By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon
- The Big Four occupy the top 4 seedings
- Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have split the Slams so far
- Andy Murray looking to successfully defend a Slam title for the first time
- Novak Djokovic rounding into form after winning the Aegon International in Eastbourne
LONDON, UK – The Men’s Wimbledon Draw sets up the Big Four to clash once more as Andy Murray starts his title defence on Monday.
POLL – Who will win the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Title?
Top Quarter – Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka
Never since David Beckham’s kicking foot as a limb come under so much scrutiny in this country. The fitness and soreness levels of Murray’s hip has been the topic of many a tweet, but in truth no-one will no for sure until Murray walks out on Monday to open play as the defending champion.
In truth his draw does not look that bad. His first seed though could be Fabio Fognini who of course bounced him out of Rome in his opener, and this would be their first encounter on grass – Murray would have the edge on the surface and the Italian has never been past the third round.
Next up could be Lucas Pouille and despite his quick rise up the rankings, any time he has been across the net from Murray, it has passed by him in a blur – the Frenchman has yet to even take a set off Murray. Things get trickier from the quarter-finals – he looks set to meet Wawrinka. Neither Murray or Wawrinka have had anything remotely approaching a solid grass court lead up, and Murray has always prevailed over the Swiss on the grass.
Second Quarter – Rafael Nadal, Marin Cilic
There is no doubt that Nadal’s achievements this year, both on reaching the Australian Open final, and no less than three ‘La Decimas’ but it came at a price. The Spaniard pulled out of Queen’s Club and decided to train in Mallorca. He comes up against the big hitting Karen Khachanov.
Things do not get much easier with the biggest riser on the Grass seedings Gilles Muller who won Den Bosch, before reaching the semi-final at Queen’s. Should he get past that obstacle, he faces Queen’s finalist Cilic, who also got some solid grass court wins under his feet.
Third Quarter – Roger Federer, Milos Raonic
The decision to skip the entire clay court season by Federer leads to just one objective – to win a 19th Grand Slam, and an eighth Wimbledon title. His first seed Mischa Zverev upended Murray at the Australian with good old fashioned serve and volley, but Federer overcame the obstacle with each in Halle, and likewise in the fourth round, has never had any issues against Grigor Dimitrov, who he is likely to face in the fourth round.
Last year’s finalist Raonic did finally get the better of Federer in last year’s semi-final, but recurring injuries have been the bane of his young career having been bounced out of Queen’s by a returning Thanasi Kokkinakis, he too is short of grass time this year.
Bottom Quarter – Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem
Who would have thought coming into Wimbledon Djokovic’s somewhat troubled year would turn around to such an extent that he is the most in form out of the Big Four. At times he may not have looked quite as clinical as before but e got the wins when and where it counted, lifting the Aegon International trophy as part of his preparation.
However looking in his draw is a third round match-up with Juan-Martin Del Potro, and you have to give him good odds to come past Gael Monfils in the fourth round, and although he lost to Dominic Thiem in the Roland Garros, on grass we think it is quite a different matter.
Wimbledon takes place between 3-16 July
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