Defending champion Roger Federer and two-time winner Rafael Nadal may meet in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, with the winner then needing to get past Andy Murray and top seed Novak Djokovic for the grass-court tennis title.
The potential match between Federer of Switzerland and Nadal of Spain would mean Murray can avoid one of them. Federer beat Murray in last year’s final, while Nadal has defeated the 26-year-old Scotsman three times at the All England Club in London. Wimbledon starts June 24.
Federer and Nadal played each other in three Wimbledon finals, with the Swiss player winning in 2006 and 2007 and Nadal prevailing in 2008.
Federer faces Romania’s Victor Hanescu in the first round under the draw that took place today. Murray starts the quest for his first Wimbledon title against Germany’s Benjamin Becker, while Nadal plays Belgium’s Steve Darcis.
Djokovic, of Serbia, plays Germany’s Florian Mayer in the first round and could face former runner-up Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals, followed by either fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain or Juan Martin Del Potro, the No. 8 seed from Argentina, in the semifinals.
Serena Williams, the women’s defending champion, starts the campaign for her sixth title on the London grass courts against Mandy Minella of Luxembourg. The 31-year-old American won the French Open this month, her 16th major singles championship. Sloane Stephens, who beat Williams in January to reach her first Australian Open semifinal, plays fellow American Jamie Hampton in the first round.
Australian Open champion and second-seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus faces Maria Joao Koehler of Portugal, while No. 3 seed Maria Sharapova, the 2004 champion from Russia, plays France’s Kristina Mladenovic. Former French Open winner Li Na of China starts against the Netherlands’ Michaella Krajicek, a former quarterfinalist and the younger sister of 1996 champion Richard Krajicek.
Britain’s top female player faces a tough first round. Laura Robson, a former junior Wimbledon champion who is ranked 37th on the WTA tour, plays No. 10 seed Maria Kirilenko of Russia. Heather Watson, also of Britain, meets Madison Keys of the U.S.