By Ros Satar
- Defending Champion: Novak Djokovic
- Bids for a third straight title, and fourth overall
- Will the Lendl effect deny him?
LONDON, UK – Novak Djokovic lines up to continue his march towards a calendar slam now he has notched up his career Grand Slam.
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Top Quarter: Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic
Is it time for the ‘ATP Lost Boys’ Generation to finally claim (another) title? With the exception of Marin Cilic, the guys lined up to challenge the authority of the Big Five have never really staked their claim.
First up for Djokovic is Britain’s James Ward – the Brit finally achieved a milestone of cracking the Top 100 with his run to the third round of Wimbledon 2015, but his fortunes have been very much the opposite since then, dropping to 177 as he steadies himself to face the defending champion in the opening match.
Maybe he will even face Kyle Edmund in the second round,, should the battling Brit get past Adrian Mannarino, but in all honestly we see his first seeded opposition as Sam Querrey. The American has beaten him just once, and that was back in 2012.
While David Ferrer is the higher seed in the next section, his season has been pretty unremarkable by his previous standards, so it actually would not be a surprise to see someone else advance to the fourth round encounter.
At the other side of the bracket by rights we should look to see David Goffin get the better of Kevin Anderson, who is making his long journey back from injury, and Raonic’s form on grass has been mighty impressive.
Whether or not it is John McEnroe’s influence or not, the surface plays to Raonic’s strengths, but can he exist on big-serving alone? Andy Murray came back in fine style against him at Queen’s, and a lack of variety against a player like Djokovic might still cost him dear.
Second Quarter – Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori
Federer continues his bid for another slam, while any sight of a twinge of pain, or any frailty sees howls for his retirement.
Guido Pella has just one match on grass coming into Wimbledon – hardly the best preparation for mounting a charge against one of the best players of the game. The Swiss’ first seeded challenge will be Alexandr Dolgopolov who has yet to take a set off him.
Possibly having to play either Gael Monfils or Gilles Simon should not be an issue. He has a commanding lead over Monfils and has never faced him on grass, and has a single win over Simon on the surface.
At the other end of the bracket the ‘Lost Generation’ patriarchs Cilic, and Nishikori are set to do battle in the fourth round, but with Nishikori’s injury woes, maybe we should pencil in the Croatian in for a potential quarter-final clash.
Third Quarter – Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka
The real question we have is whether Thiem’s schedule, as he has risen up through the ATP rankings been too much? First up he has to face his conqueror in Halle, Florian Mayer once more, and that has been highlighted as a possible upset.
Then at the potential fourth round he will meet his fellow ATP Next Gen star Alexander Zverev or Tomas Berdych, and he might better fancy his chances against the former.
Having ousted Wawrinka in their first meeting, the Swiss has had the better of him since, and the young Austrian would have to play the match of his life on the surface to get past Wawrinka.
Fourth Quarter – Richard Gasquet, Andy Murray
It could well be another showdown between the Frenchman and the Brit at this stage, after Gasquet finally made the quarter-final although ran out of steam there. There was once a time he stole a march on the Brit… and ran out of steam there too!
At the moment it is hard to see past the Frenchman making it to the quarters – potentially with the big-serving John Isner or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his way – his compatriot could well be a fly in the brie.
Nick Kyrgios has a horrible starter with the wily Radek Stepanek, and with Feliciano Lopez, who is no slouch on grass as his first seeded opponent. But the combination of Murray and the Ivan Lendl effect will be what has many talking.
The first time they got together it was to get Murray over the psychological hump of that first Slam. This time it is far different, and a voice he wants to hear.
With his comeback at Queen’s there is a sense it would take something very much out of the ordinary to see not see Murray make the quarter-finals and beyond.
Whether he can ruin the Djokovic show by gaining his third Slam title, and his second at Wimbledon – well that remains to be seen in two weeks.
Wimbledon takes place between 27 June and 10 July
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