No luck of the draw for Andy Murray at Wimbledon
Andy Murray has been handed a nightmare draw for Wimbledon. Expectations around Britain’s world No 4 were already low after he followed up his French Open quarter-final exit with three straight defeats on grass.
Those hopes took a further blow after the Scot was drawn against Nikolay Davydenko, a former world No 3 and ATP World Tour champion. Yesterday’s draw at the All-England Club paired Murray’s fellow Scot and British No 3 Jamie Baker with a glamour match against three-time runner-up Andy Roddick in the first round.
Baker, from Glasgow, is one of four British men to earn a wildcard for the singles.
It does not get any easier for Murray after his first match. Should he advance to the second round he will meet 6ft 10in bruiser Ivo Karlovic and he could then take on South Africa’s Kevin Anderson – another giant at 6ft 8in.
Rising star Milos Raonic is the next towering figure that awaits Murray and after that he is due to face one of the most in-form players in David Ferrer, who knocked Murray out at Roland Garros last month. Should Murray beat Ferrer he is likely to face the Spaniard’s compatriot Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals – a man who has eliminated Murray in each of the last two years at SW19. And then there is the small matter of a final showdown against either six-time champion Roger Federer or the current holder of the men’s title, Novak Djokovic.
The tough draw caused Murray’s price to drift to 12-1 from 8-1 with some bookmakers.
The 25-year-old is already in bad form having followed up his AEGON Championships exit with defeats to Janko Tipsarevic and Djokovic at the Boodles tournament this week.
The Scot is confident he can deal with the high expectations of the British public, who have gone 76 years without a male Wimbledon singles champion.
“The first time I played at Wimbledon there was no pressure to do well because I was 18 and wasn’t expected to do that well,” he said at Boodles.
“When I got to 21 or 22 it was quite challenging because the expectations rise and you’re putting more pressure on yourself. I’m probably more used to it now than a few years ago.”
Only Jo-Wilfried Tsonga looks likely to stop Nadal from making it to the last four while Djokovic kicks off his campaign against former world No 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, although the Serb has a pretty straightforward route up to the semi-finals, where he is due to meet Federer.
Aside from the top three seeds, the only other former Wimbledon champion in the draw is 2002’s Lleyton Hewitt, although the fading Australian’s tenth anniversary campaign may be brief as he faces Tsonga first up.
Second-ranked Briton – James Ward – faces Spain’s Pablo Andujar, while the other two home prospects Oliver Golding and Josh Goodall face Igor Andreev and Grega Zemlja.
Incredibly, marathon men John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, who beat Andy Murray at Queen’s, have been set on course for a third successive Wimbledon meeting if both make it to the second round. In 2010 the American and Frenchman played the longest match in tennis history, Isner emerging after 11 hours, five minutes of play over three days, with a final score of 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (7/3), 70-68 for a total of 183 games.
The pair met again last year, in an abridged version, Isner racing to a 7-6, 6-2, 7-6 which was 149 games and a full nine hours shorter than the previous meeting.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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