NOVENTI OPEN—Halle, Germany
(2) Alexander Zverev Defeats Robin Haase 64 75
(3) Karen Khachanov Defeats Miomir Kecmanovic 76(5) 64
Pierre-Hugues Herbert Defeats (5) Gael Monfils 76(6) 64
Radu Albot Defeats Matthew Ebden 57 61 64
Steve Johnson Defeats Philipp Kohlschreiber 63 63
Joao Sousa Defeats Hubert Hurkacz 76(3) 61
Fever-Tree Championships—London, Great Britain
(2) Kevin Anderson Defeats Cameron Norrie 46 76(5) 64
(4) Daniil Medvedev Defeats Fernando Verdasco 62 64
(5) Marin Cilic Defeats Cristian Garin 61 76(5)
Nicolas Mahut Defeats Frances Tiafoe 63 76(5)
Diego Schwartzman Defeats Alexander Bublik 62 63
Wimbledon is one of the greatest sporting events in the entire global calendar and it never fails to serve up a dazzling blend of excitement, drama and debate. The world’s finest players are preparing to descend upon London for the tournament and they will battle it out for glory over two action-packed weeks. Home fans will not be able to cheer on Andy Murray, as he has no chance of returning from injury in time for the tournament, but several big guns will compete. Here are five players that stand out in this year’s men’s draw:
The Serb capped a magnificent comeback from injury at last year’s tournament as he swept Kevin Anderson aside in an extremely one-sided final. He followed it up by winning the US Open and the Australian Open and he sits comfortably top of the world rankings, so he is understandably the clear favourite to win this tournament.
Check out the Sporting Index spread betting news and you will see just how highly rated Djokovic is by the experts, and he has all the attributes to thrive once again at Wimbledon this year. He has an 87% win record there and he has lifted the trophy four times previously, so he should be full of confidence. The Serb also boasts a strong record against his main rivals: he is 25-22 against Roger Federer after winning their last three meetings, and leads Rafa Nadal 28-26. If you take away clay court matches, the surface Nadal specializes in, Djokovic leads the Spaniard 20-10 and he prevailed in a five-set epic between them here in last year’s semi-finals. He is now at the peak of his powers and he is the man to beat at this tournament.
The great Swiss has won this tournament eight times and it remains his happiest hunting ground, while the crowd adores him. He triumphed in 2017 and he was the favourite to defend his trophy last year, but Federer surprisingly crashed out at the hands of Kevin Anderson in the quarter-finals. His record at Grand Slams since then has been pretty average for a man of his sublime talents, and Father Time appears to finally be catching up with the 37-year-old. He lost to unheralded Australian John Millman at the US Open, to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Australian Open earlier this year and then Nadal took him apart in the French Open semi-finals last month. He is still the most successful men’s player of all time, but Nadal is now just two Grand Slams behind him and he will be desperate to secure a 21st at Wimbledon. However, his legs may betray him against a younger man once more.
Grass is Nadal’s weakest surface and his 81% win record at Wimbledon does not compare favourably to the 98% win rate he holds at the French Open. Last year’s surge to the semi-finals was his best showing since 2011, when he lost to Djokovic in four sets in the final. He has won this tournament twice before, but not since 2010. The clay court king will be expected to reach the latter stages of this year’s showpiece, but he is unlikely to trouble an in-form Djokovic unduly on grass. The Serb has not lost to Nadal on the surface since the 2008 Queen’s Club final and he would be the clear favourite if they were drawn against one another this year.
Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker recently challenged the next generation to “show up” and start challenging for Grand Slam titles. The last 10 Slams have been won by Djokovic, Nadal and Federer, while exciting youngsters such as Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios have flattered to deceive. The brightest young star of the bunch could well be Greek prodigy Tsitsipas, who went to the Australian Open semi-finals earlier this year after vanquishing Federer. He is just 20 years old, but he is already up to sixth in the world rankings and he displays a level of calm and composure in big matches that betrays his age. Grass is his favourite surface and he claims to love Wimbledon, so he could light up this year’s tournament with his aggressive baseline play and impressive athleticism.
The home crowds will miss the opportunity to turn Wimbledon into Murray Mound this year, but they might just have a chance of cheering Edmund on in the second week of the tournament. The 24-year-old has been the British number one since March 2018 and he is now a mainstay in the world’s top 30. He reached the third round at Wimbledon last year, while his best performance came at the 2018 Australian Open as he reached the last four. He has won a title in Antwerp and he has previously between Djokovic, so hope springs eternal for British tennis fans.
Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon works on a hypothetical for Felix Auger-Aliassime.
