'Excited' Alcaraz opens Centre Court at Wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz during Wimbledon practice
Alcaraz is bidding to become the ninth man in the Open era to successfully defend the Wimbledon singles title [Getty Images]

Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz says it feels "more special" to return to Wimbledon as he prepares to open play on Centre Court when the tournament starts on Monday.

Spain's Alcaraz, now 21, beat seven-time champion Novak Djokovic in last year's final, despite it being only his fourth grass-court tournament.

Tradition dictates the reigning men's champion starts his defence in the first match on Centre Court.

Therefore, third seed Alcaraz meets Estonian qualifier Mark Lajal at 13:30 BST on the iconic show court.

"I always say it is great to be back here at Wimbledon. It is more special to be the defending champion," said Alcaraz, who arrives on the back of winning the third major of his career at the French Open.

"Great memories last year, great run. I'm excited to start the tournament and hopefully have the same result as last year."

Raducanu leads Brits on day one

Britain's Emma Raducanu makes her return to Wimbledon in the second match of day one on Centre Court.

Raducanu, 21, missed last year's tournament through injury and faces Mexican lucky loser Renata Zarazua at about 16:00 BST.

World number 135 Raducanu, who was given a wildcard to play, was due to play 22nd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, but the Russian withdrew through illness on Monday morning.

Zarazua, who lost in the third round of qualifying, is the beneficiary and will make her main-draw debut at the All England Club.

Reigning US Open champion Coco Gauff plays the third scheduled singles match on Centre Court, with the 20-year-old facing fellow American Caroline Dolehide.

Order of play on Centre Court

Raducanu is one of seven British singles players in action on Monday.

Wildcard Charles Broom makes his Wimbledon debut when he faces three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka, with the pair playing on Court Two at about 14:00 BST.

"It's a good draw I think. I'm just excited," said 26-year-old Broom.

"Stan's pretty amazing, he's a tennis legend really.

"I'm going to go in there with no expectations and try and play my game, do the best I can, and just enjoy it as much as possible."

Wildcards Heather Watson, Liam Broady, Arthur Fery and Lily Miyazaki are also in action, along with Sonay Kartal after she came through qualifying.

Court One order of play