Can anyone beat Novak Djokovic? He is a cut above anyone in the game right now and is seemingly unstoppable. Gunning for a hat-trick of Wimbledon crowns, it will take a huge effort for someone to stop him, but it’s certainly possible. Can Andy Murray upset Novak and claim a second Wimbledon title? Is this Roger Federer’s last shot at a major, or will we see a first time winner? I expect this year’s men’s draw to once again produce some extremely high quality tennis which will make for great viewing over the next fortnight. Here’s my preview of the men’s draw…
The Top Seeds
- Novak Djokovic (SRB) – The best player in the world right now by quite a distance. It’s difficult to see anyone beating him at this year’s tournament as he looks to take another step towards claiming a calendar slam. Has the entire game to beat any opponent on any day. It’s remarkable how good he is on any surface.
- Andy Murray (GBR) – The 2013 winner will be looking at repeating this feat this year when he defeated Novak Djokovic. Will need to play some aggressive tennis to beat Novak and can’t afford to play passively if he wants to claim the title. Does have an easy draw so I expect him to go deep into the tournament. Whether he can topple Djokovic or Federer on grass is another question altogether.
- Roger Federer (SUI) – The best player of all time, particularly on grass. However the clock is ticking for Roger and there are questions as to whether he can win another major. Wimbledon is probably his best chance, yet he has fallen in the final to Djokovic on the last two occasions. Hasn’t had the best preparation with an injury interrupted season but you feel that Roger has been getting himself right for one last shot at Wimbledon glory. Has a tough draw but I still expect him to go deep into the second week. Beating Djokovic appears his biggest hurdle, but you can never write him off.
- Stan Wawrinka (SUI) – This is probably Stan’s least favourite surface and he hasn’t had a great form leading into this year’s tournament. However he does know how to win grand slams, and certainly has the weapons to beat anybody on his day. This said, Stan has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and whilst his seeding gives him chance to better this record, I can’t see him taking out the title ahead of some of the other big-name players in the draw.
- Kei Nishikori (JPN) – Is in the tougher half of the draw and has struggled on grass in the past. A brilliant young player but I believe this surface doesn’t suit his game as well as hard-court or clay. His serve also lacks the power of some of the other top seeds which doesn’t help your cause on at Wimbledon.
- Milos Raonic (CAN) – In my opinion, Milos is the probably the only man who can beat Djokovic at this year’s tournament. He will need to have a day out but he has the weapons to trouble anyone on grass, particularly his massive serve and big groundstrokes. He has been working with John McEnroe to fine-tune his grass-court game and has good form leading into the tournament on the back of a tight loss in the final at Queens. Does have a tough draw however and will most likely have to beat Djokovic, Federer then Murray if he’s to take out the title.
- Richard Gasquet (FRA) – Likes the grass-courts and is twice a semi-finalist at Wimbledon however he always seems to struggle against the ‘Big 4’ in grand slam matches. I expect him to go into the second week once again but will probably bow out around the quarter-finals.
- Dominic Thiem (AUT) – A prodigious talent who has some great form leading into Wimbledon this year. Took out the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart and defeated Roger Federer along the way. Has a relatively good draw and could go very deep into this year’s tournament. Has a tricky first round match against Florian Mayer (who he lost to at Halle) but I expect him to account for him and some other big names as well. A very dangerous player who is not afraid of taking it up to the big boys.
- Marin Čilić (CRO) – A tough opponent on grass with a big serve and big groundstrokes. Has reached the quarter-finals for the past two consecutive years but his seeding puts him in a difficult position to repeat this. Also notoriously struggles against Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray so I can’t see him doing a great deal of damage this year.
- Tomáš Berdych (CZE) – Reached the final here in 2010 but similar to Richard Gasquet, Berdych always seems to struggle against the likes of Djokovic, Federer and Murray in major tournaments. Has a great grass-court game but his biggest hurdle in majors seems to be getting the job done against the very top players.
Nick Kyrgios – Seeded 15 this year which gives him a good run up to the round of 16. Has the ability to beat anyone on his day and is not afraid to match it with the very best. Grass also suits his game more than the other services. Has a big serve, huge groundstrokes and is a very tenacious competitor. He’s on the right side of the draw as well which does his chances no harm. Needs to stay injury free.
Bernard Tomic – Seeded 19 this year and has had his best results on grass courts. Has Fernando Verdasco in the first round which will be tough but looks to have a decent run after that. A good chance of making the second week, particularly with his game style.
Winner: Novak Djokovic
He’s step-up in class compared to the rest of the competitors. Very difficult to see anyone beating him this year and he always seems to have the answers for any challenge thrown at him. Given his current form, anything less than another Wimbledon title will be a failure as far as he is concerned. Will be too good once again.
Runner-up: Andy Murray
It was going to be either him or Federer, depending on which side of the draw Roger found himself on. Fortunately for Murray, he has an easy run by comparison where he will only have to play one of Raonic, Federer or Djokovic to take out the title. I believe we will see a third straight Djokovic v Murray grand slam final, but I can’t see him beating Novak this year.
Dark Horse: Nick Kyrgios
Apologies to Dominic Thiem who I got behind last week, but it was tough to choose just one dark horse at this year’s event. Seeing Kyrgios’ seeded inside the top 16 gave him the nod for me. He has the game to defeat almost anyone on grass and is on the easier side of the draw. Kyrgios is completely unphased by the big stage and almost thrives on the energy of big matches. He’s set to meet Andy Murray in the 4th round. If he can defeat Murray and provided his body holds up, I would expect him to go on and make the final.