Novak Djokovic may have to overcome three grand slam champions to successfully defend his Wimbledon title.
The world No. 1 was handed the toughest draw of the top four seeds Friday at the All England Club. Djokovic, who didn’t play any grass-court events after losing to Stan Wawrinka in the French Open finals three weeks ago, plays unseeded German and 2012 quarterfinalist Philipp Kohlschreiber Monday in the first round, followed by a potential second-round match against 2002 winner Lleyton Hewitt of Australia.
After a possible quarterfinal against U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan, Djokovic may face Switzerland’s Wawrinka in the semis, and seven-time champion Roger Federer in a replay of the 2014 title match. Wawrinka’s defeat of Djokovic in Paris ended the Serb’s quest for a career grand slam of all four majors.
Andy Murray, the 2013 winner from Britain, was drawn in Federer’s half. The 28-year-old Scot, who won a warm-up event at Queen’s Club in London last week, plays his opening match against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin. He could play two-time champion Rafael Nadal in the quarters after the Spaniard dropped to a decade-low No. 10 following a winless European clay-court season. After losing in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros to Djokovic, Nadal rebounded by winning a grass-court event in Stuttgart. Second-ranked Federer is a possible semifinals opponent for the third-seeded Murray, followed by Djokovic in the finals.
Federer plays Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur in his opening round, while Nadal starts against Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci.
Top-seeded woman Serena Williams, who is one title away from winning four majors in a row for the second time in her career, may face her older sister and five-time winner Venus in the fourth round. Serena Williams, also a five-time champion, opens against Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan.
Maria Sharapova, the 2004 winner, is a potential semifinals opponent for Williams, who hasn’t lost to the Russian in 11 years. The fourth-seeded Sharapova plays Britain’s Jo Konta in the first round, while Venus starts her 18th Wimbledon against fellow American Madison Brengle.
Defending women’s champion and second seed Petra Kvitova faces Holland’s Kiki Bertens in her opening round Tuesday.