Wimbledon will always be Wimbledon As much as the organization has decided this year to boycott the participation of Russian and Belarusian tennis players and, therefore, stay without ATP and WTA points by leaving out 17 players classified by ranking.
At the pairing draw held this morning at the All England Club, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal left with the peace of mind that they could only see each other’s faces in a hypothetical final.
Djokovic, defender of the crown, begin his journey at the opening of the center court on Monday, June 27 with the South Korean Soonwoo Kwon. On its side circulates Carlos Alcaraz with whom he could run into in the rooms. Then he could play with the winner of the duel between Hubert Hurkacz and Casper Ruud. In his quadrant a handful of dangerous servers like Americans John Isner and Reilly Opelka.
Rafael, for his part, will debut on Tuesday against Francisco Cerndolo, 42 on the lists at 23 years old and who this season reached the semifinals of the Masters 1,000 in Miami. There is no precedent between the two.
Cerndolo was the protagonist in the last edition of Roland Garros when he was arrested by the police for allegedly assaulting a taxi driver who did not want to provide him with a service.
In the penultimate round he will wait for Felix Auger-Aliassime and in the semifinals for Matteo Berrettini or Stefanos Tsitsipas. Along the way there are also names like Marin Cilic o Botic Van de Zandschulptwo tennis players whose game is perfectly suited to grass.
Nadal’s potential path at Wimbledon
R1: Francisco Cerndolo
R2: Sam Querrey
R3: Lorenzo Sonego
R4: Marin Cilic/Botic Van de Zandschulp
CF: Felix Auger-Aliasimus
SF: Stefanos Tsitsipas / Matteo Berrettini
F: Novak Djokovic
Alcaraz, in his second participation, debut with the German Jan-Lennard Struff. The Murcian does not feel like one of the favorites in a habitat totally unknown to him.
In Nadal’s last appearance at the tournament, in the 2019 edition, Roger Federer closed the doors of the fight for the title. The Swiss is neither there nor is he expected and accumulates a year without official competition, precisely since he said goodbye in the Wimbledon quarterfinals with Hurkacz with donut included.
Unlike hard surfaces and clay, there is no formal match on grass and most rivals have their difficulties if they have a good serve.
Rafa uses the first week of the greats to grease the machinery. This time he knows that he will have to go out at the highest level from the first day, although Cerndolo is one of the most affordable rivals that he could play from the start.
The positive note for him is that he has left behind the discomfort in his left foot, after his last treatment in Barcelona. That’s why he’s playing at Wimbledon and why he beat Stan Wawrinka in the exhibition match at Hurlingham. This Friday he has a second set with Aliassime, but before that he has exercised on the slopes of Aorangi Park alongside Frances Tiafoe.
One of the most attractive matches of the first round of the men’s draw is the one between Alejandro Davidovich, junior champion in 2017, and the Polish Hurkacz, who has just won the Open 500 in Halle.
Feliciano López, in what will be his ‘Grand Slam’ number 81, equaling Federer’s mark, will look for the first victory of the course with Van de Zandschulp.
Large Spanish presence
The rest of the pairings of the men’s ‘Armada’ are: Carlos Taberner-Opelka, Albert Ramos-Ruud, Pablo Carreo-Dusan Lajovic, Pablo Andjar-Cameron Norrie, Jaume Munar-Thiago Monteiro, Fernando Verdasco-Tommy Paul, Roberto Bautista-Attila Balazs, Roberto Carballs-Jordan Thompson, Bernab Zapata-Jack Sock, and Pedro Martnez-Alex Molcan.