2017 Wimbledon Men’s Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The peak of summer has arrived, and with it Wimbledon in London will begin again on Monday. Here is your complete preview, with predictions.
July 3-16, 2017
London, Great Britain
Prize Money: £14,840,000
Top 8 seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Andy Murray (1)
2: Novak Djokovic (2)
3: Roger Federer (4)
4: Rafael Nadal (5)
5: Stan Wawrinka (3)
6: Milos Raonic (6)
7: Marin Cilic (8)
8: Dominic Thiem (9)
The biggest player missing is David Goffin, dirtballers Pablo Carreno Busta and Pablo Cuevas are also out, as is Britain’s Daniel Evans, who failed a drug test.
First round matches to watch:
Denis Shapovalov vs. Jerzy Janowicz
Talented young Canadian Shapovalov makes his slam debut with a winnable but difficult contest against the big hitter Janowicz. The Polish player is a former Wimbledon semifinalist, but his lack of work ethic has crushed his ATP level talents and he’s still languishing outside of the top 150. Janowicz has enough game to win this, but don’t count Shapovalov out, he’s a hard worker and plays well beyond his years.
(31)Fernando Verdasco vs. Kevin Anderson
Both Verdasco and Anderson have reached the second week at Wimbledon before and are solid on grass. These veterans could use a bit of form though and we could be in for a long and shaky contest. Verdasco has more upside, but Anderson’s serve is a steady weapon on fast surfaces, and he should secure tiebreaks to win.
(5)Stan Wawrinka vs. Daniil Medvedev
Wawrinka has made two Wimbledon quarterfinals, and some are calling him a dark horse this year, but his form has been terrible on grass the past couple of seasons, and it seems his long backswing really disadvantages him on the grass. Medvedev has been in red hot form with a 9-3 record on the grass this season. The young Russian is due for a breakthrough win, and I’ll back him to get it on a fast surface that suits his game. Look for Wawrinka to be the first major Wimbledon casualty.
(7)Marin Cilic vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber
Both players have reached the quarters at Wimbledon, but Cilic has done it three years in a row and he’s in better form, with a legitimate shot to be the dark horse contender for the final, and possibly the title. He’ll need to go against the h2h in this matchup though, as Kohli has won 6 out of 9 meetings in this matchup. Cilic’s form is a bit better though, and the Croatian should find his way.
(27)Mischa Zverev vs. Bernard Tomic
Despite struggling this season, the former quarterfinalist Tomic just beat Zverev on grass rather easily, and Wimbledon is his best slam, as it suits his funky game. Zverev is a late bloomer with a lethal serve and volley game when he’s clicking though and this could turn into a very long match. Tomic is the favorite, but I’ll go with Zverev to keep his mettle and win a likely five setter, Tomic’s inconsistency is a great worry.
(8)Dominic Thiem vs. Vasek Pospisil
Thiem is just 1-2 on grass this year and has never played well at Wimbledon. Pospisil is 9-3 and once reached the quarters at SW19, the Canadian has fallen in the rankings, but his serve is still dangerous, and given how awful Thiem’s game has looked in his two grass court outings, I’ll go with Pospisil in the upset, in what should be a big boost to his confidence. Pospisil has the talent to win this.
(19)Feliciano Lopez vs. Adrian Mannarino
A three-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist, the 35 year old Lopez is in some of the best form his career on grass with a 9-1 record that includes a final and a title at Queen’s club. Mannarino just reached the final in Antalya on grass and also has talent on this fast surface, but fatigue could play a factor in his performance. Look for the veteran Lopez to get this win, and take his serve and volley game deeper into the tournament, where he will threaten some of the top players.
(29)Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis
Both players are comeback kids, having overcome injuries to return to the ATP tour. Kokkinakis is still easing his way back but his game is suited for fast surfaces, Del Potro has not had grass court prep but he’s look competitive in his return to the game, and of course the former semifinalist has lethal power on grass. Del Potro is a worthy favorite, but we’ll see if this match turns into a larger battle.
The defending and two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has struggled at the ATP level this season but he rose up to reach the semis on clay at the French Open, and on a better surface for his game he should presumably be able to survive the early rounds and get himself into form. He’ll start with lucky loser Alexander Bublik, with Dustin Brown/Joao Sousa to follow, Brown can be dangerous but he’s far from consistent. I have Jiri Vesely as Murray’s opponent in round 3, Vesely will face qualifier Illya Marchenko, with Dmitry Tursunov/Fabio Fognini to follow, it’s a weak section on grass Vesely likely has a slight edge before falling to Murray.
