Lleyton Hewitt receives wild-card entry to Wimbledon doubles
Former singles champion Lleyton Hewitt and partner Alex Bolt were granted a wild-card entry to play at the men’s doubles competition at Wimbledon next month. Conversely, British player Dan Evans, who just returned from a year-long suspension after testing positive for cocaine, did not receive a wild-card entry.
Evans’ positive drug test was the reasoning behind leaving him out of the Wimbledon field altogether. The tournament organizers excluded Evans out of principle, the same way they did by leaving Maria Sharapova out of the field for women’s singles last year. Sharapova had previously been suspended after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug banned by WTA.
Hewitt, now 37, won the men’s singles competition at Wimbledon back in 2001. He has decided to come out of retirement in order to play a number of doubles events already this year. The Australia native reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open alongside partner Sam Groth earlier this year.
Hewitt partaking in the competition will add to Wimbledon’s viewing and betting appeal. The excitement of live betting and watching the matches always has a little more luster when there is a familiar name involved. The former top-ranked player on the planet has had some success in doubles at Wimbledon in the past, but he has never won in that format. Hewitt advanced to the third round in men’s doubles in 1999, 2012, 2014 and 2015 before retiring in 2016.
Evans has been one of the bright spots for British tennis. He has won 10 of his 13 matches on grass so far this year, though it will certainly sting to not get the invitation to the U.K.’s most prestigious tournament. Instead, wild-cards for men’s singles were granted to fellow Brits Jay Clarke and Liam Broady in addition to Australia’s Alex De Minaur. There are still five more wild-cards to be announced.
De Minaur will be one of the youngest players in the men’s field at just 19. Despite ranking outside the top-100 when overall rankings were taken into consideration by Wimbledon in May, de Minaur now ranks 78th in the world. He saw his ranking shoot up after winning the Challenger event last weekend, becoming the first teenager since Nick Kyrgios in 2014 to win a grass court Challenger title. De Minaur defeated Evans in the final.
Wild-cards for the women’s singles were given to Naomi Broady, Harriet Dart, Gabriella Taylor, Katy Dunne, Katie Swan and Katie Boulter, all of Great Britain. Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur got another. There is still one more yet to be announced.
Wimbledon will get underway from the All England Club on July 2, and the tournament will come to a close on July 15.