Just weeks after the French Open, the third slam of the year begins on Monday. Wimbledon sees Andy Murray look to defend his title of 2013 which saw him finally get a weight off his back in becoming the first home male Wimbledon winner for 77 years. His seeding is bumped up to number 3 while Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal swap the top two spots thanks to the grass court formula.
Check out the Full Draw: Wimbledon 2014 Men’s draw
Quarter 1 (Djokovic-Berdych)
Having last lost before the quarter finals in 2009, Djokovic is the least likely of the top four to suffer a shock exit but his record of five straight slam finals losses (2x Murray, 3x Nadal) will bring suggestions he is unable to perform at the business end of slams. A 21st straight quarter final looks a certainty with very little to trouble the World No.2 in the first week of the tournament. Andrey Golubev will be ruing his luck after drawing Wawrinka, Murray and now Djokovic in round ones this year. Radek Stepanek serve and volleyed his way to victory over defending champ Murray at Queens but over best of five, the Czech veteran will find it hard to get his second win in twelve attempts against Djokovic. Vasek Pospisil is capable on grass and should beat Robin Haase in round one but will be found wanting against more capable grass courters.
Mikhail Youzhny went 7-2 on grass last year and has a quarter final to his name but is in the middle of one of his worst seasons, having gone 7-12 on all surfaces. He plays wildcard James Ward who will receive a boost from the home crowd but will still have his work cut out against the Russian. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is always named as one to watch after his semi final runs of 2011 and 2012 but needs to improve after losing to Marinko Matosevic at Queens. Tsonga is in the midst of an eight match losing streak against Djokovic which includes a loss in the 2012 Olympics.
Ernests Gulbis finally looks to be making the most of his clear ability after a run to the semi finals in Paris which included a win over Roger Federer and the taking of a set from Djokovic. His best run at Wimbledon however is a third round and that was helped by Tsonga withdrawing through injury. A third round meeting with Fernando Verdasco looks likely unless Sergiy Stakhovsky can bring the magic that helped him defeat Federer last year. Verdasco isn’t famed for his grass court play but given he really should have beat the eventual champion last year, he can be a danger once more.
Bernard Tomic hasn’t lived up to the hype since his breakthrough at this tournament in 2011 that saw him make the quarters and beat Robin Soderling along the way. He was impressive last year in beating Gasquet, finally exiting at the hands of Tomas Berdych. They can meet in in round two and it promises to be a cracker if the Aussie brings his A-game. However, the likelihood of this happening seems to reduce with each passing month.
Second Quarter (Murray-Ferrer)
Defending champion Murray could not be any more thankful for what seems on paper a draw that should see him live up to his seedings and make the semis fairly easily. With an Olympic title, Wimbledon final and Wimbledon title since 2012, it seems fair to suggest Murray is the best grass courter right now until proven otherwise. His loss to Stepanek at Queens was far from promising but it came after a semi final run in Paris, the first deep run for him since Wimbledon last year as well as after his surgery. David Goffin failed to qualify for Eastbourne after losing to Tobias Kamke while round two will bring him an opponent without a win on grass in their career at main tour level. Pablo Andujar is slightly more experienced while Blaz Rola played on the surface for the first time this year.
Roberto Bautista-Agut comes into Wimbledon with a ‘S-hertogenbosch title to his name but the likes of Melzer, Mahut and Becker are slightly easier opponents. The Spaniard however is a dangerous opponent and currently leads the race for ATP’s most improved player of 2014. Kevin Anderson is a competent player on grass with a big serve that should see him through the early rounds against Aljaz Bedene and Edouard Roger-Vasselin while Fabio Fognini would be amongst those fancied for an early exit were qualifiers not standing between him and round three. Fognini outplayed Murray on clay in Davis Cup early in the year but a grass court encounter would likely go the exact opposite way were it to happen.
David Ferrer is projected to meet Murray in the quarter finals and is usually a reliable player to make it that far, despite always being marked as the vulnerable high seed in a draw. He begins against an opponent in Pablo Carreno Busta who warmed up for Wimbledon by playing Challengers… on the clay of Morocco and Italy. Busta has shown no interest in improvement on the surface and will be easy pickings for Ferrer. Wildcard Dan Evans will be able to showcase his talent on the big stage against Ferrer if he can make it past Andrey Kuznetsov. Marcos Baghdatis faces Dustin Brown in one of the more eye catching round one matches. Brown wowed the Halle crowd with his run there which included victory over Rafael Nadal. Despite that, his inconsistency may get the better of him over a best of five format. Whoever wins though will fancy their chances against Andreas Seppi, who lost his only warmup match in Halle.
Grigor Dimitrov comes into the tournament seen as a valid outsider after picking up the Queens title with wins over Wawrinka and Lopez in the latter stages to quickly forget his embarrassing loss to Ivo Karlovic in Paris. Qualifiers await in the first two rounds while there will be question marks over Alexandr Dolgopolov in a third round should it happen after Dolgopolov withdrew from Queens. The big serving Samuel Groth faces the Ukranian but there is little else to the Aussie’s game to suggest he has a chance unless Dolgopolov throws in one of his now rarer awful matches. The last two winners of Queens, a Dimitrov-Murray quarter final offers a lot of intrigue should it happen.
