Wimbledon 2019 Men’s Singles Draw Breakdown

Djokovic Wimbledon
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Westward Ho! Wimbledon, here we go!

Starting this coming Monday, the immaculately manicured grass courts at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club host the oldest tennis major for the 133rd time.

The curiously scheduled tennis tour jumps from Melbourne to Roland Garros, a gap of four and a half months for players to make the journey from hard to the red dirt’s ultimate stop the first Sunday of June, and then leaps to SW19, with just five weeks for players to readjust from the higher bouncing Clay to the lower bouncing Grass in time to lift the trophy mid July.

Although the transition to the slower Wimbledon Grass we see the pros ply their trade on in the 21st Century does not pose quite the same challenges conditions wise as it once did, the historic lawns still require a different skill-set, footwork and shot preparation wise, while those more aggressive minded players with bigger and smarter serves who are not afraid to slice are still more favored to prevail than those who like to help make that baseline nice and muddy for week 2.

The one time Summer Garden party is still, despite the competition the other Majors pose as they grow in size and stature, not just tennis’ most renowned event, but one of sport’s, and, in a crowded Summer sporting field featuring women’s football and the Cricket world cup also taking center stage, it will need to produce the same drama it did last year- those semis are still talked about nearly a year on– to grab the headlines.

Tennis’ Center Court has already been hit by some headline grabbing controversy with Wimbledon’s formula again affecting the seedings, leading to critical comments from Rafael Nadal, demoted from world No.2 to SW19’s third seed, and high profile coaches such as Darren Cahill and Magnus Norman.

This is how the top 32 looks:

1 Novak Djokovic2 Roger Federer3 Rafael Nadal4 Kevin Anderson
5 Dominic Thiem6 Alexander Zverev7 Stefanos Tsitsipas8 Kei Nishikori
9 John Isner10 Karen Khachanov11 Daniil Medvedev12 Fabio Fognini
13 Marin Cilic14 Borna Coric (Withdrawn)15 Milos Raonic16 Gael Monfils
17 Matteo Berrettini18 Nikoloz Basilashvili19 Felix Auger-Aliassime20 Gilles Simon
21 David Goffin22 Stan Wawrinka 23 Roberto Bautista Agut24 Diego Schwartzman
25 Alex de Minaur26 Guido Pella27 Lucas Pouille28 Benoit Paire
29 Denis Shapovalov30 Kyle Edmund31 Laslo Djere32 Dusan Lajovic

History will also vie with committee decisions for tennis column inches with this year’s tournament marking the tenth anniversary of Federer breaking Pete Sampras’ Major haul record and also potentially serving up yet another note-worthy chapter in the sport’s ever expanding record books with the following narratives all possible upcoming entries:

  • Can Wimbledon’s most decorated gentlemen’s singles champion extend his record to #RF21?
  • Will his bête-noire, Nadal, who, were it not for a couple of points and playing condition decisions here and there in ’18, could have been this year’s defending champ, narrow the gap to one?
  • Will the man, Novak Djokovic, who has winning records against them both have the last laugh, as he has had in three of the last four slams?
  • Practically less likely, yet theoretically still possible, will a new face finally break the Big Four dominance at SW19, which now (ridiculously) dates back to 2003…

The Tennis Review editor Christian Deverille and tennis analyst Karthik Swaminathan break down the ATP draw.

First quarter:

Top seed and World No. 1 Djokovic headlines this section and commences his title defence against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber. The Serb leads their head-to-head 10–2. Kohlschreiber did inflict a shock defeat on Djokovic in Indian Wells back in March, his first win over the world No.1 in over a decade, which makes this first rounder even more one to watch.

In the second round, Djokovic could face Malek Jaziri of Tunisia (Djokovic leads 1–0) or America’s Denis Kudla (yet to meet).

In the third round, the defending champ could come up against compatriot and 32nd seed Dusan Lajovic (Djokovic leads 2–0).

Lajovic, though, has a tricky opener himself against the talented 22-year-old Hubert Hurkacz of Poland (Djokovic leads 1–0).

If not his compatriot, Djokovic could also face the mercurial Ernests Gulbis (Djokovic leads 7–1); the Latvian reached the fourth round here last year and the third round the year before.

Possibly lying in wait in the fourth round, 16th seed Gael Monfils of France (Djokovic leads 15–0) or the fast-rising Félix Auger-Aliassime (yet to meet).

The 18-year-old Canadian has reached three finals this year, most recently at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart earlier this month (l. Matteo Berrettini).

7th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece (head-to-head level 1–1) or 11th seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia (Djokovic leads 3–1), a much touted next-generation duo, are potential quarterfinal opponents.

Also lurking in this quarter are 30th seed Kyle Edmund, the home hope, and the unseeded pair of Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Croatian ace-machine Ivo Karlovic.

Three-to-see first-round matches:

(1) Novak Djokovic v. Philipp Kohlschreiber

Ernests Gulbis v. Leonardo Mayer

(19) Félix Auger-Aliassime v. Vasek Pospisil

Karthik’s semi-finalist pick: (1) Novak Djokovic

Christian’s semi-finalist pick: (1) Novak Djokovic

Second quarter:

South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, last year’s runner-up (l. Djokovic), is seeded fourth thanks to Wimbledon’s formula despite missing action since Miami (l. Federer) due to injury and is the highest seed in this section.

