After a COVID-enforced absence last year, Wimbledon is back this fortnight with Novak Djokovic looking to win the event…
Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will be aiming to win a first singles Grand Slam title at Wimbledon this year. However, the Roland Garros finalist will not only take to the court in the singles at SW19, he will also team with his brother Petros Tsitsipas in the doubles.
The Greek pair overcame Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau in the first round at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April, and played together at the Australian Open (l. to McDonald/Paul). This will be their eighth tournament of the season together, and they will face Jaume Munar and Cameron Norrie in the first round.
The World No. 4 will be in for a busy tournament if he advances to the latter stages in both draws, because Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam where doubles is played on a best-of-five-sets format.
Two other top 20 singles players will also be in action. Australian Alex de Minaur, who this week is at a career-high No. 18 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, will partner countryman Matt Reid, and they will play British team Luke Johnson and Anton Matusevich. Casper Ruud, the 12th seed in singles, will partner Andre Goransson. The Norwegian-Swedish tandem takes on Spaniards Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez.
Lloyd Harris, No. 51 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, will play with World No. 67 Alexei Popyrin, and they will face Americans Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren.
The top seeds are Croatian pair Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, who are in red-hot form ahead of Wimbledon after winning their seventh tour-level title of the season at the Viking International Eastbourne on Friday. Mektic and Pavic have lifted three ATP Masters 1000 titles this year, but missed Roland Garros.
They will begin against Jonathan Erlich and Andrei Vasilevski, while second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut will be targeting a third straight title after winning Roland Garros and the cinch Championships in London. The French tandem won the Wimbledon crown in 2016 and plays Facundo Bagnis and Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round.
Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, who reunited at Roland Garros this year (l . to Monroe/Tiafoe), have collected 15 tour-level titles together, including Wimbledon in 2017. The Polish-Brazilian team will join forces for a second time this season in London, and take on 2012 champion Frederik Nielsen and Franko Skugor.
Jelena Ostapenko will face Anett Kontaveit in the women’s singles final at Eastbourne, with Alex de Minaur facing Lorenzo Sonego in the men’s final.
Novak Djokovic is a five-time champion at Wimbledon. And as the Serbian superstar arrives at SW19, he carries the momentum of victories at the first two majors of the year: the Australian Open and Roland Garros.
Could a calendar-year Grand Slam be in the cards for the World No. 1?
“I gave myself a good opportunity to do that, obviously winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros. But look, it’s still a very long way to get to that super achievement,” Djokovic said in Mallorca. “I will try to do it, without a doubt. I’m going to play Wimbledon now and hopefully I can get my hands on the Wimbledon trophy again.”
Plenty of history is at stake for Djokovic in London, where he is the two-time defending champion. Although the grass-court major was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19, Djokovic triumphed there most recently in 2018 and 2019. No man has won three consecutive Wimbledon titles since Roger Federer lifted five trophies in a row from 2003 through 2007.
“Hopefully I can keep that run going. I’m feeling good on grass. I think I’ve improved a lot with my game on grass over the years,” Djokovic said. “Every Grand Slam is probably like a Mount Everest to climb for a tennis player. It’s a two-week long event, 128 players, best-of-five. There are so many things happening on and off the court, so it’s a lot of pressure.
“I know how to deal with that, so I’m going to take one tournament at a time and then we’ll see.”
After lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaires in Paris for the second time, Djokovic now has 19 Grand Slam titles, putting him just one behind Federer and Rafael Nadal on the all-time list. That would make a victory by the Serbian at SW19 even more historic.
“I will definitely go for the title at Wimbledon, the US Open and any other tournament and any other Slam that I play. I always have the highest ambition and expectations of myself, but I try to be in the present moment,” Djokovic said. “I know that if I do everything in the right way, if I put myself in the right state of mind — my body and soul so to say — I’m able to win against anybody on any surface.”
Djokovic’s confidence is sky-high after defeating Rafael Nadal in the Roland Garros semi-finals and rallying from two sets down to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final. The World No. 1 will try to ride that momentum into Wimbledon.
“It was an unforgettable experience, probably one of the most difficult tournaments I ever had, especially the second week,” Djokovic said of his Roland Garros run. “I felt for two or three days after that quite spent. But I’m pretty happy with the way I’m feeling on the grass. It means that I’m recovering pretty quickly.
“But what was achieved and experienced in Paris was truly remarkable. I’m so blessed to [have gone] through that experience.”
Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic’s dream season continued at the Viking International Eastbourne as they defeated third seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 6-4, 6-3 to win their seventh ATP Tour title of the year.
The Croatians, who have won ATP Masters 1000 titles in Miami, Monte-Carlo and Rome, are now 42-6 in their first year together.
“I am very happy with the title here after everything that has happened recently, getting ill in Paris,” Mektic said. “We are very happy with the way we came back, very fast, very quick. We found good form [this week].”
Pavic added: “I think we played an excellent match. We have played them three times and they are always tough matches. It goes back to a few points, we saved a couple of break points, and they didn’t.”[WATCH LIVE 2]
The top seeds won 79 per cent (15/19) of their first-service points in the opening set and moved into a 4-2 lead to take control in Eastbourne. Mektic and Pavic saved break points in their following two service games as they won the opening set against the American-British team.
While the match remained on serve at the start of the second set, Mektic and Pavic found the breakthrough in the fifth game. They hit four aces in the match and were strong on serve in the second set, not facing a break point in the set on their way to the title.