Third Quarter (Federer-Wawrinka)
With uncertainty over the other members of the big four – Nadal’s recent struggles on grass, Murray and Djokovic injury issues – many are proclaiming this to be Federer’s best chance of No.18 for a while. It seems a bit much to suggest that but the draw could have been much worse for him. Paolo Lorenzi will allow the seven times champ to ease himself in before an encounter with either Gilles Muller or Julien Benneteau. Muller qualified and is always a dangerous prospect on grass while Benneteau was only a few points from victory in their last Wimbledon encounter. It would however be a surprise to see lightning strike twice and the Frenchman give Federer a scare once more.
Spaniard’s not named Rafael Nadal will be unlikely to give Federer much of a scare with seeds Marcel Granollers and Tommy Robredo far from their best on grass. Jerzy Janowicz made the semi finals thanks to the draw breaking down from a projected Federer-Nadal quarter final. The Pole has the weapons but his year since the best tournament of his career he has found it tough, with an 8-12 tour record this year including a loss to Pierre Hugues Herbert in Halle. This tournament should say a lot about Janowicz and go some way to deciding if he was lucky in the way the draw fell last year or is a real contender on grass.
An all-Swiss quarter final is on the cards if the seeds hold but it is far from a certainty given recent grass losses by Stanislas Wawrinka include Mahut, Dimitrov and Hewitt. Joao Sousa troubled Federer in Halle before the third seed picked up the title while Yen Hsun Lu has a Wimbledon quarter final to his name which included a win over Andy Roddick. 32nd seed Dmitry Tursunov will face Denis Istomin for an extraordinary fifth time this year already. The Uzbek leads 3-1 in 2014 but Tursunov has the only grass win in 2009 at Eastbourne. Simplistic thinking would have many see 9th seed John Isner as a big threat due to his monster serve but the American struggles at Wimbledon with his best a second round place on three occasions. Feliciano Lopez will be the one to watch with an Eastbourne win and Queens runner-up to his name. The Spaniard performs well on the grass and has made the quarter finals three times. 2005, 2008 and 2011 runs would suggest Lopez is due.
Quarter 4 (Nadal-Raonic)
It is bizarre to think that a five times finalist, two times winner of a tournament could be seen as so vulnerable but that is the recent thinking with Rafael Nadal. Days after picking up French Open number 8, he took to the court in Halle only to be blasted off it fairly quickly by Dustin Brown. The German was in the zone, teeing off on the Nadal serve and cracking winners for fun but it seems likely he wouldn’t have competed if not for a lucrative contract he signed with the tournament to compete there. Consensus thinking seems to be that Nadal would be the favourite if he makes it past week one where conditions would then begin to favour him. Big serving, powerful ball strikers would appear to be his weakness in early rounds. A fellow lefty in Martin Klizan is up in round one while Lukas Rosol could meet him in the second round. Rosol put in one of the incredible performances in tennis to defeat Nadal in 2012 which will be impossible to match. Big serving Ivo Karlovic hit a rich vein of form to find himself a seeding at the last moment but he has never done all that well at Wimbledon despite his obvious weapons. A quarter final in 2009 is surrounded by 1R and 2R exits for the majority of his career.
Richard Gasquet lost a close 3 setter in the Eastbourne final to go into Wimbledon confident of a run to at least the fourth round. Young talents Nick Kyrgios and Jiri Vesely were given wildcards for their first main draw at SW19. Vesely comes into the event with no grass tournament preparation while Kyrgios won Nottingham-2 as a qualifier. Gael Monfils has never advanced past the third round at Wimbledon but has not played since 2011. Monfils leads the head to head with Gasquet 6-4 but they have not yet played on grass.
Pressure will be on Milos Raonic to deliver this year with his 8th seed position but many of the weaknesses in his grass game from last year showed in Halle still when he lost to Peter Gojowczyk. Raonic was outplayed by Igor Sijsling last year at this tournament, losing in straight sets as a heavy favourite. Opener Matthew Ebden has a grass title at Challenger level but lost both main draw matches on the surface last year. Lukasz Kubot made the quarter finals last year but will have a tough time matching his career best result even if Guillermo Garcia-Lopez is one of the weaker seeds he could meet in round two.
Sijsling plays a seed in Philipp Kohlschreiber to begin and will be confident given his 3-0 head to head record over the German 22nd seed. Four players who took part in qualifying surround them and Kei Nishikori who faces Kenny de Schepper. Nishikori should at least match his career best third round at Wimbledon and arguably better it if 100%. The Japanese broke into the top 10 last month only to fall out of it with a first round French Open exit.
SF: Andy Murray def. Novak Djokovic
SF: Rafael Nadal def. Roger Federer
F: Andy Murray def. Rafael Nadal