July 5, 2018
With the early exits of Marin Cilic, Denis Shapovalov and Stan Wawrinka, almost half the men’s seeds are already out of Wimbledon.
Here are six men still standing, the men we think have the best chance of Wimbledon 2018 glory.
In reverse order:
6/ Kyle Edmund
The rising British star reached the Australian Open semi-final and if he continues to grow in confidence, he might just do it on home soil. He is undoubtedly the dark horse, especially with Novak Djokovic standing in his way. But stranger things have happened at Wimbledon.
5/ Nick Kyrgios
The controversial Aussie has the game to win Wimbledon this year, no doubt about it. But does he have the psychological strength? You can see him going far, then beating himself when it really matters. Victory over Robin Haase didn’t come before he had been called to account for an audible obscenity and complained about a foot fault. But he has to win big some time soon. Why not now?
4/ Rafael Nadal
It may come as a surprise that Rafa is only fourth favourite in our eyes. But after two matches he hasn’t yet begun to play his best tennis. He even looked vulnerable against Mikhail Kukushkin. Sure, it is early days. Things could change. But we’ve seen nothing yet by way of consistent quality to suggest that Rafa is about to hit Wimbledon-winning form. We wouldn’t mind being wrong though!
3/ Juan Martin del Potro
Looking very comfortable on grass once more. A magnificent performance against Feliciano Lopez. Effortless and powerful. We all remember the year he took so much out of Novak Djokovic in the longest-ever Wimbledon semi-final, that Andy Murray took his first Wimbledon title with relative ease against the drained Serb in the showpiece two days later. This could be Delpo’s year – if he maintains fitness and momentum.
2/ Novak Djokovic
Somehow the multiple Grand Slam winner is cruising through the first week under the radar. He hasn’t had to expend much energy yet and he is gradually reaching a level that means he is a serious contender once more. Federer doesn’t often enjoy playing him. Roger has rarely been able to handle Novak’s kicker spin high to his back hand, especially on the Djokovic second serve, so even now this would provide a thrilling matchup.
1/ Roger Federer
Still the man to beat after all these years. Roger has achieved his early objectives at Wimbledon this year by getting off court quickly to conserve energy. He looks graceful, efficient and focused. But Wimbledon title number nine is by no means a foregone conclusion. Yes, Roger is the favourite. But sooner or later, time must catch up with him. On their day, Delpo and Novak can beat him. Nadal too. Kyrgios would be in that group if he believed in himself.
So that’s our take on Wimbledon’s crazy first few days, and what it means for the men remaining.
Could Alexander Zverev make a mockery of his exclusion from the big six? At the time of writing, maybe so. But he hasn’t come close to winning a Grand Slam yet.
Predictions are notoriously precarious, though. That’s the beauty of the sport. Talk up anyone’s chances at your peril!