Three of men’s tennis “Big Four” find themselves among Wimbledon’s top seeds, with Spain’s struggling Rafael Nadal the odd man out.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic was named No. 1 Wednesday ahead of next week’s start at the All England Tennis Club in London. Seven-time champion Roger Federer is the No. 2 seed, followed by 2013 title holder and crowd favorite Andy Murray at No. 3.
Nadal, mired in injuries and lackluster play including an uncharacteristic quarterfinal loss in the French, was named No. 10 in the tournament he’s won twice before.
French champion Stan Wawrinka is slotted at No. 4, his highest seed ever for Wimbledon as he looks to once again spoil Djokovic in the later rounds. The Swiss defeated the Serb in four sets at Roland Garros, taking the last three for the title and moving up to fourth in the men’s world rankings.
But Djokovic will likely use that letdown as motivation, and the top seed assures he’s unlikley to face a serious threat until at least the quarterfinals.
The same goes for 33-year-old Federer, who despite his dominance at Wimbledon, hasn't won since 2012. On the lower end of the bracket, he'll probably face Murray and or Wawrinka by the time the semis roll around, and may be burned out should Djokovic be waiting in the final.
Murray will most likely have to stare down Federer and Djokovic, and perhaps Nadal, during the quest for his third career major. Yet the Scotsman may have a leg up on the competition after finding his timing on grass with his Aegon Championship victory earlier this week.
Murray also owns a highly respectable 36-6 overall record this season with two singles titles, but four of those losses have come to Djokovic.
As for Nadal, who was bounced in the fourth round of last year’s competition by little known Nick Kyrgios, the momentum he usually picks up in the season’s clay tournaments has dissipated. The 29-year-old suffered defeats in all five of his clay ventures, the most harrowing being the straight-set quarterfinal loss to Djokovic.
Nadal could face a top ranked player by at least the round of 16, and if not, then certainly in the quarters.
However, Nadal did show promise on grass after the French, besting three ranked opponents including Gael Monfils in Stuttgart to take home his second trophy of the season. Unfortunately Nadal then fell in the first round of the Aegon to Alexandr Dolgopolov.
The official draw will take place Friday. The full list of seeds can be viewed here.