Men’s Preview: Djokovic, Nadal Resume Chase For Federer At Wimbledon

by Sean Randall | June 28th, 2019, 12:46 pm

The Wimbledon draw is out, the big interest was in which half would the “downgraded” No. 3 seed Rafael Nadal land and it turns out to be with Roger Federer.

But the bigger story at Wimbledon is Nadal and Novak Djokovic’s chase for Federer’s 20. The two have split this year’s two Slams and overall have won the last five.

Following his French win, Nadal is now just two behind Federer and Djokovic is only five off pace. If Federer doesn’t take this title, one of them probably will and narrow the gap further. After analyzing the draw, that’s how it looks.

Djokovic begins his title defense against veteran Phil Kohlschreiber. The German can be a tough customer, especially on grass, so it should be a good test, but Phil’s best days are well behind him. Novak should cruise out to the fourth round where he could meet Canadian prodigy Felix Auger-Aliassime who I don’t think is ready yet to pull that level of an upset in a best-of-5. In the quarters it’s probably going to be Stefanos Tsitsipas. Grass might not be the Greek’s favorite surface and he’s in some danger with Ivo Karlovic in the second round, Kyle Edmund in the third and then David Goffin (or Daniil Medvedev in fourth). I think Tsitsipas’s moxie gets him out to the meeting with Novak, but the Serb is too good. The 18-year-old FAA is going to be fun to watch as he takes on countryman Vasek Pospisil and then Grigor Dimitrov, both of whom have had good results on the grass. And we’ll see if Andre Agassi can turn around the floundering Dimitrov – what’s happened to him since winning the ATP Finals?
The Pick: Novak Djokovic

Back where he made the finals a year ago, Kevin Anderson continues his return from an elbow injury that forced him out of the clay season. In this Big Man Quarter, Anderson is joined by Alexander Zverev, Milos Raonic and Karen Khachanov as the top seeds. Stan Wawrinka, Benoit Pare and Roberto Bautista Agut also figure in this wide open section that has no true, consensus favorite. Anderson is a question mark with his lack of play, Zverev hasn’t impressed, Raonic has been injured, Khachanov has been up and down and Wawrinka doesn’t play his best on the grass. So could someone like the giant Reilly Opelka get hot? Maybe Queen’s champ Feliciano Lopez keeps his run going? Nicolas Jarry? This is hard to pick. I’ll say Anderson, because his draw is too good, plays his way back into form, gets out to the fourth round, beats Opelka then loses in the quarters to…Khachanov. I think the Russian takes down RBA then upsets Zverev to make the last eight. But in this section, any one of 10 could make it out.
The Pick: Karen Khachanov

I know Nadal moaned a bit about his seeding, but then he and Uncle Toni should have done the math and played a lead-up event like Federer did. He chose not to, not the end of the world. Nadal’s got a manageable section though there are some landmines, but are they activated? He’ll open with Yuichi Sugita, then perhaps Nick Kyrgios (who could very well lose to Jordan Thompson in the first round), followed by JW Tsonga or Denis Shapovalov with Marin Cilic or Dominic Thiem in the quarters. If Kyrgios plays his game, he could certainly give Nadal problems (again), but he’s got to beat Thompson first which is no given. Shapovalov doesn’t worry as much as a Tsonga, though JW is also well off his highs. Thiem shouldn’t be an issue but Cilic can be if he’s on song. The Croat, though, has been one of the biggest busts of the season. So on paper, yeah, it’s tough, but the reality is Krgios and Cilic are not in form and Thiem isn’t at home on God’s green earth. And with three weeks of rest after the French, Rafa should be fit and ready for a big Wimbledon run.
The Pick: Rafael Nadal

Lucas Pouille? Borna Coric? John Isner? Those are Federer’s likely foes en route to the semifinals. Coric is the one guy Roger should worry about because the Croat has given him problems in the past. Though Borna hasn’t been playing his best of late. Isner is also returning off a foot fracture which makes him a big question mark. John opens with a good match against the young Casper Ruud. If Isner can avoid 5-set matches and the serve is pumping, he’s got a decent draw with the intriguing Matteo Berrettini in the third (Berrettini-Fritz could be a good second rounder), then maybe Nishikori in the fourth. Vets like Richard Gasquet, the retiring Marcos Baghdatis and the returning Tomas Berdych are also in there, but more for the story than the result. So other than Coric and maybe if Berrettini can get out there, I don’t think anyone can take down Federer.
The Pick: Roger Federer

Djokovic d Khachanov: Karen makes his first Slam semi while Djokovic returns to the final.
Nadal d Federer: If the roof is open and the weather is warm and dry, Rafa wins. If the roof is closed, Federer should win.

