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Osaka among four Grand Slam winners granted Wimbledon wildcard

Japan’s Naomi Osaka was one of four Grand Slam champions granted a wildcard on Wednesday into the main draw for next month’s women’s singles at Wimbledon.

The 26-year-old, a former world number one and twice winner of both the Australian and US Opens, will be playing in the main draw of Wimbledon for the first time in five years after becoming a mother.

So too will former Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki, who also once topped the world rankings, with the 33-year-old Dane another recipient of a wildcard.

Wildcards are given by the All England Club to players who are not ranked high enough to qualify directly into the main draw.

Wozniacki, disappointed to miss out on a wildcard at the French Open, told Britain’s PA news agency: “I have so many special memories.

“I won junior Wimbledon back in 2005, so it’s a long time ago. There’s something so special about playing on Wimbledon’s Centre Court that you can’t replicate anywhere else.”

Germany’s Angelique Kerber, the 2018 Wimbledon champion and another former world number one who took time out from tennis to start a family, has also received a wildcard entry into the tournament, which starts on July 1.

Another wildcard announced Wednesday went to home favourite Emma Raducanu, who made her breakthrough run to the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2021 — shortly before her stunning triumph in winning that year’s US Open as a qualifier.

It will be the first time in two years that Raducanu, 21, has been on the grass courts of Wimbledon following wrist and ankle surgery in 2023.

Last week, Raducanu lost an all-British semi-final at the Nottingham Open to eventual champion Katie Boulter in what was still an encouraging start to her grass-court campaign.

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