Even after trouncing No. 1 Novak Djokovic by taking three consecutive sets to win the French Open, Swiss No. 4 Stan Wawrinka tabbed the Serbian superstar as the man to beat at the 2015 Wimbledon later this month.
Wawrinka said Djokovic’s crushing loss at Roland Garros will only serve as motivation to bounce back at the All England Tennis Club in London, beginning Monday, June 29.
“Novak is No. 1. He’s been playing so well and especially this year,” Wawrinka said Wednesday after losing in the second round at Queens Club. “I’m sure after losing the French Open final he wants more, he wants to come back and win the next big one.
“So he won last year. We all know that when he’s playing his best tennis he’s really good.”
Indeed, as the reigning Wimbledon champion who’s in good health and displayed top form throughout the first half of the ATP season, Djokovic should be the prohibitive favorite.
And his history on grass also serves as a good indicator that Djokovic can thwart the ever looming threat of seven-time Wimbledon champ Roger Federer, as well as two-time victor Rafael Nadal, and No. 3 Andy Murray, who claimed the tournament in 2013. Essentially every Wimbledon since 2003 belongs to one of those four competitors, and its a trend that seems likely to continue.
Djokovic, 28, owns an excellent 60-15 all-time mark on grass and he came out on top in a thrilling five-set Wimbledon final last year over Federer. Furthermore, unlike his main competition, Djokovic opted to sit out the shorter grass tournaments in between the French and Wimbledon in order to rest up. His game is already well-above everyone else’s at this point with a 41-3 overall record and five titles under his belt, that rest and health can really be the only detriments to Djokovic’s game at this point in the season.
Djokovic has also made a habit of deep runs at Wimbledon, largely breezing through to the semifinals at a minimum since 2010.
Still, Federer’s legendary form and experience at Wimbledon can’t be ignored. Seven of his 14 grass titles have come at All England, and he owns a 131-19 all-time record on grass. And other than Federer's second-round hiccup in 2013, the quarterfinals or further have become familiar air to Federer since 2003. The world’s No. 2 player also holds the all-time edge over Djokovic with a 20-19 mark.
Despite his age of 33, the Swiss star has been tuning up for Wimbledon with a solid run on the grass courts of Halle, Germany, where he’s presently in the quarterfinals. Should he find his rhythm and timing ahead of the trip to London, Federer could be a handful for Djokovic if they meet in the later stages of Wimbledon.
Murray on the other hand represents an entirely different animal. The 28-year-old Scot will undoubtedly have the crowd on his side throughout the tournament, just like when he defeated Djokovic in the finals in 2013. The support from his compatriots can’t really be underestimated, with Murray 8-19 all-time against Djokovic and before last year he at least reached the semis in five straight Wimbledon tournaments.
Murray does have slightly more experience on grass than Djokovic as well, with a 78-16 mark and five titles to Djokovic’s two.
As of right now, only Spain’s Nadal could be in for some problems in London. So far this season Nadal’s gone 33-10 in all tournaments. The 28-year-old also endured a harrowing straight set loss to Djokovic in the French quarters, something very few experts or fans could have anticipated given Nadal’s incredible nine titles at Roland Garros.
However, Nadal showed significant signs of life in Stuttgart by beating three straight unranked opponents to win his second tournament of the year last week. Though the talk of a return to form was squashed two days ago when he fell in the first round to No. 79 Alexandr Dolgopolov in four sets on the Aegon grass.
Nadal’s record on grass is still comparable to Djokovic at 57-15 all-time, and despite his struggles this season an upset could still be in the cards.