Djokovic d Nadal: The final we should have had in Paris, we get in London and Djokovic beats him again.

At some point, picking Federer, Djokovic and Nadal at every Grand Slam is going to stop. The timer on the clock – at least for Federer and Nadal – has to run out. And it will. It’s just so ridiculous that these same guys are still on top and still miles ahead of everyone.

Looking at the draw, it’s awfully difficult to pick against them. And with grass still being a specialized surface, I just think that makes it tougher for a young, less experienced player to make a big run.

Also, many guys like Anderson, Isner, Raonic, etc, who are more than capable of going far, come in this year with injury concerns. So it dilutes the true number of contenders and number of players that can pull off a big win.

In saying all that, if it does turn out the Big 3 make the semifinals, that will be historic because I think that will be the last time that happens in a Slam. So this is it!

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31 Comments for Men’s Preview: Djokovic, Nadal Resume Chase For Federer At Wimbledon

Daniel Says:

Don’t think Nadal beats Fed in Wimbledon now. He was on a 7 sets losing streak on HC (5 straight matches) and it need clay and hurricane on Chatrier for Nadal to prevail.

If he gets that far, Fed should be favorite, regardless of roof or not.

Also I doubt Nadal reaches finals fresh, last year he played 5 sets with DelPo in QF and facing Kyrgios / Tsonga (who may not be what he was but his serve was clicking in Halle) / Cilic he will lose sets. Fed otoh may arrive super fresh if Coric doesn’t trouble him.

I am bet Fed is eager to face Nadla on clay again after that 2008 finals more than a decade ago.

But agree, if somehow is raining and roof is close Fed wins!

RZ Says:

Bracket is up:
(URL says 2018 but it’s updated for 2019)
You have until Monday before start of play to make your picks.

Good luck all!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Daniel, by the end of the second week, Wimbledon is more dirt than grass. Rafa will be extremely tough if he makes it out of the first week.

We have three favourites, and they each have some toughies in their path: Novak has Kohls and FAA.
Rafa has Kyrgios. (I doubt Cilic makes it that far, but if he does, add him).
Fed has Coric who beat him on grass last year.

So, while the tournament will probably be quite boring for the first week, there are a few matches to keep us guessing.

The Anderson quarter is really interesting. My pick is Raonic, but I think Wawrinka has a good shot as well. He seems to be hungry and improving steadily.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

First round looks like a snooze fest, other than Novak/Kohls. Tiafoe/ Fognini could be good.

2nd round, look for Rafa/ Kyrgios; Tsonga/ Shapovalov (though Shapo has been very weak this season); FAA/ Dmitrov

Third: Raonic/ Wawrinka; Shapo or Tsonga/ Nadal

That’s a thin first week! We need some better second and third tier players!

Kimberly O'Mahony Says:

Going to pick mybracket now ive got to redeem myself. I bombed the French open bracket and I picked Nadal to win shows how bad the rest of my picks were.

My mom who doesn’t know much won the whole things just by picking with seeds. So all my watching clay court tennis failed to pay off for me! Fognini Verdasco and Tsispas sank me. ANd Zverev did way better than I thought.

Daniel Says:


Let’s see ref Nadal, vs Fed. With Federer serve and expertise on grass (plus his winning a lot this season) I think how he is playing he is favored on a fast low bouncing court Nadal can’t defend as on clay and he doesn’t have that 2008 edge he had back them (winning MC and hammering him in RG).

Also have a feeling ref Wawa and picked him for semis in my bracket.
Djoko x Wawa and Fed x Nadal should be the dream semis right now.

j-kath Says:

Amazing that Doko/Wawa/Fed & Rafa are more or less still looking like “winners” and the possibility of a young player is not expected to be in the same winning category. If I were one of the youthful clan I’d be p-ssed-off and secretly wondering “when is that lot going to retire?” Personally I’m delighted the veterans are still going strong. However, the law of averages suggest that one of the Young players will reach the semis – and do some damage: Tsit-sip? or A-Auger (the young Canadian)?

Tennis lover Says:

Nadal in the final that fucking ain’t gonna happen. Nadal will succumb in early round, this is wimbledon not fucking Roland Garros

tennismonger Says:

I’m pulling for WaWa in that Anderson quarter as well. It would be amazing if he could pull off a career slam here. He’s got the goods but he’ll need a little bottled lightning to go all the way.