The gentle giant opens against Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France (Anderson leads 1–0) before a second round against either Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic (head-to-head level 1–1) or Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka (Anderson leads 1–0).

26th seed Argentine Guido Pella (yet to meet) is a potential third round opponent while 15th seed Milos Raonic (head-to-head level 1–1) of Canada or 22nd seed Stanislas Wawrinka (Anderson trails 4–5) could pose a threat in the fourth.

6th seeded German Alexander Zverev (Anderson trails 0–5) or 10th seeded Russian Karen Khachanov (Anderson leads 1–0), another next-generation pair, could lie in wait in the quarterfinals.

Anderson’s form is suspect and Zverev, who has an interesting opener in Czech southpaw Jiri Vesely, is yet to make a grand slam semifinal means this section is waiting to throw a surprise. Can the ‘other Swiss’ or someone else make the most of this chance? Or will the defending runner-up find his gear again?

Three-to-see first-round matches:

Andreas Seppi v. Nicolas Jarry

(22) Stanislas Wawrinka v. Ruben Bemelmans

Jiri Vesely v. (6) Alexander Zverev

Karthik’s semi-finalist pick: (10) Karen Khachanov

Christian’s semi-finalist pick: (6) Sascha Zverev

Third quarter:

Two-time Wimbledon champion and World No. 2 Nadal was not impressed with being demoted to a number-three seeding. And while we know the Spaniard keeps expectations low ahead of matches, he could be excused for not liking how the draw turned out, at least on paper, as his potential path to a third title at SW19 seems laden with banana skins.

Up first for Rafa is someone he hasn’t faced before—Japan’s Yuichi Sugita—but his second-round adversary is someone he knows only too well, the highly volatile Nick Kyrgios (head-to-head level 3–3). The Aussie famously ended Nadal’s hopes on these very grounds back in 2014 and the two had a particularly fiery meeting in Acapulco earlier this season.

Kyrgios, however, could have his hands full against compatriot Jordan Thompson in his opening round.

It only gets warmer for Nadal as he could face either 29th seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada (head-to-head level 1–1) or the unseeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Nadal leads 8–4) in the third round before a possible fourth round against 13th seed and 2017 runner-up Marin Cilic.

The Croat himself has France’s Adrian Mannarino to deal with first. The other end of this quarter is headlined by fifth seed Dominic Thiem of Austria who starts his campaign against big-serving American Sam Querrey.

There is no doubt that this section can tease and throw a lot of questions but as the saying goes, ‘Fortune favors the brave’ and whoever emerges from this section will need plenty of pluck.

Three-to-see first-round matches:

(5) Dominic Thiem v. Sam Querrey 

Frances Tiafoe v. (12) Fabio Fognini 

Bernard Tomic v. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Karthik’s semi-finalist pick: (3) Rafael Nadal

Christian’s semi-finalist pick: (13) Marin Cilic

Fourth quarter:

Federer returns to his most successful grand slam on the back of a tenth title in Halle (d. David Goffin).

In what will be a first-time meeting, the 20-time grand slam champion will face South African 22-year-old Lloyd Harris in the opening round before a second round against either 20-year old local Jay Clarke (yet to meet) or 23-year-old Noah Rubin (Federer leads 1–0).

27th seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille is a likely third round opponent.

In the fourth round, the 14th seed Borna Coric’s late withdrawal with injury means Federer could end up meeting 17th seed Matteo Berrettini who is no fool on grass, winning the title in Stuttgart (d. Auger-Allisiame) and reaching the Halle semis (L to Goffin).

In the last eight, 8th seed Kei Nishikori of Japan (Federer leads 7–3) or 9th seed John Isner (Federer leads 7–2) are potential opponents.

Former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis, who is scheduled to play Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round, announced this year’s Championships would be his last event in professional-level competition. Expect that match on a show court and to be the match of the first round.

Three-to-see first-round matches:

Taylor Fritz v. Tomas Berdych

Jan-Lennard Struff v. Marcos Baghdatis

(27) Lucas Pouille v. Richard Gasquet

Karthik’s semi-finalist pick: (2) Roger Federer

Christian’s semi-finalist pick: (2) Roger Federer

Semi-final 1 predictions:

Karthik: (1) Novak Djokovic d. (10) Karen Khachanov 

Christian: (1) Novak Djokovic d. (6) Sascha Zverev

Semi-final 2 predictions:

Karthik: (2) Roger Federer d. (3) Rafael Nadal 

Christian: (2) Roger Federer d (13) Marin Cilic

Final predictions:

Karthik: (1) Novak Djokovic d. (2) Roger Federer for a 5th Wimbledon title and a 16th grand slam crown

Christian: (2) Roger Federer d. (1) Novak Djokovic. This is as good an opportunity the 37 year old all time Great is going to get to make #RF21 a trending hashtag and to reassert himself as the No.1 name mentioned in the never-ending G.O.A.T debate.

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Karthik Swaminathan

Karthik Swaminathan is a burgeoning sports analyst; his views on top-tier tennis and cricket events, including Grand Slams and the World Cup, have been featured on live television. Karthik has also been published on leading magazines and web portals such as Wisden, Golf Digest and Sports Illustrated. His other interests include astronomy, darts and anything tech.
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