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Wimbledon 2019 Preview: What 5 Players Stand Out This Year?

Wimbledon 2019 Preview: What 5 Players Stand Out This Year?

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:

Novak Djokovic

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.

Roger Federer

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.

Rafa Nadal

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.

Stefanos Tsitsipas

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.

Kyle Edmund

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.

Read & Watch: Federer: ‘The Pressure Is High For Me Too’

Despite topping the list for most trophies on the surface, 18-time grass titlist Roger Federer admitted the short nature of the grass-court season provides a unique challenge ahead of the NOVENTI OPEN.

“The pressure is high for me too. The grass-court season is extremely short,” said Federer. “There is not that much I can do to get into it as well, other than have that point-for-point mentality. [My] focus needs to be crystal clear and that is what I need to have from the get-go here as I play John Millman in the first round, who has been a tough one for me in the past.”

Fresh from his semi-final run at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal), the World No. 3 will face extra pressure in his opening match on the surface this year against Millman, as the Aussie stunned Federer in four sets in the fourth round of last year’s US Open.

However, Federer is a nine-time champion in Halle. Also a nine-time Swiss Indoors Basel titlist, Federer has reached the quarter-finals or better in each of his previous 16 appearances in Halle and will be keen to go one step further than his runner-up finish to Borna Coric last year. Federer owns a 9-3 record in Halle championship matches and a 63-7 tournament record.

“I think I look back [down] memory lane a little bit [here],” said Federer. “I see how many good moments I’ve had here, I see how much success I’ve had… The fan interaction [is special]. I feel like we know eachother, they know what they get from me and I know what to expect from them. It makes me feel really good and makes me play good tennis.”

Federer arrives in Halle after competing on clay for the first time since 2016. The 101-time tour-level titlist reached quarter-finals at ATP Masters 1000 events in Rome and Madrid, before a semi-final run at Roland Garros.

“I feel great, to be honest. I am happy to be on the grass, regardless of if I played good or bad on the clay, or if I didn’t play at all,” said Federer. “I always feel happy coming to this surface and this part of the season. I have always loved playing here in Halle for so many years. This is my 17th time playing this event.”

Due to his participation on the European clay, Federer’s grass-court preparations have been abbreviated in comparison to 2017 and 2018. In the past two years, the Swiss returned to action a week earlier at the MercedesCup following a three-month break after the Miami Open presented by Itau.

“Compared to [the past] few years, I have had much less time to prepare for the grass-court season,” said Federer. “Not having played the clay before [in 2017 and 2018], I had plenty of time. So, I don’t want to say I feel stressed, but the transition was definitely faster than in the past few years.”

But Federer’s efforts on the red dirt have given the World No. 3 plenty of reasons for positivity. The nine-time Halle champion notched nine wins from 11 tour-level encounters on the surface, with his only losses coming against Dominic Thiem in Madrid and Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.

“I was really positive about my clay-court swing. I lost against the best clay-court player ever [at Roland Garros], so there is no shame there,” said Federer. “I tried everything I had and [we played in] unbelievably windy conditions. It was really challenging. I loved it actually, to play Rafa in that situation, the way it was. But I left [Paris] very positive.”

Read Federer Handed Tough Path In Quest For 10th Halle Trophy

With a new surface, there is a new challenge. But there aren’t many challenges more familiar to Federer than playing on grass. The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who owns an 87.1 per cent win percentage on the surface (176-26), shared his thoughts on how grass elevates his game to new heights.

“[Grass] highlights my strength and it maybe hides my weaknesses,” said Federer. “From that standpoint, I can play how I want, on my terms, how I would like. When you feel that way, it is maybe what Rafa feels on the clay… I have all the options and when you have options, it gives you options to win and different tactics you can use against different players. That gives you maybe that little bit more margin you need to stay out of trouble and win matches.”

Read & Watch: Federer: ‘The Pressure Is High For Me Too’

Despite topping the list for most trophies on the surface, 18-time grass titlist Roger Federer admitted the short nature of the grass-court season provides a unique challenge ahead of the NOVENTI OPEN.

“The pressure is high for me too. The grass-court season is extremely short,” said Federer. “There is not that much I can do to get into it as well, other than have that point-for-point mentality. [My] focus needs to be crystal clear and that is what I need to have from the get-go here as I play John Millman in the first round, who has been a tough one for me in the past.”

Fresh from his semi-final run at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal), the World No. 3 will face extra pressure in his opening match on the surface this year against Millman, as the Aussie stunned Federer in four sets in the fourth round of last year’s US Open.

However, Federer is a nine-time champion in Halle. Also a nine-time Swiss Indoors Basel titlist, Federer has reached the quarter-finals or better in each of his previous 16 appearances in Halle and will be keen to go one step further than his runner-up finish to Borna Coric last year. Federer owns a 9-3 record in Halle championship matches and a 63-7 tournament record.

