Andy and Johanna battle to give Britain a man and woman in the final eight for the first time since 1973
ANDY Murray and Johanna Konta will today return to Centre Court on a ‘Magic Monday’ at Wimbledon – with fans queuing since last Wednesday in the hope of seeing the tennis heroes in action.
The second Monday of the tournament is known as Manic Monday because it is the only Grand Slam where the last 16 men and women all play on the same day.
But this year will be extra special for British fans as it is the first time in four years a woman representing this country has reached this stage. And if Konta and defending champion Murray both reach the last eight, it will be the first time a British man and woman have done so since 1973.
Crowds desperate to see the stars in action camped out in blistering heat for days. Wimbledon tweeted it had already run out of tickets for today for Centre Court and Court One by 8.50pm on Saturday, adding: ‘Please wait until Monday morning to queue for ground entry.’ But last night 1,500 remained in line in the hope of getting into the All England Tennis Club.
Chris Fava, 41, from Los Angeles, who is No 2 in the queue, said: ‘I’ve been here since Thursday. This is the fifth year I’ve been here and the longest I’ve ever queued for. No 1 in the queue has been here since Wednesday.’
He added: ‘Some have left because it was so hot. People were fainting. You’re only supposed to be away [from the queue] for 30 minutes.’ Laura Brickell, 61, from Dorset, said: ‘We are running back and forth between the queue, the loo and Southfields for dinner. You are constantly negotiating the crowds.’
As excitement reached fever pitch, tickets for the men’s final, worth £190 each, were on the open market for £48,000 a pair.
Konta, 26, the world No 7, who is touted as the female favourite by some bookies, could become the first British woman to win since Virginia Wade in 1977.
Today she goes up against France’s Caroline Garcia, ranked 22nd.
Konta’s coach Wim Fissette said she prepares for games like an exam, with him texting her tactics the night before which she then memorises and repeats back to him five minutes before a match.
He added: ‘Maybe it’s a bit unu- sual but when she is 100 per cent clear about her intentions, that is when Jo plays her best matches.’
World No 1 Murray, 30, today takes on Frenchman Benoit Paire, 28, ranked 46th, on Centre Court. In 2014, Paire complained about Wimbledon, saying ‘the atmosphere displeases me greatly’.
He also sparked controversy at the Rio Olympics last year when he was kicked out of his team accused of ‘damaging’ his nation’s image.
Asked about their match, Murray said: ‘He moves well, takes a lot of chances. He seems to have played pretty well so far at this event. I expect that to be tricky.’
Paire seemed confident, saying: ‘It will be a good experience. I think I can do something good against him.’ Five-time champion Venus Williams, the only former winner of the women, will take on Croatian Ana Konjuh. The US star, 37, had already made her debut in a Grand Slam final at the US Open in 1997 before Konjuh, 19, had been born.