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Home » Serena and Djokovic are winners in Wimbledon draw, but Sloane Stephens wasn’t so lucky

Serena and Djokovic are winners in Wimbledon draw, but Sloane Stephens wasn’t so lucky

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This year’s Wimbledon draw created the delicious possibility of another final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, two years after their epic clash when Djokovic saved two match points before winning his fifth title. It also produced a number of intriguing early matches and put Serena Williams on a semifinal collision course with top seed Ashleigh Barty as Williams chases a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title.

Let’s examine the winners and the losers from Friday’s draw at the All England Club.

Winners

Novak Djokovic

The world No. 1 doesn’t need much help from the hands of fate but the five-time champion was given a kind draw as he looks to secure the third step on the path to a potential calendar-year Grand Slam, something no man has managed since Rod Laver in 1969. Djokovic begins against British wildcard Jack Draper and though the likes of Kevin Anderson, Gael Monfils and Jannik Sinner could be in his path in week one, he should be confident of progressing unscathed, setting him up for a bid to pull alongside Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20 slams.

Roger Federer (and the fans)

The eight-time champion will undoubtedly say that he will not be looking much beyond what is a tricky opening-round match against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino but the 39-year-old surely breathed a sigh of relief after being put in the opposite half of the draw to world No. 1 Djokovic. The pair could have met as early as the quarterfinals but now the earliest they can meet is in the final, as they did in 2019 when Federer had two match points only to go down in a final-set tiebreak.

Not having to worry about Djokovic should focus his mind and if Federer remains fully healthy throughout, there are few names in his path who will cause him to lose sleep. Mannarino, though, could be the biggest obstacle in week one — the world No. 40 a left-hander has reached the fourth round three times at Wimbledon and loves grass.

Andy Murray

The 34-year-old Scot is back at Wimbledon in the singles for the first time since 2017 and though his expectations may be lower than before he had a metal hip inserted into his right side, he will want to show he still has some great tennis in his tank. Just being on court again is a success for Murray, but the two-time champion will also like his chances against the No. 24 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, who despite being a big hitter, is at a vast disadvantage in terms of experience on grass. Murray will have the support of a nation on his shoulders, too, which will help.

Serena Williams

Already the beneficiary of a couple of big-name withdrawals — Simona Halep joined Naomi Osaka on the sideline on Friday — Williams should consider herself relatively fortunate to have avoided any potential tripping points as she tries to win her eighth Wimbledon title and draw even with Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam record of 24.

A fourth-round battle with Coco Gauff would be fun but she should believe the draw has given her the best chance yet to win No. 24. Top-seeded Barty, if she stays healthy, would be a tough test, though, in the semifinal.

Carla Suarez Navarro

The Spaniard is back at Wimbledon one last time after a recovery from Hodgkin’s lymphoma and she will get the chance to return to the biggest stage of all, having drawn the world No. 1 Barty in the first round. The match is sure to be on Centre Court and both women deserve that.

Losers

Adrian Mannarino

The Frenchman may be a nice man, but on Tuesday at the All England Club, he will be the enemy when he plays Federer in round one. Federer has always been perhaps the most popular player on the Tour but in what could prove to be his final Wimbledon, anyone cheering for his opponent will have to have some pretty thick skin. What’s French for villain?

Sloane Stephens

After a difficult 12 months, Stephens showed some encouraging signs at Roland Garros as she reached the fourth round only to fall to the eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova. But the American now faces one of the toughest tasks in tennis, up against the two-time champion Petra Kvitova in the first round. Stephens actually leads their head to head 2-1 but Kvitova is hugely popular and has the ideal game for grass.

The fans (sort of)

Though Wimbledon will be at 50 percent capacity throughout the Championships and have full crowds for both singles finals, the fact that some of the biggest names in the game are not playing may take some of the gloss off. Nadal, Dominic Thiem and the defending women’s champion Halep are all missing through injury while Osaka is taking time off for mental health reasons.

Big names are always popular with the fans but it’s a chance for others to make their name too.

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