The 2017 edition of Wimbledon starts in a couple of days, with many storylines wrapped around how the upcoming 2 weeks shall transpire. Sportwalk analyzes the Wimbledon ’17 Draw, weighing up on the draws of the top seeds and possible early-round blockbusters.
Tricky Draw For Murray
Let’s start with our top seed and defending champion, Andy Murray. Murray hasn’t been showing great signs of late on the grass, getting thumped by Jordan Thompson at Queen’s. But this is a player whose season was in ruins a month ago, and he did manage to reinvigorate himself in Paris. So we’d rather not count Sir Andy out yet.
Talking of ruins, that’s exactly how Murray’s draw looks like right now. In the 2nd Round, the dangerously vibrant Dustin Brown awaits. Brown was 2015 Wimbledon’s sensation as he dived and dropped his way into humbling Rafael Nadal in the 2nd Round. Murray will be facing the brunt of a humiliation alike if he’s not in his zone vs the Jamaican. Up next, he could face either the volatile Fabio Fognini or Jiri Vesely who are both top-notch players fully capable of pledging Murray some troubles. His path can only get harder as either Nick Kyrgios or Lucas Pouille await in 4th Round, both of them being adroit players having had their career highs at this very tournament. Should he storm past all this, he could face either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Stan Wawrinka, which should prove to be quite a litmus test for the Brit. Murray should be cursing the draw gods right now, it’s a darn difficult draw given that he’s eyeing rejuvenation on his home turf. But if Murray enters Wimbledon with half the determination we saw him sheathed with last season, the rejuvenation that he has sought after for so long shall be his.
Another Early Exit for Nadal?
Rafael Nadal’s grass expedition both in terms of rejuvenation and the path of that rejuvenation reads similar to that of Murray, though the rejuvenation he looks for pans out into his bum grass-court form. About the path, his draw looks just as tough as Murray’s, if not tougher.
In the 2nd Round he could face Denis Istomin in what might prove to be a no-holds-barred big match. Anyone who doubts thus should rewind to January this year, maybe then they’ll have an epiphany about what Istomin is capable of in big matches. Moreover, Istomin is a solid player on grass and has reached 2nd Week of Wimbledon 2 times in his career so far. Should Nadal scrape past the bespectacled Uzbek, big-hitter Khachanov awaits somebody who troubled Federer at Halle the previous week. The Russian renascence of Marat Safin has an explosive game, where he crushes anything that comes on any wing, but we digress the youngster is a little inexperienced on Grass, Wimbledon being his 2nd main draw appearance on the grass. If Rafa makes it past this challenge, he’ll face Müller, who’s having a career-best season this year and has a game more suited for grass than a needle is for embroidery. Also, it’s noteworthy that Müller was the one who defeated Nadal before he became a Grass-court veteran. Quite tough to pass him. But, if Rafa struts past these 3 landmines, a far more difficult opponent awaits in the quarterfinals, Marin Cilic. Reaching 2nd week should let alone be an achievement for Rafa (considering 1st week’s grass will be faster and slicker thus pledging problems for Rafa’s knees), but winning the title with such bum knees on a low-bounce surface like this is over-ambitious. Over-ambition killed Macbeth. Will it kill Rafa’s hopes of triumphing at SW ’19, too?
1st Round Blockbusters:
Kyrgios vs Herbert
Shapovalov vs Janowicz
Anderson vs Verdasco
Medvedev vs Wawrinka
Stakhovsky vs Benneteau
Cilic vs Kohlscreiber
Potential 2nd Round Blockbusters:
Murray vs Brown
Shapovalaov/Janowicz vs Pouille
Nadal vs Istomin
Rosol vs Müller
A Not-So-Tough Draw for Djokovic
Think of the term “Easy Draw” at Grand Slam events. Which player springs into your mind? We bet our house that it’s The Serbinator who comes to mind instantly. But things might turn awkward for the former world no. 1 given the form he’s been in, lately.
