Novak Djokovic will have a difficult road ahead of him in his bid to retain the Wimbledon title, including a dangerous opponent on his debut and the possibility of meeting Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals.
The world number one will meet German Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first round on Monday. Djokovic’s bid for his first French Open title was thwarted by losing to Wawrinka in the final and he could meet the Swiss again in an eventual top-four clash.
The good thing for the Serbian is that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray – the other members of the “Big Four and former Wimbledon champions – do not appear in their sector of the men’s draw key.
Serena Williams, who is looking to claim her third Grand Slam title of the season, will also have a demanding journey.
She would have to battle three former world number ones — Venus, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova — to reach the women’s final.
With Federer, Nadal and Murray left at the other end of the draw, there are several intriguing possibilities for the second week at the All England Club. Nadal and Murray could meet in the quarterfinals, with the possibility of meeting Federer in the semifinals.
If Djokovic makes it through the first round against Kohlschreiber, currently ranked 33rd in the world, the Serb could then run into Lleyton Hewitt. Champion of the 2002 edition, Hewitt disputes his last Wimbledon and has always enjoyed enormous sympathy in The cathedral of tennis.
Another Australian, Bernard Tomic, appears as Djokovic’s rival in the third round, while the Japanese Kei Nishikori would be his rival in the quarterfinals. Nishikori beat Djokovic in the semifinals of the last US Open.
Nadal, a two-time champion of the tournament, starts as the 10th seed after a disappointing season in which he lost at Roland Garros for just the second time in his career. He could face his Spanish compatriot David Ferrer in the round of 16. Nadal’s debut will be against the Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.
Murray faces a tough draw in his quest for a second crown, with the local favorite facing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the round of 16, Nadal in the quarters, Federer in the semis and Djokovic in the final.
Switzerland’s Federer, on the hunt for a record eight Wimbledon titles, will open against Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur and face Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.
In the women’s draw, top-seeded Williams would meet sister Venus in the round of 16, Azarenka in the quarters and Sharapova in the semis.
Serena’s first obstacle will be Margarita Gasparyan, a Russian who has just overcome the previous phase.
Petra Kvitova, the Czech who defends the title, was in the other sector of the bracket and could face the Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, the finalist last year, in the quarterfinals.