“I think I look back [down] memory lane a little bit [here],” said Federer. “I see how many good moments I’ve had here, I see how much success I’ve had… The fan interaction [is special]. I feel like we know eachother, they know what they get from me and I know what to expect from them. It makes me feel really good and makes me play good tennis.”

Federer arrives in Halle after competing on clay for the first time since 2016. The 101-time tour-level titlist reached quarter-finals at ATP Masters 1000 events in Rome and Madrid, before a semi-final run at Roland Garros.

“I feel great, to be honest. I am happy to be on the grass, regardless of if I played good or bad on the clay, or if I didn’t play at all,” said Federer. “I always feel happy coming to this surface and this part of the season. I have always loved playing here in Halle for so many years. This is my 17th time playing this event.”

Due to his participation on the European clay, Federer’s grass-court preparations have been abbreviated in comparison to 2017 and 2018. In the past two years, the Swiss returned to action a week earlier at the MercedesCup following a three-month break after the Miami Open presented by Itau.

“Compared to [the past] few years, I have had much less time to prepare for the grass-court season,” said Federer. “Not having played the clay before [in 2017 and 2018], I had plenty of time. So, I don’t want to say I feel stressed, but the transition was definitely faster than in the past few years.”

But Federer’s efforts on the red dirt have given the World No. 3 plenty of reasons for positivity. The nine-time Halle champion notched nine wins from 11 tour-level encounters on the surface, with his only losses coming against Dominic Thiem in Madrid and Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.

“I was really positive about my clay-court swing. I lost against the best clay-court player ever [at Roland Garros], so there is no shame there,” said Federer. “I tried everything I had and [we played in] unbelievably windy conditions. It was really challenging. I loved it actually, to play Rafa in that situation, the way it was. But I left [Paris] very positive.”

Read Federer Handed Tough Path In Quest For 10th Halle Trophy

With a new surface, there is a new challenge. But there aren’t many challenges more familiar to Federer than playing on grass. The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who owns an 87.1 per cent win percentage on the surface (176-26), shared his thoughts on how grass elevates his game to new heights.

“[Grass] highlights my strength and it maybe hides my weaknesses,” said Federer. “From that standpoint, I can play how I want, on my terms, how I would like. When you feel that way, it is maybe what Rafa feels on the clay… I have all the options and when you have options, it gives you options to win and different tactics you can use against different players. That gives you maybe that little bit more margin you need to stay out of trouble and win matches.”

View Schedule: Federer & Nadal Look For R4 Spots At Roland Garros

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal look to continue their impressive Roland Garros runs in third-round action on Friday. Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas seeks his 32nd tour-level win of the season and 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka faces Grigor Dimitrov in a blockbuster clash.

Third seed Federer takes on #NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud, who is competing in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time. Casper’s father, Christian Ruud, is a former Top 40 player who reached the third round here in 1995 and 1999. The Swiss star has yet to drop a set this tournament and holds a 67-16 record at the second major of the year. Ruud reached his first ATP Tour final this April in Houston (l. to Garin).

Eleven-time champion and second seed Nadal battles No. 27 seed David Goffin of Belgium. Nadal leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 3-1 and hasn’t lost a set in their three meetings on clay. The Spaniard has lost just 13 games in his first two rounds this fortnight and is now on a seven-match winning streak on clay. Goffin also dropped 13 games in reaching the third round and is displaying the tennis that brought him to a career-high No. 7 in the ATP Rankings.

Tsitsipas returns to Philippe-Chatrier to face Filip Krajinovic. The Serbian had never won a match on the red clay of Paris prior to this year. Tsitsipas’ results this European clay swing include a stunning win over Nadal en route to a runner-up finish at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Djokovic), semi-final showing at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and his third tour-level title at the Millennium Estoril Open (d. Cuevas).

Wawrinka and Dimitrov are even in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry at 4-4, but the Swiss won their past two meetings in first-round clashes last year at Wimbledon and the US Open. Dimitrov defeated Marin Cilic in five sets on Wednesday for his first Top 15 win since April 2018. Wawrinka seeks his first fourth-round appearance at a major since finishing runner-up here in 2017 (l. to Nadal).

Other notable third-round matches on Friday include seventh seed Kei Nishikori of Japan taking on No. 31 seed Laslo Djere of Serbia and French wild card Nicolas Mahut looking to continue his run against Argentine Leonardo Mayer.

