By Ros Satar

  • Roger Federer looks to win his 21st Grand Slam title as he returns as the defending champion
  • Top Seeds: Roger Federer. Rafael Nadal, Marin Cilic, Alexander Zverev
  • British Interest: Kyle Edmund [22], Andy Murray, Cameron Norrie, Liam Broady [WC], Jay Clarke [WC]
LONDON, UK – Roger Federer returns as the defending champion, seeking a 21st Grand Slam title, having won defended his Australian Open title at the start of the year.

 

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[1] Roger Federer

Regardless of whether you believe he is the greatest male player of all time, grass has been his domain, and in his run up, he won the title in Stuttgart, and reached the final of Halle, so all in all his grass court preparation as been pretty solid.

However, with the return of Novak Djokovic to form, perhaps the Serbian is the best challenger for the title this year.

 

Federer’s Path to the Final (Rankling/Seeding)
  • R1: Dusan Lajovic | Federer leads H2H 1-0
  • R2: Lukas Lacko | Federer leads H2H 2-0
  • R3: Leonardo Mayer [32] | Federer leads H2H 2-0
  • R4: Borna Coric [16] | Federer leads H2H 1-0
  • QF: Kevin Anderson [8] | Federer leads H2H 4-0
  • SF: Marin Cilic [3] | Federer leads H2H 9-1
  • F: Rafael Nadal [2] | Nadal leads 23-15

 

It certainly looks like a decent draw for the defending champion on paper, with a couple of wrinkles. Borna Coric claimed his one win over Federer in Halle but in five sets, you would have to give the edge to Federer, should they meet in the fourth round.

Of course, all eyes are drawn to a potential final against Rafael Nadal, and although Nadal has a significant edge over Federer in their head to head, Federer has beaten him in two Wimbledon finals before famously losing to him in an epic final in 2008.

 

[2] Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal in the first round of Roland Garros, 2018

Rafael Nadal in the first round of Roland Garros, 2018 | (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

After an emotional 11th win at Roland Garros (surprisingly more emotional that for La Decima), Nadal pulled out of Queen’s once more and preferred to do his practice in front of the crowds at Mallorca that same week.

With a little spin at the Hurlingham Club and some practice at the All England Club, Nadal will certainly be hoping for a slightly better run than just the fourth round.

 

Nadal’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Dudi Sela | Nadal leads H2H 2-0
  • R2: Mikhail Kukushkin | Nadal leads H2H 3-0
  • R3: Marco Cecchinato [29] | First Meeting
  • R4: Diego Schwartzman [14] | Nadal leads H2H 6-0
  • QF: Juan Martin Del Potro [5] | Nadal leads 10-5
  • SF: Dominic Thiem [7] | Nadal leads H2H 7-3
  • F: Roger Federer [1] | Nadal leads 23-15

 

On paper, Nadal looks to have a great section of the draw with his third and fourth round opponents not being renowned for their love of the grass. Marco Cecchinato broke his duck with the grass this year having reached the Eastbourne semi-final (at the time of writing) and Diego Schwartzman (seeded No. 14) will do well to make it to a fourth round clash on the turf, having gone a career 0-7 this far.

With the benefit of playing himself into form, Nadal ought to at least better last year’s fourth round appearance, but would he fall short if he reached the final?

 

[3] Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic in the second round of Roland Garros, 2018

Marin Cilic in the second round of Roland Garros, 2018 | (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

The Queen’s champion had to earn his win but maybe more importantly at the back of his mind was not being able to play at the best of his ability after picking up nasty blisters and tearfully struggling through the Wimbledon final.

Cilic will probably do what he always does, which is to fly well under the radar for much of the first week, and it seems to be a trait that suits him.

 

Cilic’s Path to the Final (Rankling/Seeding)

  • R1: Yoshihito Nishioka | First Meeting
  • R2: Guido Pella | Cilic leads H2H 1-0
  • R3: Filip Krajinovic [28] | Cilic leads H2H 1-0
  • R4: Milos Raonic [13] | Cilic leads H2H 2-1
  • QF: Grigor Dimitrov [6] | Cilic leads H2H 3-1
  • SF: Roger Federer [1] | Federer leads H2H 9-1
  • F: Rafael Nadal [2] Nadal leads H2H 5-2

 

In reality Cilic’s draw could well open up – Milos Raonic in the third round Grigor Dimitrov as a potential fourth round may not materialise as the Bulgarian has drawn the returning Stan Wawrinka in the first round, and Raonic has struggled to get through tournaments consistently with his endless bad luck of injuries.

 

[4] Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev in the quarter-final of Roland Garros, 2018

Alexander Zverev in the quarter-final of Roland Garros, 2018 | (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Now that Zverev has finally broken his second-week duck at Grand Slams, can he make some headway at Wimbledon? His grass season was halting, to say the least falling in the first round of Halle to the eventual champion Coric, and taking in some exhibition fun tennis at The Boodles.

 

Zverev’s Path to the Final (Rankling/Seeding)

  • R1: James Duckworth | First Meeting
  • R2: Taylor Fritz | Zverev leads H2H 1-0
  • R3: Damir Dzumhur [27] | H2H tied at 1-1
  • R4: Nick Kyrgios [15] | H2H tied at 3-3
  • QF: Dominic Thiem [7] | Thiem leads H2H 5-2
  • SF: Rafael Nadal [2] | Nadal leads H2H 5-0
  • F: Roger Federer [1] | Federer leads H2H 3-2

 

This surface should suit the German, and he ought to fancy his chances of making his second straight quarter-final in a row in Slams although if he and Nick Kyrgios both make the fourth round, the Aussie has looked dangerous, but of course it all depends on which Kygrios turns up.

Wimbledon takes place between 2-15 July.

 

POLL: Who will win the Wimbledon 2018 Gentlemen’s Singles Title?

 

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