John Says:

Don’t forget Roger’s record against Rafa.Rafa as always been a thorn in Roger’s side.He has won almost twice as many matches against Roger as opposed to the other way around.Also,Rafa beat Roger in the Wimbledon finals in a 5 set match but,granted,that was several years ago.Rafa is my fav and I always pick him to win even though sometimes it is with my heart and not my head.Like I always say-Rafa is a BEAST!

Kimberly Says:

Really strong showing on thebbracket challenge so far I’ve got my husband my son my mother and two pros from my club picking so all u tennis sets join in! We copied AM with the last name but check it out!

Madmax Says:

Cake walk Draws for Rafa.

What a joke the FO draw was for him, eh Giles? Looks like US Open cakewalks aren’t enough anymore. Check it out and read the facts before your very eyes. Problem is, you don’t understand facts when they are dished up and served. You like to believe your own alternative facts. Make for a more riveting news story.

rajesh Says:

Best of luck to all bracket participants

j-kath Says:

Madmax: Note that Kimberely is around – perhaps she can answer your Margot questions??????????

ronn Says:

While my boy Djoko is a favorite to win this again and certainly can, defending Wimbledon is hard. And historically speaking, few people have done it. Not to jinx my boy, but grass really isn’t his best surface so he’ll have to be careful in the early rounds. I’m more worried about him having a bad day and losing in the first week than anything else, but if he meets Rafa or Roger in the semis or finals I’m not worried at all as Djoko has both of their numbers at this point at MAJORS with the only exception being Rafa on clay.

Giles Says:

Madmax. The only joke here is YOU. Stop trolling me!!

Giles Says:

“The ole man” says he feels young again. LMAO
Proof he’s still on the pills.

SKeezer Says:
Yeah step down already and bring Fed back in and get sh,t done. Nothing but Djoking chaos since this guy took over for the players.

Giles Says:

Fed WAS there. Why did he step down? Preferred to chase $$$$ and trophies no less.

senorita Says:

People go on about Federer’s expertise on grass. In the last 10 years he has only won it 3 times.

RZ Says:

Don’t forget to make your picks for the bracket if you wanted to join. Get them in before play begins on Monday.
(URL says 2018 but it’s updated for 2019)

RZ Says:

BTW, the bracket has a new “Quick Picks” option with random picks. It gave me Berankis def. Gunnaswaran in the final. Um, can’t see that happening.

Kimberly Says:

I think we will see some very diverse brackets this time unlike last time where over 75 percent of the participants chose Rafa to wjnn

Andy Mira Says:

RZ….Hey..i am puzzling bout something…In Racquet Bracket,it says Baghdatis/Struff,Berretini/Albot…while Bedene still got Coric(we know Coric already pulled out right?)…

But in Tennis Draw Challenge it’s different…it’s Struff/Albot,Berretini/Bedene..while Baghdatis got lucky loser Brayden Schnur…which one is right RZ?Coz i think Baghdatis match could give a different result with different opponents there…Thank u!

Daniel Says:


Indeed, Coric out. So its Berretini/Bedene. And Baggy not playing Struf either.

I suggets pick the bracket with the official Wimbledon draw open in a different tab and pick the players you won’t as per official draw in the same “position” in tourneytopia draw challenge. Only way to preserve the picks you want, even with different players. Eventually the site will update.

I for example had Corin reaching R16 versus Fed, but now I changed it to Krajinovic. Also now have Baggy winning 2 rounds because he is playing players I never heard of.

Andy Mira Says:

But Daniel…if Baghdatis win his 1st match,he potentially meet with Berretini in 2nd rd…and Berretini is in hot form on grass too after won Stuttgart couple of weeks ago….and i still scratching my head over the Bracket!hahaha..

Andy Mira Says:

Kimberly…After check the Bracket,now i know what u mean when u said u guys copied AM’s last name!…Hahahahaohohohoho!!…U guys r ROOOOCCCCKKKKK!!!!


RZ Says:

Hi AM and Daniel, unfortunately Tourneytopia never updated the bracket to reflect Coric’s withdrawal, which is annoying for all of us as it affects not just that section but also where the other guys who were moved as a result ended up. At least this is the case for all users, but still annoying.

Andy Mira Says:

Yeah RZ!…Really annoying!…For Bracketeers who didn’t know the players switched places must be pi#%ed bcoz it maybe will cost us many points for the next couple of rounds at least…

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