With the backdrop of a historic day in the UK, the Wimbledon draw was released a short while ago. All eyes are on top seed and 2-time defending champion Novak Djokovic who continues his march toward a Calendar Slam. Former champion Andy Murray is always in the spotlight in his home event and what do we make of aging Roger Federer’s chances for an 8th Wimbledon title? The draw says:
Novak Djokovic Quarter
Awaiting Novak is a pair of Brits early on – James Ward then Kyle Edmund – before a semi-tricky test with Sam Querrey or Lukas Rosol. Maybe Phil Kohlschreiber in the fourth round before Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals. Raonic will have either Kevin Anderson or David Goffin to deal with in the fourth, otherwise there’s not much worry for the Canadian before Monday. Novak maybe drops a set, maybe two (to Querrey and Kohlschreiber), but I don’t see anyone major roadblock. And I don’t think Raonic poses a major threat, either.
The pick: Djokovic
Roger Federer Quarter
Throw out what’s happened thus far this season because this is Federer’s best Slam. His best chance. The 7-time champ hasn’t won here since 2012 but he’s made the finals the last two years and I think he gets to the last weekend once again. I know he’s been injured and hasn’t won any big titles, but in best-of-5 on his favorite court he’s going to be a tough out – though he’s more vulnerable than ever. And there’s not a lot of danger in his section. Alex Dolgopolov? Maybe Gael Monfils in the fourth round? Marin Cilic or Kei Nishikori in the quarters (if they get there)? Cilic and Nishikori will have to deal with Karlovic who is in there and Kei opens against another big server in Groth. So in the end I think Federer gets through Cilic to book another trip to the semifinals.
The pick: Federer
Stan Wawrinka Quarter
The most wide open section includes Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych, Dominic Thiem, Alex Zverev, Bernard Tomic and Juan Martin Del Potro. And it’s filled with questions. Stan’s had his struggles and grass isn’t his best surface. Berdych is a former finalist, but we haven’t heard much from the Czech of late. Is Zverev too young? Can Thiem adapt on the grass? Tomic might not make it past Fernando Verdasco in the first round. And does Delpo really have a run left in him? Of the group, I think it comes down to the Wawrinka/Delpo winner and Thiem/Zverev. Oh to heck with it, I’ll go with the teen Zverev to take advantage and make the break through! It’s gotta happen, so why not now? And the kid just beat Roger.
The pick: Zverev
Andy Murray Quarter
At first glance, it’s maybe the easiest quarter with just Murray having any sort of Grand Slam pedigree. But Richard Gasquet, John Isner, Viktor Troicki, JW Tsonga, Nick Kyrgios and Feliciano Lopez are all in there. Plus, Isner faces former Wimbledon semifinalist Marcos Baghdatis and Kyrgios collides with Radek Stepanek. But when the dust settles, in two tough wins I think Murray beats Kyrgios then takes out Gasquet in the quarters.
The pick: Murray
Djokovic d Federer: Playing in SF maybe helps Roger, but it won’t matter much in the end.
Murray d Zverev: Experience over youth here.
Djokovic d Murray: Yawn! Novak is just on too much of a roll against his friend. But this is Murray’s best chance.
Overall, top half is much stronger than the bottom with Djokovic, Federer, Raonic, Nishikori. And there are so many questionable players right now. Outside of Djokovic and Murray, can you put much faith in Wawrinka, Berdych, Nishikori, Tsonga, Gasquet or even Delpo and Raonic?
So this is really a 2-man tournament between Djokovic and Murray. Maybe someone can shake that up, but right now I don’t see it. And Novak moves closer to history…
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