June 26, 2015
Friday’s Wimbledon Draw means that Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray both face a monumental task if they are to win Wimbledon this year.
Nadal could have to beat Andy Murray in the quarters, Roger Federer in the semi-finals and Novak Djokovic in the final.
Or it might be Murray who ends up playing Federer and Djokovic in his quest for Wimbledon glory, having battled his way past Nadal.
The Brit could have to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga even before he reaches the quarter-finals to begin his struggles against the “big three” of tennis.
Stan Wawrinka could have something to say about the latter stages, though. He will hope to knock out Djokovic in the semi-final, to repeat his victory in the French Open final. Stan the Man finds it harder on grass, however, so Novak will feel more confident of taking the feisty Swiss down this time.
In their opening matches, Murray plays Kukushkin, Nadal plays Bellucci, and Federer plays Dzumhur.
Djokovic plays Kohlschreiber in his opener and that is not a draw he will like, because his opponent is widely regarded as a handful and one to avoid early in tournaments.
Federer could face Jack Sock on his way to the business end of the tournament and that could prove to be a difficult one. So there is no guarantee that Murray and Nadal will be fighting for the right to play Federer then Djokovic. But that’s the way it looks, and they will have to prepare accordingly.
Key to Wimbledon success for Murray or Nadal will be the efficient disposal of all their opponents before the quarter-final stage. If they get involved in prolonged contests early in the tournament, they will surely pay the physical price later on, given the unkindness of the draw.
But no one ever said that winning Wimbledon was easy. And Murray might be marginally happier than Nadal, who has struggled with form and fitness for much of the year.
In terms of difficulty, given their recent form, the three-step epic challenge does at least come in the right order for Murray – and he is one of the fittest players in the sport right now.
Meanwhile Serena and Venus Williams could face each other in the fourth round of the women’s draw.
And Maria Sharapova won’t get past the semi-finals unless she can find a way to beat her nemesis, Serena, at last. That clash, if they both make it to the semis, should be one to savour.
Serena starts against Gasparyan and Sharapova begins against in-form Brit Johanna Konta.
So we know the draw – let the battles commence, and may the best man and woman win!