More On #RG19

* The Moment Nadal’s Practice Routine Changed Forever
* Federer Closes On ‘Alphabet’ Grand Slam
* Federer on Ruud: ‘I Know More About His Dad’

ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, 31 MAY 2019

Court Philippe-Chatrier start 11:00
Two WTA matches
[2] Rafael Nadal vs David Goffin
[6] Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Filip Krajinovic

Court Suzanne Lenglen start 11:00
WTA match
[3] Roger Federer vs Casper Ruud
WTA match
[24] Stan Wawrinka vs Grigor Dimitrov

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Court Simonne-Mathieu start 11:00
WTA match
Benoit Paire vs Pablo Carreno Busta
Nicolas Mahut vs Leonardo Mayer
WTA match

Court No. 1 start 11:00
Jeremy Chardy / Fabrice Martin vs Matwe Middelkoop / Tim Puetz
[31] Laslo Djere vs [7] Kei Nishikori
[WC] Gregoire Barrere / Quentin Halys vs Alex de Minaur / David Vega Hernandez

Court No. 14 start 11:00
Rajeev Ram / Joe Salisbury vs Enzo Couacaud / Tristan Lamasine
WTA match
[WC] Corentin Moutet vs Juan Ignacio Londero

Court No. 7 start 11:00
[8] Henri Kontinen / John Peers vs Marcelo Demoliner / Divij Sharan
Guido Pella / Diego Schwartzman vs Matteo Berrettini / Lorenzo Sonego
[4] Oliver Marach / Mate Pavic vs Elliot Benchetrit / Geoffrey Blancaneaux
Dominic Inglot / Martin Klizan vs Leander Paes / Benoit Paire


Court No. 6 start 11:00
Dusan Lajovic / Janko Tipsarevic vs Denys Molchanov / Igor Zelenay
WTA match
[WC] Benjamin Bonzi / Antoine Hoang vs Rohan Bopanna / Marius Copil
Federico Delbonis / Guillermo Duran vs Miomir Kecmanovic / Casper Ruud

Court No. 9 start 11:00
Two WTA matches
Ricardas Berankis / Yoshihito Nishioka vs [10] Jean-Julien Rojer / Horia Tecau

Court No. 12 start 11:00
Pablo Cuevas / Feliciano Lopez vs Mikhail Kukushkin / Joran Vliegen

View Schedule: Federer & Nadal Look For R4 Spots At Roland Garros

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal look to continue their impressive Roland Garros runs in third-round action on Friday. Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas seeks his 32nd tour-level win of the season and 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka faces Grigor Dimitrov in a blockbuster clash.

Third seed Federer takes on #NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud, who is competing in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time. Casper’s father, Christian Ruud, is a former Top 40 player who reached the third round here in 1995 and 1999. The Swiss star has yet to drop a set this tournament and holds a 67-16 record at the second major of the year. Ruud reached his first ATP Tour final this April in Houston (l. to Garin).

Eleven-time champion and second seed Nadal battles No. 27 seed David Goffin of Belgium. Nadal leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 3-1 and hasn’t lost a set in their three meetings on clay. The Spaniard has lost just 13 games in his first two rounds this fortnight and is now on a seven-match winning streak on clay. Goffin also dropped 13 games in reaching the third round and is displaying the tennis that brought him to a career-high No. 7 in the ATP Rankings.

Tsitsipas returns to Philippe-Chatrier to face Filip Krajinovic. The Serbian had never won a match on the red clay of Paris prior to this year. Tsitsipas’ results this European clay swing include a stunning win over Nadal en route to a runner-up finish at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Djokovic), semi-final showing at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and his third tour-level title at the Millennium Estoril Open (d. Cuevas).

Wawrinka and Dimitrov are even in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry at 4-4, but the Swiss won their past two meetings in first-round clashes last year at Wimbledon and the US Open. Dimitrov defeated Marin Cilic in five sets on Wednesday for his first Top 15 win since April 2018. Wawrinka seeks his first fourth-round appearance at a major since finishing runner-up here in 2017 (l. to Nadal).

Other notable third-round matches on Friday include seventh seed Kei Nishikori of Japan taking on No. 31 seed Laslo Djere of Serbia and French wild card Nicolas Mahut looking to continue his run against Argentine Leonardo Mayer.

More On #RG19

* The Moment Nadal’s Practice Routine Changed Forever
* Federer Closes On ‘Alphabet’ Grand Slam
* Federer on Ruud: ‘I Know More About His Dad’

ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, 31 MAY 2019

Court Philippe-Chatrier start 11:00
Two WTA matches
[2] Rafael Nadal vs David Goffin
[6] Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Filip Krajinovic

Court Suzanne Lenglen start 11:00
WTA match
[3] Roger Federer vs Casper Ruud
WTA match
[24] Stan Wawrinka vs Grigor Dimitrov

Are You In? Subscribe Now!

