Seeded No.1 and gunning for a record-extending ninth Wimbledon trophy, Roger Federer can be pleased with the draw he has been handed. The 36-year-old Swiss opens his campaign against Serb world No.57 Dusan Lajovic, who lost to Federer in the Wimbledon second round last year. The first seed Federer could take on No.32 Leonardo Mayer in the second round, who has lost both his matches against the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
A tricky test possibly awaits Federer in the fourth round against No.16 seed Borna Coric, who was the victor in the Halle final, but it’s worth nothing that the young Croat has won just one match at the All England Club in three previous appearances. Federer has 91 wins to 11 losses at Wimbledon in comparison.
With a 4-0 winning record against possible quarter-final opponent Kevin Anderson, it appears Federer could have a smooth path to the semi-finals, where a potential blockbuster against No.3 seed Marin Cilic could materialise.
This could very much be the year Rafa Nadal finally recaptures his former glory at Wimbledon as he’s been given a draw that steers him clear from many of the power-serving, huge-hitting opponents who have troubled him at the All England Club in recent years.
The first seed he could face is Italian Marco Cecchinato, whose ranking was given a major boost by making the semi-finals at Roland Garros earlier this month and is admittedly not at his best on grass. Diego Schwartzman or Fabio Fognini could play Nadal in the fourth round, while Juan Martin Del Potro or Davin Goffin are the highest seeds he could square off against in the quarter-finals.
The likes of Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic, Kevin Anderson, Sam Querrey and many other unwanted opponents for Nadal are all in the other half of the draw.
Seeded No. 25, the American seven-time Wimbledon champion was slated to face a top-eight seed in the third round and that seed turned out to be No. 5 Elina Svitolina. The Ukrainian has an average 50 per cent winning record at Wimbledon (5-5 win-loss) and grass is not her best surface. While Svitolina has defeated Serena Williams in the past – notably at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – the 23-time Grand Slam champion can feel confident about her chances through the first few rounds in south-west London.
Madison Keys could be a possible landmine for Williams in the fourth round before potential quarter-finals against the likes of Caroline Wozniacki and CoCo Vandeweghe.
Williams avoided grass favourites like two-time winner Petra Kvitova and defending champion Gabrine Muguruza, who are both on the other side of the draw.
The Spanish title holder has some tricky opponents in her path but can still feel confident about her chances. British wild card Naomi Broady is up first for Muguruza and No.28 Anett Kontaveit is the first seed in her way in round three. Daria Kasatkina and Ashleign Barty are both players who can trouble her in the fourth round but Muguruza is more experienced at this level and this tournament, while two-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber could prove to be a huge challenge in the quarter-finals. But Muguruza has won her last five meetings against Kerber, including two triumphs at Wimbledon.
The draw gods have not been too kind to Andy Murry who will need to be at his running best to counter the variety and unpredictability of his first-round opponent Benoit Paire. The creative Frenchman, who forced Federer to save two match points in the second round at Halle last week, is hardly the kind of player one would want to face after months of recovery from hip surgery.
If Murray passes his first hurdle, either Jeremy Chardy or No. 26 seed Denis Shapovalov await in the second round. Chardy has won 12 of 14 grass court matches contested this month (won the Surbiton Challenger, final in s-Hertogenbosch, semi-finals at Queen’s), while Shapovalov is a fearless, teenage lefty who has wins over the likes of Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro. Murray will certainly have no time to ease into the fortnight.
After drawing Murray in the first round in Eastbourne this week, Stan Warwinka’s luck did not get any better as he was paired with No.6 seed Grigor Dimitrov for his opener at Wimbledon. Yet to hit his top form ever since he returned from double knee surgery this season, Wawrinka has his work cut out for him from the get-go.
For someone who has plenty of weapons to cause some serious damage on grass, Karolina Pliskova has never made it past the second round at Wimbledon and has lost in that stage on each of her last five visits here. The No.7 seed might struggle to improve on her record at the tournament with ex-world No.1 Victoria Azarenka lurking as a potential second round opponent for her next week.
Birmingham semi-finalist Mihaela Buzarnescu is the first seed Pliskova could face, in the third round, before a possible showdown with last year’s runner-up and five-time Wimbledon champion in the fourth round.
The Russian No.24 seed, Maria Sharapova, is back at Wimbledon for the first time since 2015 but will need to dig deep if she wants to replicate her semi-final performance from three years ago.
After the first round against her compatriot, qualifier Vitalia Diatchenko, Sharapova could face gritty Greek Maria Sakkari in her second match. Former Roland-Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko is a possible third round while title contender Kvitova potentially awaits in the last-16.
Meanwhile India’s top singles player Yuki Bhambri also has been handed tough draw and will his meet old nemesis Thomas Fabbiano in his Wimbledon opener and as many as six Indians will feature in the doubles main draw at the grass court Major.
Bhambri has clashed with the Italian thrice but does not have encouraging results, having lost to him on all occasions.
The last time they met was at the Nottingham Challenger event in 2017. In fact, Yuki, ranked 85th, has managed to take only a set from Fabbiano, ranked 121, but the Indian is in tremendous form and is keen to change the stats.
“It’s difficult one. Hope, I can change the result this time,” Yuki said talking to PTI.
In the doubles, probably for first time six players are featuring in the men’s doubles with Grand Slam debutants Vishnu Vardhan and Sriram Balaji to open their campaign against Wesley Koolhof and Marcus Daniell.
Rohan Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin, seeded 12th, are up against Alex De Minaur and John Millman.
Purav Raja and Fabrice Martin will take on Dusan Lajovic and Mirza Basic.
The left-handed Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, playing at Wimbledon for the second year in a row, with American partner Austin Krajicek, have been drawn to meet Sander Arends and Matwe Middelkoop.
Divij Sharan and his Kiwi partner Artem Sitak will take on Radu Albot and Malek Jaziri.