The Sunday Leader

Djokovic, Serena Top Seeds For Wimbledon

  • Tennis – Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are the top seeds in the men’s and women’s events at this year’s Wimbledon. In the men’s event Andy Murray is the number three seed whilst Rafael Nadal has dropped to 10th.

Nadal was seeded second at Wimbledon last year but a lack of form and fitness has seen the Spaniard tumble down the ATP rankings.

In the women’s draw, Serena Williams is the top seed as she looks to seal her sixth singles title at Wimbledon and her 21st major in all.

Defending champion Petra Kvitova, who pulled out of the Aegon International at Eastbourne on Tuesday with illness, is second, while Romanian Simona Halep is third and Maria Sharapova fourth.

Murray is gunning for his second Wimbledon title at the All England Club after becoming the tournament’s first British men’s singles champion since 1936 two years ago.

Murray is in the same half of the Wimbledon draw as Roger Federer so can’t meet Novak Djokovic until the final. However, the British number one could meet Rafael Nadal or David Ferrer in the quarter-finals and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the previous round.

Murray will face Mikhail Kukushkin in the first round.

World number one Novak Djokovic, who beat Nadal in the French Open quarter-finals three weeks ago, is seeded first while Roger Federer, bidding for a record eighth singles title in SW19, is second.

Stan Wawrinka, fresh from securing his second Grand Slam title in Paris, completes the men’s top four.

Lower down, Murray’s conqueror last year Grigor Dimitrov is number 11 seed while the likes of Ivo Karlovic (23), Bernard Tomic (27), Nick Kyrgios (26) and Jack Sock (31) all represent dangerous opponents on grass.

Renowned coach Brad Gilbert, who coached Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick to Grand Slam titles and also worked with Andy Murray feels Murray should do well at this year’s event.

“He won at Queen’s and got through the one tricky match against Gilles Muller. It was a great week for him, just like (Roger) Federer (in Halle). It was perfect preparation for those two guys.”

“Andy says he’s playing as well as ever so he’s pretty confident. The last six or seven weeks he’s only lost once and that was to Novak Djokovic (at the French Open). That speaks volumes about where he thinks his confidence is.”

“The one thing that he does unbelievably on this surface is his ability to get returns in play. He does that brilliantly.”

The Women’s event was more predictable claimed Gilbert. “If Serena Williams brings her A-game to Wimbledon, her title rivals have “zero chance”, said Gilbert.

The American will bid to complete a second ‘Serena Slam’ at this year’s Wimbledon – having won the last three Grand Slam titles she will hold all four if she triumphs in SW19.

The five-time Wimbledon queen has lost just one match so far in 2015 and will start the tournament as a clear favourite.

Gilbert said: “One thing I’ve learned over the years is never underestimate a Williams, ever.

“Serena won the French without being at the level she is capable of. If she is on, the others have no chance, zero.

“They do have a chance if she’s a bit off her game and they are on theirs but if Serena is playing well they are playing for second place, plain and simple.”

said the 33-year-old’s immediate focus should be on getting through the early rounds though, something she has failed to do on her last two visits to the All England Club.

He added: “She’s going to come in this year first and foremost wanting to do better than the last two years – she’s not made the quarter-finals.

“She’s had no match play (on grass) so negotiating through that first week and gaining confidence on the surface will be a focus. That shouldn’t be a problem – she’s been playing forever – but she will be thinking about those last two years.

“She had to battle in a lot of matches at the French Open but the great thing about her is that when not at her best she finds a way.”

Gilbert, who will be working as a TV commentator at this year’s tournament, picks out reigning champion Petra Kvitova as the most likely alternative winner.

Speaking about the Czech star, he said: “She’s been sick, pulled out of Eastbourne, and so hasn’t played since the French.

“However, her game seems to really suit this surface with the big serve and return. She hits the ball extremely flat. The surface works for her game.


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