2016 Wimbledon Championships: Matches we hope to seeJune 28, 2016
The All-England Club announced the full list of seeds for the 2016 Wimbledon Championships. As expected, the list was slightly different from the latest ATP rankings. Past results were considered, which would explain how Richard Gasquet ended up as the seventh seed. (The Frenchman reached the semifinals last year.) This year's tournament intrigues fans for many reasons. Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl were reunited at Queens. Milos Raonic hired John McEnroe. Stan Wawrinka enlisted Richard Krajicek's expertise. Boris Becker was quite surprised at Lendl's return, but let's not put too much meaning into it.
The draw will be known two days later, but some fans were wishing for something. It won't be the silver gilt cup, which could be a nasty issue among the ardent supporters of the game's top players. Let's list it down:
Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Nick Kyrgios (15). The native of Canberra, who made it to the final eight two years ago, benefited from the new seeding system. Kyrgios is formidable in grass despite his opening-round loss to Raonic in the Aegon Championships. Wally Masur believed the 21-year-old to be a legitimate contender at the All England Club, and no one would question him. In fact, his higher seeing would mean that he could be around during the second week. Djokovic, the three-time champion at the All England Club, hasn't played Kyrgios. This might be the right time for their first head-to-head match. It's hard to predict the outcome, but Kyrgios might learn a few things from Djokovic's five-set victory over Kevin Anderson last year.
Milos Raonic (6) vs. John Isner (18). Some would see a mismatch as Raonic had McEnroe by his side. The Canadian lost to Andy Murray in the finals of the Aegon Championships, which some would point to his lack of experience in the big matches. McEnroe is a seven-time Grand Slam champion, but coaching is a different ballgame. On the other hand, Isner is no stranger to tough situations. Long matches won't discourage him. (Many fans still recall his three-day marathon match against Nicolas Mahut in 2010.) Isner might come out as a winner if he manages to maintain his high percentage of the first serve.
Andy Murray (2) vs. Dominic Thiem (8). It's hard to tell the outcome of this match. On paper, Murray will beat Thiem in straight sets. But the Austrian won four tournaments this year. Not a few would point out that most of his victories happened on the clay courts, but the 22-year-old beat Roger Federer in the semifinals of the Mercedes Cup. He might turn out to be an exceptional player in the other courts. This match may go the distance.
Stan Wawrinka (4) vs. Alexander Zverev (24). The German teenager became the youngest player to enter the Top 30 since Djokovic in 2006. He stunned Federer at the Halle Open. A third-round upset could happen unless Wawrinka would have enough tips from Krajicek, the 1996 champion.
Richard Gasquet (7) vs. Kevin Anderson (20). The South African veteran would recall his tough loss to Djokovic last year. He reached the last 16 of a major tournament on seven occasions, but he failed to advance to the quarterfinals. (It wasn't the case after the US Open last summer, where he lost to Wawrinka in the quarters.) Against Djokovic, he was leading by two sets. It might be his lack of big matches, it could be bad luck. He learned from it, but it would be a question of how far he could go. Gasquet could help him find out. The Frenchman, who was once number seven in the world, had his best results on the grass courts of the All England Club. He might not be able to lift a Grand Slam trophy, but he can reach the semifinals for the third time. This match can go to five sets, though. It's all about mental stamina, and fans can make a good guess.
The tournament will be incomplete without floaters. They are the players who have good results on the grass courts, but their current ranking wasn't high enough to guarantee a seed at the All England Club. The seeded players must be wary of the following:
Grigor Dimitrov (39). The Bulgarian reached the semifinals in 2014, a breakout season for this young star. He would be out of the Top 30, even changed coaches a number of times. Dimitrov lost to Janko TipsareviÄ‡ in the opening round of the Aegon Championships, a tournament that he won two years ago. It's hard to predict his return to the top, but it would be foolish to dismiss his chances at the All England Club.
Marcos Baghdatis (40). The Cypriot had good results at the All England Club, reaching the semifinals in 2006. After struggling with injuries, the 31-year-old made a comeback last season. He lost to David Goffin in the third round last year, and a favorable draw might help him reach the final 16. It will be his first since 2008.
Vasek Pospisil (44). The native of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada won the men's doubles with John Sock two years ago. He was unseeded in last year's championships, yet he made it to the final eight. Luck might have played the part, but he was no slouch in grass.
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