Court Simonne-Mathieu start 11:00
WTA match
Benoit Paire vs Pablo Carreno Busta
Nicolas Mahut vs Leonardo Mayer
WTA match

Court No. 1 start 11:00
Jeremy Chardy / Fabrice Martin vs Matwe Middelkoop / Tim Puetz
[31] Laslo Djere vs [7] Kei Nishikori
[WC] Gregoire Barrere / Quentin Halys vs Alex de Minaur / David Vega Hernandez

Court No. 14 start 11:00
Rajeev Ram / Joe Salisbury vs Enzo Couacaud / Tristan Lamasine
WTA match
[WC] Corentin Moutet vs Juan Ignacio Londero

Court No. 7 start 11:00
[8] Henri Kontinen / John Peers vs Marcelo Demoliner / Divij Sharan
Guido Pella / Diego Schwartzman vs Matteo Berrettini / Lorenzo Sonego
[4] Oliver Marach / Mate Pavic vs Elliot Benchetrit / Geoffrey Blancaneaux
Dominic Inglot / Martin Klizan vs Leander Paes / Benoit Paire


Court No. 6 start 11:00
Dusan Lajovic / Janko Tipsarevic vs Denys Molchanov / Igor Zelenay
WTA match
[WC] Benjamin Bonzi / Antoine Hoang vs Rohan Bopanna / Marius Copil
Federico Delbonis / Guillermo Duran vs Miomir Kecmanovic / Casper Ruud

Court No. 9 start 11:00
Two WTA matches
Ricardas Berankis / Yoshihito Nishioka vs [10] Jean-Julien Rojer / Horia Tecau

Court No. 12 start 11:00
Pablo Cuevas / Feliciano Lopez vs Mikhail Kukushkin / Joran Vliegen

Federer On Facing 20-Year-Old Ruud: I Know More About His Dad

Roger Federer doesn’t know a lot about his third-round opponent, #NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud. In fact, he might know more about Christian Ruud, Casper’s father and coach who ended his career at the 2001 Roland Garros, the eighth Slam Federer played.

“I know probably more about his dad than about him. Even though I never played him, the father,” Federer said. “I know that [Casper has] improved a lot in recent years, and I think he plays very well on the clay. Again, I haven’t seen him play a whole lot. But for any 20-year-old to be on the big stage, playing a top guy, on a centre court, that’s what you dream of.”

Read & Watch: Like Father, Like Son: Ruud Makes His Mark

Federer coasted into the third round on Wednesday as he continued his Roland Garros return without dropping a set 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 against Germany’s Oscar Otte.

The third-seeded Swiss, making his first appearance in Roland Garros since 2015, won 75 per cent of his service points, including the same percentage on his second offering, and was never challenged against the 25-year-old German, No. 144 in the ATP Rankings. Federer saved all four break points faced.

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I must say I feel really good, considering I haven’t played here in that long. Especially if I think back a few weeks and months ago before Madrid, didn’t know how successful I was going to play or how I was going to feel on the clay,” said Federer, who played in Madrid and Rome before Roland Garros.

More On Federer
* Federer Relishing ‘Outsider’ Status At #RG19
* Why Federer Should Not Be Counted Out In Paris
* Roger, Rafa Lead The Way In These Serve & Return Scenarios

Ruud made his first third round at a Grand Slam by beating Italy’s Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 7-5, 6-3. The 20-year-old Ruud, playing at a career-high No. 63, made the fourth round at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome earlier this month (l. to Del Potro) and improved to 13-5 on the season with the straight-sets win against Berrettini.

“Today, by the scoreline against Berrettini, seems like he did his work, and he deserves to be in the third round. I will take him very seriously,” Federer said.

Ruud has matched his Grand Slam win total this week and has yet to drop a set in beating Berrettini and 2014 semi-finalist Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.

“Now I’m playing one of the greatest champions ever of this sport on Friday, so I’m just super excited for it. I can play loose and free. I have nothing to stress about or think too much about,” Ruud said. “I will be a bit excited and nervous, but I will just look at it as a great opportunity and a privilege to be able to play Roger.”

Ruud, however, offered a confession of sorts: “To be honest, I’ve been a little bit more of a Rafa fan and Rafa guy. But those two have always been my two absolute favourites.”

In other action, French wild card Nicolas Mahut, 37, beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 and will meet the winner of Argentine Leonardo Mayer and 17th seed Diego Schwartzman. Their match was suspended because of darkness with Mayer leading 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-3.

“I was completely carefree. I could be carefree. I played my last weapons, and it was good. This is something that one can do when one is at the end of one’s career,” Mahut said. “I’m here now at the third round. It’s crazy. But that’s also the [Roland Garros] magic. French players can give their best. As every time when I was young, I would watch tennis on TV and I could see a French player playing in an outstanding way, and that’s never been my case. And I thought, ‘Oh my God, in 20 years I haven’t done it.’ And this year it’s happening. I’m very proud. I’m very happy.”