenovic, who is ranked world No 1 in doubles, has the ability to cause an upset and match her best performance - at the very least - at Wimbledon.
There are five British players, including Clarke, in singles action, with Cameron Norrie beginning the day's play on Centre Court against eighth seed Kei Nishikori followed by Johanna Konta against Katerina Siniakova.
Konta: We're all in it together
Johanna Konta is hopeful the British contingent left in the main draw can maintain their winning momentum at Wimbledon.
Harriet Dart will be the first home hope in action against world No 121 Beatriz Haddad Maia from Brazil, who defeated 2017 champion Garbine Muguruza on Tuesday, in the first match on Court 12 at 11:00.
British No 3 Dan Evans will look to prolong his excellent grass-court campaign when he faces 18th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second match on Court Two.
There are also a number of British players in doubles action, but almost everyone's focus will be towards Andy Murray and Pierre Hugues-Herbert's partnership in the men's doubles.
Their first-round match against Marius Copil and Ugo Humbert has been given a "to be arranged" slot on the schedule, not before 5:30pm, with it likely to be played on Centre or Court 1, depending on which one gets through the singles schedule first.
Whichever court it is, the atmosphere is sure to be electric and quite unlike any other men's doubles opener.
What you might have missed on Wednesday
Felix Auger-Aliassime is appearing in a main draw at a Grand Slam for just the second time in his career but the 18-year-old Canadian teenager is expected to achieve big things in the game.
The 19th seed reached the third round with a four-sets victory against French qualifier Corentin Moutet and will next meet 21-year-old Humbert.
In their lone junior meeting, 17-year-old Humbert beat 14-year-old Auger-Aliassime 6-3 6-2 for the 2015 Dutch Open title. Auger-Aliassime, who reached the semi-finals at Queen's, is rightly being lauded as the future of men's tennis.
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