July is upon us and with it the third slam of the year as the pinnacle of the grass season begins on Monday. Defending champion Andy Murray will once again look to revive his flagging season owith the help of home advantage. The Wimbledon seeding formula sees Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer nudged up 2 spots apiece while World No.3 Stan Wawrinka falls out of the top 4 seeds.
Full draw here: Wimbledon men’s draw
Murray does actually come into the tournament as third favourite with a variety of oddsmakers despite his seeding and being defending champion. His projected run to the finals could see him renew rivalries with a number of players with whom he has had high profile matches on Centre Court with. After lucky loser Alexander Bublik in round one, a fun round two with Dustin Brown is possible. Nick Kyrgios has shown before that he can be a massive danger at Wimbledon and to the big 4 in general but between a recent loss of form and injury, his momentum has slowed greatly after a great hard court swing. He played 1 competitive match on the grass this year, retiring after losing a first set tie break to Donald Young at Queens. He played the tune up at Boodles this week, picking up 2 wins although that tells very little aside from him being fit enough to take to the court for an exhibition style match. Murray is the one big 4 member that has dealt with Kyrgios well on each occasion, going 5-0 against the Australian so far. Jerzy Janowicz worried Murray on his way to his first Wimbledon title but injuries have derailed his career while the other seed who could be a round 4 opponent is Lucas Pouille.
Stanislas Wawrinka is a Wimbledon away from a career slam but it feels like it will forever evade him with Wawrinka rarely looking much of a threat on the grass at Wimbledon. He also feels ripe for an upset with Daniil Medvedev one of the top unseeded players in the draw. The Russian has had a good grass season and gave Novak Djokovic a decent test in the Eastbourne semi final. Sam Querrey has a good chance of matching his 2016 run to the quarter finals with this section. The American opens against Thomas Fabbiano and will probably need to beat Jo Wilfried Tsonga to earn the projected meeting with Wawrinka. However, Tsonga was bounced out of the French Open in some style by Renzo Olivo and fared no better when it came to the grass, going 1-1 with the loss coming against Gilles Muller at Queens.
Rafael Nadal hasn’t felt like a contender at Wimbledon for a long time, with injuries and early exits the story of his past 5 years. He comes in with a very legitimate chance if he can avoid an early exit where the courts are less to his liking than in the second week after wear and tear. He can’t take the official No.1 rankings but can extend his already lengthy lead in the race rankings with a deep run/the title. The earliest trouble for Nadal looks like round three where Karen Khachanov awaits. The Russian is at a career high ranking right now and has a perfect opportunity to further add to that were he to get past Nadal. Khachanov tested Federer earlier in the month in Halle, losing in two tight sets. Despite both players constantly doing well in best of three grass tournaments, Gilles Muller and Ivo Karlovic are nearly always found wanting when it comes to Wimbledon. The pair, who are possible seeded opponents in round four for Nadal, have a best performance of round three and the quarter finals respectively.
Queens runner up Marin Cilic is back to his career high ranking of No.6 but would need to win the tournament to get any higher. In theory, he could make 3rd although that would coincide with early exits for Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka all at the same time. A 14th career meeting with Kei Nishikori looks likely, with Cilic down 6-7 and one of those wins being a 6-1 5-1 ret. against him at this tournament last year. A fully fit Cilic against Nadal intrigues in the quarter finals although the head to head does not make pretty reading as expected, Nadal currently leading it 4-1.
Looking a new man in 2017 and hoping to add to his now 18 grand slam titles, Roger Federer is probably the fair favourite to take the Wimbledon title. His draw though could be nicer though with some interesting matchups on his way to the expected semi final against Novak Djokovic. 2014 semi finalist Grigor Dimitrov and John Isner are the likely 4th round opponents while the threat of Mischa Zverev would be much greater to Federer were this match being played in the previous era. Like many of the monster servers on tour, Wimbledon hasn’t been the stomping ground it would be for players like Isner. The American has lost in the third round three years running and the most likely outcome once more seems to be this. Last year’s losing finalist Milos Raonic beat Federer on his way there last year and will need to do so again to repeat his efforts of 2016. The Canadian should make it through this section but it will be intriguing to see how the Andrey Rublev competes against him in round three. The highly touted Russian is now in the top 100 and looks more ready to compete on tour these days. From the same juniors generation as Rublev, 10th seed Alexander Zverev made the final of Halle last week but was outclassed when it came to the final, winning just four games against Federer.
Novak Djokovic took the drastic step of playing a warm up tournament the week before Wimbledon, something rarely done by the top male players. He is the overwhelming favourite in the final and should be full of confidence before going into the slam he has won 3 times, most recently in 2015. He needs a good slam result here, in reality a title, if he wants a chance of regaining the No. 1 spot that he held for a long time before losing it late last year. His combined record of a 2R-QF so far at the biggest events of the year is his worst since 2006, only his second full year of playing slams on the tour. The first two rounds should allow him to ease into the tournament before a projected third rounder with Juan Martin Del Potro. The Argentinean looks unlikely to match his career best of a semi final but a win over an opponent he has troubled this year would change a lot of things in the draw. Del Potro begins his tournament against Thanasi Kokkinakis. The Australian has also suffered awful injury luck in his career but showcased his talent at Queens when he defeated Milos Raonic.
Feliciano Lopez has always looked dangerous on grass and his Queens title showcased his talents but he has often flattered to deceive at SW19, his best run being a quarter final. This happened on three occasions, most recently in 2011. Gael Monfils has yet to make a fourth round at Wimbledon but his Eastbourne run to the final puts him in good shape to change that. If he falls early, it potentially gives home hope Kyle Edmund the chance to thrive on the biggest stage. Tomas Berdych will be sick of the sight of Feliciano Lopez having lost both his grass court matches to the Spaniard this year, with a potential quarter final to boot if both make it that far. The 2010 finalist will fancy his chances with two of the seeds in his way looking decidedly week on grass – Dominic Thiem and Paolo Lorenzi. The other will be Richard Gasquet, a two time semi finalist. The Frenchman made two semi finals this grass season, losing to Alexander Zverev and Gael Monfils respectively.
SF: Andy Murray def. Rafael Nadal
SF: Roger Federer def. Novak Djokovic
F: Roger Federer def. Andy Murray