Wimbledon day two: Rafa Nadal mania and Serena Williams fever on second day of championships

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 (PA)
(PA)

Rafa-mania and Serena fever broke out at Wimbledon on Tuesday as fans braved long queues in the hope of watching their favourite players on Centre Court.

Tennis legends Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams have both overcome injuries to make it to the All England Club and fans said they were desperate to see them in action in case this year was their last.

Danilo Criscuolo, 30, from Napoli, Italy, was at the front of the queue this morning after arriving on Saturday “just to be sure I could go to Centre Court and watch Rafael Nadal”.

He said: “It will be emotional for me. I’m very excited to see him on the grass.”

Nadal, 36, is vying to win his third successive Grand Slam title and 23rd overall despite suffering a severe foot injury after the French Open less than a month ago.

“He’s a fighter. He is a great, great champion,” Mr Criscuolo added.

Rita Fitzgerald, 54, from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, hailed Nadal as the greatest male tennis player of all time and said: “I like everything about him. He’s just so humble”.

Seven-time champion Williams, 40, is making her comeback after limping out of last year’s first-round match in tears due to a leg injury.

She will face France’s Harmony Tan on Centre Court in her quest to win a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title after Nadal’s match against Francisco Cerundolo has finished.

Abigail Blower, 25, from Brixton, said: “Serena is just a massive advocate for women. She’s the biggest women’s tennis player of my lifetime.”

Sarah Gilchrist, 35, from Northern Ireland, said she decided to queue for Wimbledon tickets after hearing Williams was playing, adding: “I love everything about her. She’s good to the younger players coming through and supportive, just a good person.”

Richard Bleecker, 82, from New Jersey, travelled 3,500 miles with his family to attend and said: “As an octogenarian player myself, I like those who are setting new age limits.”

It follows a dramatic opening day of the tournament which saw 19-year-old British player Emma Raducanu win on her Centre Court debut and Andy Murray triumphing under the floodlights.

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