sport

Wild card for Townsend

American teenager Taylor Townsend has been handed a wild card for this year's Wimbledon Championships which begin on Monday, June 23.

Townsend, who lost to Belinda Bencic in the girls' singles final 12 months ago, is joined in the draw by former runner-up Vera Zvonareva.

The 18-year-old left-hander, who reached the third round of the French Open earlier this month, said on social media: "I just got the best news of my life. Thankyou @Wimbledon."

Zvonareva lost to Serena Williams in the final in 2010 but has since struggled with injuries and illness, and did not play any tournament tennis last year.

The Russian, who has dropped to 559th in the world rankings, has won just one match in four tournaments since making her return to competition in Shenzhen at the start of this year.

Spain's Silvia Soler-Espinosa joins Townsend and Zvonareva in receiving a wild card while 20-year-old Czech Jiri Vesely has also been given one for the men's singles.