Sports

Fresno native plays in marquee tennis match at Wimbledon – and it’s not Sloane Stephens

Fabrice Martin of France and Fresno native Raquel Atawo get ready for a point in Tuesday’s mixed doubles match at Wimbledon against Serena Williams and Andy Murray.
Fabrice Martin of France and Fresno native Raquel Atawo get ready for a point in Tuesday’s mixed doubles match at Wimbledon against Serena Williams and Andy Murray. AP

A Fresno native took part in one of the more exciting matches at this year’s Wimbledon.

But Raquel Atawo – perhaps better known in Fresno by her maiden name of Raquel Kops-Jones – and her partner Fabrice Martin were going up against two former singles champions.

The duo of Atawo and Martin, seeded No. 14, lost 7-5, 6-3 to Serena Williams and Andy Murray in the second round of mixed doubles play Tuesday.

Nonetheless, Atawo still is considered one of the best doubles players in the world and one of the top female tennis players ever to come out of Fresno, along with 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, who bowed out in the third round of Wimbledon singles.

Atawo has earned $2,309,795 in her career since turning pro in 2004 after an All-America career at Cal.

And before starring at Cal, Atawo attended Bullard High for a couple of years (though she never played tennis with the Knights) then eventually left Fresno to hone her skills at a tennis academy in Florida.

Atawo’s older sister, Renee Kops-Jones, played tennis at Fresno State. And her father, the late Lawrence Jones, was a Fresno County Superior Court judge.

Atawo’s match on Tuesday generated much interest because of the Williams-Murray pairing.

The high-profile duo received a loud ovation as they walked on for Murray’s first match on Centre Court since 2017.

Murray, a two-time men’s champion, missed last year’s tournament with an injury and is only playing doubles at the moment after having surgery on his hip.

And of course, Williams is widely regarded as the greatest female tennis player ever with 23 major championships. She did double-duty Tuesday advancing to the women’s singles semifinals..

Williams and Murray produced some tough returns that led to winning critical break points in each set.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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