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Djokovic avoids big guns of Federer, Murray and Nadal

Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer in the 2014 Wimbledon final
Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer in the 2014 Wimbledon final

Lady Luck appears to have smiled kindly on Novak Djokovic. Not that the Serbian world number one really needs that much of it - such is the 28-year-old's domination of the men's game at the moment. The Wimbledon champion begins the defence of his crown against the Philipp Kohlschreiber. 

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The German is a wily grass court operator and will make life occasionally taxing for Djokovic. Ultimately he should fade away and once he's been dispatched, Djokovic's side of the draw is free of dangerous opponents such as former champions Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.

The 10th and third seeds respectively are in the bottom half of the draw headed by the second seed Roger Federer.

Nadal has won two trophies in London SW19 and he, along with Murray, are the best armed to halt the Swiss meister's quest for an eighth title at the All England Lawn Tennis Club and his 18th major overall.

Nadal famously beat him in an epic five setter in 2008. Murray got the better of him in the final of the 2012 Olympic Games held on centre court at Wimbledon. Djokovic undid Federer in last year's final.

But even if Djokovic has managed to avoid the likes of Nadal, Federer and Murray, he won't like the look of his potential semi-final opponent. It could be Stan Wawrinka, the man who squashed his French Open dream on 7 June in Paris.

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There the Swiss beat him over four gripping sets. Should they meet, Djokovic will feel he has the advantage, having won the title twice while Wawrinka's best performance in 10 visits to Wimbledon came last year when he lost in the quarter-finals to compatriot Federer.

While the Serb is confident of his abilities, Wawrinka's forte appears to be self-effacement. In an era dominated by Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray, the Swiss 30-year-old has won two grand slams - the same number as Murray. Of course the tally pales in comparison to Federer's 17, Nadal's 14 or Djokovic's eight - but Wawrinka says he's not made of the same stuff as them.

“I'm not as good as they are - the Big Four," he admitted. "But I'm quite good enough to win two grand slam tournaments. I can beat them in major tournaments, in a semi-final, in a final. But once again, the Big Four will always be the Big Four. I want to make progress and I want to beat them. That's all. It is that simple.”

Serena Williams is the woman to beat. It is that simple. She powered her way to the 2015 French Open title and is one trophy away from another 'Serena Slam'.

This is the self-aggrandizing description of winning four consecutive grand slams that Williams coined after claiming the 2002 Roland Garros crown followed by 2002 Wimbledon, 2002 US Open and 2003 Australian Open.

Williams will start her quest for a sixth Wimbledon medal against the 20-year-old Russian Margarita Gasparyan.

Petra Kvitova, who collected her second Wimbledon title last year, starts the defence of her crown against Kiki Bertens from the Netherlands.

The Romanian third seed Simona Halep is up against Jana Cepelova from Slovakia.

Fourth seed Maria Sharapova shot to stardom 11 years ago when she beat Williams in the final. But since that heady day in July, there have been no more titles just one visit to the 2011 showdown in which she was beaten by Petra Kvitova in straight sets.

That result was unexpected. It was perhaps a throwback to the days when shocks and surprises at Wimbledon were as prevalent as the strawberries and ice cream.

 

 

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