You’ll excuse us for feeling a little patriotic these days, but as your Canadian friend will tell you after the Raptors win in the NBA Finals: yeah, we’re feeling ourselves.
It starts, as these things tend to do these days, with a tweet—from our esteemed editor-in-chief no less. Look here it is.
Would not be surprised at all to see Auger-Aliassime carve up a big 3 win at Wimbledon or the US Open this year. He’s totally ready.
— Tennis Connected (@TennisConnected) June 13, 2019
Obviously, this is just a hypothetical and you probably think to yourself that we could have just wrote about this topic any given week, that today maybe we should have just wrote about either of the Roland-Garros finals instead. And yet? And yet, we’re writing this the Monday after Felix Auger-Aliassime made another final in his young career, so this is fairly timely and relevant.
The subtext in wondering whether the young man can notch a win against the three best players of his era at either of the remaining Grand Slam events, is that we want to know just how good can FAA get and how quickly.
Auger-Aliassime’s surge in 2019 has been quick and rapid and maybe the reason why we’re wondering about the youngster’s chances on the biggest stages of the sport is that it feels like a foregone conclusion that FAA will make it to the NextGen ATP Finals.
Still only 18 years old, the Canadian has reached No. 21 in the world (at time of writing this) and figures to keep climbing through the ranks. Though he’s turned pro all the way back in 2017, he’s only really been in our collective consciousness since the launch of this season. This, in turn, means that every day, week and month he has been living his best life: the hard work and the points to defend should come in 2020 but for now? Enjoy it, kid, it’s all gucci.
That said, the tweet above speaks of Auger-Aliassime possibly shocking the tennis world at either of the two remaining Grand Slams of the season. It’s still a hypothetical: so far the biggest win of his young career remains either a quarterfinal win over Borna Coric in Miami or a second-round win against Stefanos Tsitsipas in Indian Wells—but can he add another name to his kill list? We gotta say that we can kind of see it happen maybe?
We start with the current best player in the world and, well, good luck here. At Roland-Garros, Novak Djokovic came to within a hair of good fortune of having the privilege to compete for a fourth Grand Slam title in a row, or more likely to get pummelled in the final by the next man on the list.
Why it will not happen against Djokovic: Sure, the Djoker’s play has suffered from bouts of inconsistency recently, but those haven’t happened at the majors. Should FAA ever beat Djokovic, it’s likely that it’ll happen in a best-of-three setting and at an event that Djokovic, like, doesn’t care much about.
Why it will happen against Djokovic: If Auger-Aliassime is to beat Djokovic, it will be because he catches the Serb on a day where things don’t work out well for him. The Canadian is a precocious and well-rounded player, but Djokovic is perhaps the single most well-rounded player we’ve ever seen; a win for the former would be more telling of the latter than vice-versa.
No matter what happens the rest of the way, Rafael Nadal can rest easy knowing he’s done his part in the tennis season during the clay court season. The Spaniard is still great in 2019, but the hill you face in a match against him does not feel as insurmountable as it once did.
Why it will not happen against Nadal: FAA better hope the draw pits him against Nadal early on at Wimbledon, because the Spaniard seemingly gets better the more he plays. A quick overview of his career Grand Slam performance timeline seems to say that when Nadal loses at a Grand Slam, he tends to do so early on and spectacularly.
Why it will happen against Nadal: Auger-Aliassime could very well overcome Rafa because the matches at Grand Slams will occur on grass and hard courts, two surfaces perfectly suited to his play and working against Nadal’s style. Not only that, but before a semifinal berth a year ago, Nadal’s results at Wimbledon since his win in 2010 had been extremely pedestrian. If FAA beats him, it’s likely coming at Wimbledon.
The Swiss is the final and third member of the Big Three referenced in the tweet above.
Why it will not happen against Federer: What stands out most in Roger Federer’s career, perhaps even more than the 20 Grand Slam titles, is his consistency ever since he first captured a major at the 2003 Wimbledon: since then, he’s made the quarterfinals or better at 53 of the 61 Grand Slams he competed in. What we’re saying is that Federer will not lose against Auger-Aliassime at a major this season.
Why it will happen against Federer: Yeah no, sorry we have nothing.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG
Live Streaming for the ATP Tour and WTA Events in Queen’s Club, Halle, Birmingham and Mallorca can be viewed at the links below.
Link: TennisTV (best quality)
Link: WTA TV (best quality)
Link: EuroSport (Europe)
Link: SkySports (Europe)
Link: TSN (Canada)
Link: TVA (Canada)
Link: ESPN (US Only)
Link: Tennis Channel (US Only)