Wimbledon 2019: Men's draw analysis, preview and predictions
The stage is set for one of the most exciting Wimbledon Championships in years, owing to the larger conversation surrounding the battle between the next gen stars and the veterans on tour.
Top players would be in pursuit of different milestones when they step out on the All-England Club. Led by defending champion Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, who is vying for a record ninth title, the playing field has has no derth of exciting names. The likes of Stephano Tsitsipas, Felix Auger-Aliassime and a few of the newcomers on tour would definitley be looking to make their presence felt on the big stage.
Owing to the newfound depth showcased on the ATP tour this year (we have already had over 20 different title winners on the tour in the first six months), expect some fierce battles from the word get-go at this year's tournament. With action set to get underway at SW19 today, here is look at the prospects of the top players in the draw.
Expected quarterfinal: Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Analysis: The first quarter itself speaks of the narrative that has been building up on the tour for quite some time now: its the veteran champion, Djokovic up against the rising young gun, Tsitsipas. Both of the top two seeds here have been handled similar draws with their opponents being a good mix of experience and fresh talent.
Djokovic might have the slightly tougher time getting to the last-8 as he might come across some major obstacles in form of the German Philipp Kohlschreiber (these two are having quite a year), the big serving Latvian Ernests Gulbis, and the winner of Felix Auger-Aliassime-Grigor Dimitrov dual in the early rounds. And, that if one discounts the second highest seed in his section, the ever dynamic Gael Monfils.
Tsitsipas has a similar draw that might see him face a fearsome lot led by the in-form players David Goffin and Daniil Medvedev. That said, one might still want to back Djokovic and Tsitsipas against (most players from) the lot. Expect some fierce battles in early rounds though (An upset is totally on the cards).
My picks: Novak Djokovic vs David Goffin/ Daniil Medvedev
Expected quarterfinal: Kevin Anderson vs Alexander Zverev
Analysis: This is the quarter of uncertainty in this year's draw. The two seeds here do not look as formidable as the others and the section has no derth of talented players who are all capable of big upsets. Stan Wawrika and Milos Raonic are by far the most experienced players in the quarter and could give others (Anderson inculded) a hard time.
One should also be prepared to witness Zverev's continuing woes at Grand Slams. I would be royally surprised if he makes it to the last-8. In his absence, one could back Roberto Batista Agut or even Feliciano Lopez and Benoit Paire to make an impact.
My picks: Milos Raonic vs Roberto Batista Agut
Expected Quaterfinal: Dominic Thiem vs Rafael Nadal
Analysis: This, then, is the exciting part of the draw. Especially packed is Nadal's section; the Spaniard's path for a title will be a nightmare with prospect opponents including Nick Kyrgios in the second round, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga or Denis Shapovalov in the third, and Marin Cilic in the fourth.
While the recent performances of some of these players might not inspire a of confidence, they are all capable of playing very high quality of tennis. Tsonga and Kyrgios in particular, can be extremely dangerous on grass. Nadal will have to tread with caution here.
Thiem, on the other hand, has Fabio Fognini waiting for him in the fourth round, that is if they both manage to get past their early rounds. Both of them are likely to be tested by the likes of Gilles Simon and Frances Tiafoe.
My picks: Rafael Nadal vs Fabio Fognini
Expected quarterfinal: Kei Nishikori vs Roger Federer
Analysis: The seeds in this quarter can breathe a sigh of relief. I do not see Nishikori having too much trouble getting to the fourth round. His prospect opponent, John Isner might face some resistance from an ever dangerous Tomas Berdych (the former finalist has made the main draw based on protected ranking and might be a little rusty off the bat).
With their contrasting styles of play, Nishikori and Isner would make for a great fourth round match. The American's game is more suited for the grass and Nishikori inspires little confidence when it comes to playing an attacking game, the kind you need to stay in touch with Isner. The Japanese, however, has surprised me in the past with the way he manages to manufacture wins against even more formidable opponents. I would not be surprised if that happens here as well.
Last of all, Federer, who is in pursuit of a record ninth Wimbledon title, could not have asked for a better draw. On paper, none of the other players in his section seem to pose a threat to the Swiss. Even the likes Richard Gasquet and Diego Schwartzman, who are capable of playing their own brand of tennis, have failed to trouble him in the past. It should, then, be smooth sailing for Federer, at least to the last-8.
Notable first round matches:
Richard Gasquet vs Lucas Poille
Andrey Rublev vs Cristian Garin
Dominic Thiem vs Sam Querrey
Diego Schwartzman vs Mathew Ebden