In his opener, Djokovic faces Klizan. Klizan looks like a tough opponent but that’s only on paper, Klizan doesn’t actually possess the savoir faire required for Grass. Thus, a harmless prospect for Djokovic, same applies for the 2nd round as he can face Ernesto Escobedo. In the 3rd round, he could face his pal and cynosure-to-all-eyes Del Potro, but given that DelPo hasn’t shown both the fitness and the blitz form that he showed last year; Djokovic shouldn’t worry much. Now from the 4th round the real labor starts as he might have to plough away the Whizz of Grass a.k.a Feliciano Lopez. Lopez has discovered a rich vein of form after almost a year of disappointing results, as he trekked past 4 Top 15 Players en-route Queen’s Club title last week. Djokovic will have to be in his absolute best disposition if he wants to advance further. However here’s the good news, the road somehow gets better for Djokovic once he’s past the skilled Spaniard as he could mostly face Thiem, Berdych or Gasquet in the Quarterfinals. Thiem’s form on Grass looks substandard if one reads into it; whereas Berdych/Gasquet despite having boundless prowess on Grass, the two also are mentally unreliable at such a stage. It should be a plain sail for Djokovic given he has shown great prowess as a Grass-Court player. In the Semis lies the Serb’s biggest challenge, the biggest test to check whether the Old Djokovic is back yet, à la Roger Federer. Looking at the form the Swiss Maestro depicted at Halle, Djokovic will have an uphill task in his hands as he bids for a 4th Wimbledon title. Though Djokovic did succeed in his conquest of Eastbourne an hour or two away from Wimbledon Park Road. See, that’s how close The Revitalized Serb is to Wimbledon, both literally and figuratively.
Bel19ve all too realistic for The Maestro?
Last but not the least, the favorite for the Men’s challenge at Wimbledon, Roger Federer. Federer seems to have been dealt a lukewarm draw which in no way should hurt his chances of a 19th Grand Slam on the lawns of SW ’19.
The first 2 rounds seem very tame for The Fed Express with a Lucky Loser and Dusan Lajovic standing in his way. 3rd Round can be tricky for him as he could face either Mischa Zverev or Bernard Tomic, a tough match-up if you ask me but if the feral Federer that we’ve seen so far this year (and not Federror) even this match-up seems innocuous. Once he’s into the 4th Round, he could be greeted by either the talented Grigor Dimitrov or the big-serving John Isner. Dimitrov seems lost since he won his home event Sofia Open back in February and Big John hasn’t really ever had a result that he could reminisce positively about (other than that marathon match vs Mahut, of course) when looking down a prospective meeting with a player of Roger’s artillery and stature on grass. So expect Roger to make it to the Quarterfinals unfazed, and that’s where his excursion really starts as he can face either his conqueror from last season i.e. Milos Raonic or the ever-competent Sascha Zverev. Federer will have to be in sublime form if he wants to prolong his stay in the tournament, a let-up here or there might end taxing him. Should Federer slice and dice his way into semifinals, he could face a reinvigorated Djokovic. Expect a bad-blooded showdown as Roger will have revenge on his mind for how 2014 and 2015 Finals transpired. A year ago or so, The Serbian would’ve had the better odds going into this match, but that’s what it is. A year ago, Federer was miserable and Djokovic was at a terrific juncture in his career. Today, the roles have been completely reversed and it’s Djokovic who will enter this match with slim chances. In the final, Fed could face anyone from Nadal, Cilic or Murray, that is how open the upper half seems but we put our chip on Nadal. Wimbledon 2008 Repeat on cards? Yes, please!
1st Round Blockbusters:
Isner vs Fritz
Mischa Zverev vs Tomic
Berdych vs Chardy
del Potro vs Kokkinakis
Potential 2nd Round Blockbusters:
Haase vs Alexander Zverev
Dimitrov vs Baghdatis
Federer vs Tsitsipas
Gulbis vs del Potro
As the Holy Grail of Tennis, the Wimbledon nears us; some questions are being erected. Who, from Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, and Wawrinka; will leave the AELTC as World No.1? Will Wawrinka be able to achieve the elusive Career Grand Slam? Will this year’s Wimbledon mark the rise of the grass-court virtuosos i.e. Lopez, the Zverevs, Müller, Mahut et al? Will Roger Federer BEL19VE at SW ’19, thereby winning a record 8th Wimbledon title? Excitement awaits.