Tsitsipas, Felix Lead Contenders & Darkhorses Into Wimbledon
The three strong favourites to emerge victorious at Wimbledon are the Top 3 seeds: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The trio has combined to win 14 of the past 16 trophies at The Championships. And all three men are in good form leading into the season’s third Grand Slam.
But there are contenders who can make deep runs and threaten to capture the glory, and there are darkhorses who may not win the title, but can certainly do significant damage in the draw at SW19. ATPTour.com highlights five from each category.
Could this #NextGenATP Greek make his biggest breakthrough yet at Wimbledon? Tsitsipas began the season No. 15 in the ATP Rankings and with the spotlight on him after winning last November’s Next Gen ATP Finals. But he has shone even brighter in 2019, advancing to the Australian Open semi-finals, making the final in Madrid and winning titles in Marseille and Estoril. Although he fell in the fourth round at Roland Garros, he went blow-for-blow against an in-form former champion in Stan Wawrinka.
Tsitsipas has yet to find significant grass-court success as a pro. But not only was he a Wimbledon boys’ singles semi-finalist and boys’ doubles champion in 2016, his game fits the surface. The 20-year-old has a serve that can skip through the court and an attacking game that will allow him to control play. He never shies away from the net, either.
The Austrian star has never advanced past the fourth round at The Championships. But that does not mean Thiem is incapable of doing so. He has long been recognised for his clay-court prowess. But the two-time Roland Garros finalist has proven more than a one-surface wonder.
Thiem claimed his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title on hard courts at the BNP Paribas Open this March. And even though he has claimed just one of his 13 ATP Tour titles on grass, the World No. 4’s powerful game will be a significant threat if he is on at SW19.
The only part of Anderson’s game that was affected by the injury was his serve. And if he finds his rhythm from the first match to get by dangerous Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert, that could be the confidence the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals qualifier needs to move through what is arguably the most open quarter of the draw.
Two years ago, the Russian broke onto the scene by upsetting then-World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in the first round at The Championships. At the time, Medvedev was a realtively unknown 21-year-old ranked just inside the world’s Top 50. Now, he is a legitimate contender to make a deep run at the grass-court major.
If Medvedev and Tsitsipas meet in the fourth round, the Russian holds a 4-0 advantage in their budding FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry. Only three players — Djokovic, Tsitsipas and Federer — have won more matches than Medvedev (56) over the past 52 weeks, and he will take confidence from a run to the Fever-Tree Championships semi-finals.
The Canadian is the lowest-ranked member of this group at World No. 17. But Raonic almost always manages to find his best tennis at SW19. He has advanced to at least the quarter-finals in four of the past five years, and he made the final in 2016, falling just short against Andy Murray.
Raonic lost in a final-set tie-break against Feliciano Lopez at The Queen’s Club. The Spaniard went on to win the tournament. Additionally, the 28-year-old Raonic's 69.7 winning percentage on grass ranks sixth among active players according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone.
Before this season, Auger-Aliassime had never played a professional grass-court tournament. But you wouldn’t be able to tell by his results. The #NextGenATP Canadian, who was No. 152 in the ATP Rankings entering Wimbledon last year, is at a career-high No. 21. And he has the weapons to make some noise at SW19.
Auger-Aliassime, who made his third ATP Tour final at the MercedesCup and then reached the semi-finals at the Fever-Tree Championships, is a potential opponent for top-seeded Djokovic in the fourth round.
A year ago, this Italian was No. 81 in the ATP Rankings, and he quietly exited the grass-court Slam in the second round. But Berrettini is one of the most in-form players on the ATP Tour, winning two titles this season and triumphing in nine of his 10 grass-court matches, including a trophy run in Stuttgart.
At that ATP 250 tournament, Berrettini won all 50 of his service games, becoming just one of six players since 1999 to win at least two tour-level trophies without dropping serve (also 2018 Gstaad). The No. 17 seed’s first opponent with a higher ATP Ranking could be eight-time winner Federer.
Get your popcorn ready. Kyrgios, an undeniable talent, could play third seed Nadal in the second round. Deja vu?
At 19, Kyrgios beat Nadal in the fourth round at The Championships, announcing himself to the tennis world. The electric Aussie has split six FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings with the legendary Spaniard. And Kyrgios always finds some of his best tennis when the lights are shining brightest, which they will be if he plays Nadal in London.
The former World No. 11 played his first tournament since Houston this week, as he suffered from a nagging abdominal injury. But Querrey has quickly found his form, advancing to the Nature Valley International final in Eastbourne.
Querrey will look to carry that momentum into one of the most eye-catching matchups of the first round at The Championships against fifth seed Dominic Thiem. The Austrian has won three of their four previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings. But on his day, especially on grass, Querrey has proven capable of beating anybody with his big game. The 31-year-old reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2016 and the semi-finals in 2017.
Lopez may be 37, but he didn’t look it at the Fever-Tree Championships. A wild card into that event, the Spaniard chipped and charged his way to net time and time again on the lush London grass, giving his opponents fits. And not only did he win the singles title, but he partnered Andy Murray to the doubles crown, as well.