5 unseeded players who could wreak havoc with the Wimbledon men's draw this year

Which unseeded players can deal the most damage at Wimbledon this year?
Which unseeded players can deal the most damage at Wimbledon this year?

Wimbledon has been a happy hunting ground for lower-ranked players, who have caused major upsets over the years with their big serves and booming groundstrokes.

Players like Sergiy Stakhovsky, Dustin Brown, Lukas Rosol, Steve Darcis, and Gilles Muller come to mind when talking about unseeded players who have knocked out big names at SW19 in the past decade.

Despite the frequency with which upsets have occurred at Wimbledon, not many unseeded players have made it past the fourth round in the last 10 years. Only eight unseeded players have pulled off this feat - Sam Querrey (2019), Vasek Pospisil (2015), Nick Kyrgios (2014), Lukasz Kubot (2013), Fernando Verdasco (2013), Feliciano Lopez (2011), Bernard Tomic (2011) and Lu Yen-Hsun (2010).

Nick Kyrgios is the first name that springs to mind when talking about unseeded players who can do some damage.

Kyrgios' mammoth serve and groundstrokes make him a formidable opponent on grass. However, the Aussie recently pulled out of the Mallorca Championships citing a neck injury, casting doubt over his participation at Wimbledon. Thus, he has not been included on this list.

On that note, here's a look at five unseeded male players who could wreak havoc in the main draw at Wimbledon:

#5 Wimbledon debutant Sebastian Korda

Sebastian Korda
Sebastian Korda

Sebastian Korda enters Wimbledon ranked 50 in the world. The 20-year-old made his debut on the surface at the Noventi Open in Halle, advancing to the quarterfinals.

Korda beat Roberto Bautista Agut and Kei Nishikori in the German city before falling to eventual champion Ugo Humbert in the last eight.

The American has the tools to do well on grass. He possesses a powerful first serve and a bludgeoning forehand that can put opponents on the backfoot. If the Wimbledon draw is kind to him, he will fancy his chances of making a deep run.

Korda is no stranger to the latter stages of Grand Slams, having made the fourth round at Roland Garros in 2020.

#4 Two-time quarterfinalist Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori at 2019 Wimbledon
Kei Nishikori at 2019 Wimbledon

Kei Nishikori is a two-time quarterfinalist at Wimbledon (2018, 2019) and, despite being on the decline in recent years, he is still a force to be reckoned with on all surfaces.

Nishikori did fairly well during the clay swing this year, pushing Rafael Nadal to the limit in Barcelona. However, the Japanese's grass season did not start too well as he was bundled out in the second round at Halle by Sebastian Korda.

The 31-year-old is an extremely good returner and likes to take the ball early, qualities that make him a threat on grass.

#3 Jan-Lennard Struff can prove to be a giant-killer

Jan-Lennard Struff
Jan-Lennard Struff

Jan-Lennard Struff has never made it into the second week at Wimbledon and that is a statistic he will be keen to change.

The 31-year-old has the tools to excel on grass. He possesses a gigantic first serve, which dealt quite a bit of damage at Roland Garros. The German racked up 63 aces in four matches in Paris. He is also blessed with a monster forehand that can blow opponents off the court when it fires on all cylinders.

The German has the ability to raise his game against the top players. He defeated Andrey Rublev in the opening round at Roland Garros and Daniil Medvedev at Halle, proving he has it in him to deliver against big names.

However, he has failed to impress on the grass thus far, losing in the second round at Halle and the first round at Mallorca.

#2 Sam Querrey can never be counted out at Wimbledon

Sam Querrey is a former semifinalist at Wimbledon
Sam Querrey is a former semifinalist at Wimbledon

Sam Querrey has historically reserved his best tennis for Wimbledon, which is not surprising given grass is the surface best suited to his style of play. Querrey is a two-time quarterfinalist at Wimbledon (2016, 2019) and went as far as the semifinals in 2017.

The big-serving American has produced plenty of upsets at the grasscourt Major over the years. He stunned Novak Djokovic in the third round in 2016 and in the following year, the 35-year-old defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Kevin Anderson and then World No. 1 Andy Murray.

In 2019, an unseeded Sam Querrey defeated Dominic Thiem in the first round and Andrey Rublev in the second. He was eventually thwarted by Rafael Nadal in the last eight.

Endurance has never been a problem for the American, who has played numerous five-set matches in recent years.

His serve has also been in fine working order during the grass season. The American has racked up a whopping 95 aces in five matches at Stuttgart and Halle.

#1 Former Wimbledon runner-up Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic at the 2018 Wimbledon
Marin Cilic at the 2018 Wimbledon

Marin Cilic, currently ranked No. 38 in the world, is an interesting name on this list. The Croat is just one spot away from being seeded at Wimbledon and could find himself amongst the 32 seeds if a player in the top 30 pulls out.

As things stand, though, Marin Cilic will head to SW19 as an unseeded player, which will give nightmares to every player in the draw.

The 2017 runner-up is in fine form, having recently won the title at Stuttgart without dropping a set. Cilic was broken just twice in the tournament, a remarkable feat considering he faced the likes of Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, and Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The Croat also reached the quarterfinals at Queen's. In total, Cilic racked up 106 aces in eight matches across these two events.

But Cilic is more than just a bigserver. He can dictate rallies using his powerful forehand and hit winners from every corner of the court. He can also take time away from his opponents by rushing to the net to close out points.

Honorable mentions: Alexander Bublik, Frances Tiafoe, Lorenzo Musetti, Marcos Giron, Vasek Pospisil and Alexei Popyrin. It would also be interesting to see how wildcards Carlos Alcaraz and Andy Murray fare in the grasscourt Major.

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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