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Tennis stars hope sacrifice pays off

July 28, 2012 06:59 am

Britain's tennis players will hope their opening ceremony sacrifice pays off when they take to Wimbledon's courts for the start of the Olympic tournament today.

Team leader Paul Hutchins had requested late starts for all eight players to give them the chance to attend the ceremony but, although none of them are playing until later today, it was decided a trip to Stratford would be detrimental to their chances.

Although she was disappointed, Elena Baltacha backed the decision and settled for watching on TV from her base in Wimbledon. Baltacha said: "We're here to compete. It would have been really nice to go but we're here for a reason and that has to come first. If we were to go we wouldn't be back until late and that's not the best preparation."

The Scot is likely to be the first British player in action when she meets Hungary's Agnes Szavay in the first round of the women's singles in the third match on Court 18. She added: "I can't believe how quickly the time's passed and it's all kicking off. It's an amazing feeling to be part of it and I can't wait to start my match."

Baltacha has struggled for form this season but Szavay has played only one match in more than a year because of back problems and does not even have a world ranking.

Baltacha said: "It's a good draw for the first round. You can't take anyone lightly but hopefully I can go out and do my thing and get into the second round. I'm feeling good and I'm feeling ready."

Anne Keothavong has the toughest draw of any of the British players against eighth seed and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki but she is rewarded with an appearance on Centre Court.

The Murray brothers begin their men's doubles campaign fourth on Court Two against Austria's Jurgen Melzer and Alexander Peya.

Andy Murray will play his first singles match tomorrow against good friend and former top-10 player Stanislas Wawrinka, who has been given today off after carrying Switzerland's flag in the opening ceremony.

Laura Robson and Heather Watson face fifth seeds Angelique Kerber and Sabine Lisicki from Germany fourth on Court 12 while Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins are last on Court 14 against French duo Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau.

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