Ram and Salisbury, who are No. 4 in the FedEx ATP Doubles Team Rankings, beat Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the semi-finals. However, they could not match the Croatian pair on Friday, losing in 63 minutes, moving to 21-11 on the season.
Top seed Daniil Medvedev came back from a set down against Pablo Carreno Busta to make a big breakthrough at the Mallorca Championships, winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 on Friday to book a spot in his first tour-level grass-court final.
The No. 2 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings has lifted all ten of his ATP Tour trophies on hard courts. He will get the chance to add some variety to his CV as he takes on Sam Querrey in the championship match. Medvedev, who is into his 18th career final (10-7), improved to 25-7 on the season with his semi-final win.
“I know that I can play good on grass,” Medvedev said. “Unfortunately we don’t have that many tournaments, only one ATP 500 and one Grand Slam. It’s going to be a special feeling [if I] win my first title on grass. I still don’t have one on clay, even if I have one final. Adding these titles, especially on different surfaces, can help your confidence and it’s just a great thing for your career.”
Medvedev had a battle on his hands against the in-form Carreno Busta on his way to his third final of 2021. The Russian, who also won in Marseille earlier in the season, relied on his big serves to bail him out of tricky situations. He fired 10 aces and won 81 per cent (30/37) of points behind his first delivery.
“It was not an easy match and it was in very hot conditions. I think we were both struggling physically in the third set,” Medvedev said. “But I think it was a high-quality match. It was very important to start good in the sets, this is what I didn’t manage to do in the first set. I had a lot of opportunities to try to come back, but he was better.
“This is where I was better in the second and third set. It was a tight battle, and I’m really happy with the second and especially the third set.”
Fourth-seeded Carreno Busta had not dropped serve in the tournament across two matches and four sets leading up to the semi-final. He seemed set to continue that streak, saving all three break points faced in the first set and edging ahead with an early break to the Medvedev serve for 3-0 lead.
But Medvedev raised his level in the second and third sets, where he created eight of his 11 break opportunities in the match. He made sure to start strong, taking a 3-0 lead in the second set and a 4-0 lead in the third with a double break. In turn, he didn’t face a break point in the final two sets, and sealed the victory with a second-serve ace that clocked in at 128 mph after an hour and 56 minutes.[WATCH LIVE 2]
Medvedev will face Querrey in the final after the 33-year-old American blasted 18 aces past Adrian Mannarino en route to a 6-4, 6-3 victory. He saved the only break point he faced and won 97 per cent (30/31) of points behind his first serve to seal the victory in an hour and 10 minutes.
With the victory, Querrey moved into his 20th ATP Tour final (10-9) and his fifth on grass courts (1-3). He is seeking his first title since 2017 Los Cabos.
Two-time champion Andy Murray plays Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili when he returns to the Wimbledon singles next week after a four-year absence.
Britain’s Katie Swan puts an injury-hit year behind her to qualify for the Wimbledon main draw.
Eight-time champion Roger Federer has been placed in the bottom half of The Championships draw, but will have to potentially overcome Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev if he wishes to reach a 13th Wimbledon final.
The Swiss superstar, who compiled a 101-13 match record at the All England Club since his debut in 1999, will challenge France’s Adrian Mannarino in the first round. Federer, who has beaten Mannarino six times overall — and twice on grass at Wimbledon — could face cinch Championships runner-up Cameron Norrie in the third round.
Federer will be hoping to bounce back from a second-round exit at the NOVENTI OPEN (l. to Auger-Aliassime) as he seeks a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam championship.
View Singles Draw
Popcorn First-Round Matches At A Glance
Medvedev v Struff
Tsitsipas v Tiafoe
Murray v Basilashvili
Kyrgios v Humbert
Korda v De Minaur
Sinner v Fucsovics
Musetti v Hurkacz
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who beat Federer 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3) in a memorable 2019 Wimbledon final, is targetting a third straight crown — and sixth overall — in south-west London. He may need to overcome Stefanos Tsitsipas, the player he beat in the Roland Garros final two weeks ago, or two-time former champion Andy Murray, in the semi-finals.
The 34-year-old Serbian comes into the grass-court major on the back of capturing his ninth Australian Open trophy (d. Medvedev) and his second in Paris. In winning the Melbourne-Paris title double, he matched his 2016 achievement and was the first player to do so since Jim Courier in 1992. Five years ago, Djokovic fell to Sam Querrey in the Wimbledon third round.
Djokovic will first prepare to challenge British wild card Jack Draper, a recent quarter-finalist at The Queen’s Club, and may then need to beat 2018 finalist Kevin Anderson in the second round at SW19. Russia’s Andrey Rublev could be a quarter-final opponent.
#NextGenATP stars Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Musetti and Sebastian Korda will all be making their main draw debuts at The Championships next week.
Sinner, the 19th seed from Italy, who is in Djokovic’s quarter of the draw, will face Marton Fucsovics in the first round, with ninth-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman a potential third-round opponent. Musetti, who impressed with his fourth-round run at Roland Garros (l. to Djokovic), is set to meet Polish 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz, the Miami Open presented by Itau titlist in April.
Korda faces no easy task against Australia’s Alex de Minaur, the cinch Championships and Viking International Eastbourne semi-finalist. Elsewhere, Canadian 16th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, who advanced to the Wimbledon third round on his debut two years ago, plays Thiago Monteiro of Brazil.
More to follow…