Nick Kyrgios has been unfit, but his game is great for grass. He’ll have to get past the serve and volleyer Pierre-Hugues Herbert, and if he does that he should be favored against Benoit Paire/Rogerio Dutra Silva in round 2. I have Lucas Pouille defeating Malek Jaziri and Shapovalov/Janowicz, before falling to Kyrgios in the third round. Pouille has been improving on grass as of late.
I have Kevin Anderson defeating Verdasco, then the recently in-form Andreas Seppi (who opens with Norbert Gombos), Anderson should reach the second week, and I have him doing so against Tommy Haas. After Tomic, Haas will face Wawrinka/Medvedev, and despite his age he remains a threat at Wimbledon.
Despite two career Wimbledon semifinal appearances, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has struggled lately and isn’t a threat this tournament. He’ll open with Cam Norrie, Simone Bolelli or Rendy Lu will follow, and Sam Querrey is his likely third round opponent. Querrey has a game suited for grass, he should defeat Thomas Fabbiano and Carlos Berlocq/Nikoloz Basilashvili to reach the third round. Neither player is in great form, but Tsonga has a higher ceiling so I’ll back him for round 4.
The two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal has struggled on grass in recent years, but his form has come back in a big way this season and he’s worth backing early on against John Millman, Donald Young/Denis Istomin and Karen Khachanov in the third round. Khachanov has shown great form on grass and is rising rapidly in the rankings, the young Russian should defeat his countryman Andrey Kuznetsov, plus Andrew Whittington/Thiago Monteiro before falling to Rafa.
Big servers Ivo Karlovic and Gilles Muller look set for a third round clash, Karlovic opens with Aljaz Bedene, Muller faces Marton Fucsovics, then big hitter Lukas Rosol or Henri Laaksonen. Karlovic faces Damir Dzhumur/Renzo Olivo in round 2, with Muller in great form on grass and having a solid season, he’s a favorite to reach the second week.
After Kohlschreiber, I have Marin Cilic catching fire and defeating Viktor Troicki/Florian Mayer, and Steve Johnson to reach the second week. Johnson opens with dirtballer Nicolas Kicker, then Radu Albot or Facundo Bagnis. Cilic should have too much power for the forehand centric Johnson.
Both Roberto Bautista Agut and Kei Nishikori have made the second week at Wimbledon before, and they look set for a third round clash. RBA opens with Andreas Haider-Maurer, then Marius Copil or Peter Gojowczyk, Nishikori will look to overcome a hip injury against Marco Cecchinato, and then Sergiy Stakhovsky/Julien Benneteau. With fitness a concern for Kei and his somewhat pedestrian play this year, I have RBA reaching the fourth round.
A seven-time champion at Wimbledon, Roger Federer won the title in Halle and again finds himself the favorite at his favorite Grand Slam. The legend will begin his journey against erratic shotmaker Alexandr Dolgopolov, then Dusan Lajovic/Stefanos Tsitsipas, I have him facing Mischa Zverev round 3, but Tomic is also an option. Taro Daniel/Mikhail Kukushkin are the other players in this section, I’d be surprised if Federer dropped a set through three matches.
A former Wimbledon semifinalist, Grigor Dimitrov should defeat Diego Schwartzman, James Ward/Marcos Baghdatis, and John Isner to reach week 2. Dimitrov has been up and down this year, but right now seems closer to up than down, and Baghdatis is injured. Isner opens with Taylor Fritz, with Dudi Sela/Marcel Granollers to follow, he’s good enough to win two rounds with his serve but I don’t trust his form this season.
Defending finalist Milos Raonic has been flat in his return from injury, he should serve and volley past J.L. Struff, then defeat Nicolas Mahut/Mikhail Youzhny, and Jordan Thompson in this week section, but he’s another name that is not in good form to challenge for the title. The Aussie Thompson stunned Murray at Queen’s, he faces Albert Ramos, who prefers clay, then Andrey Rublev or Stefano Travaglia.
Young gun Alexander Zverev rebounded from disappointment at Roland Garros to go 6-2 on grass, he should find form this slam against Evgeny Donskoy and Robin Haase/Frances Tiafoe to reach round 3. Jack Sock opens with Christian Garin, Thomaz Bellucci or Sebastian Ofner will follow, and with Sock not playing his best, Zverev should reach round 4.
Three-time Wimbledon Champion Novak Djokovic just won in Eastbourne on grass and heads into his match with Martin Klizan holding positive momentum. Djokovic should ease past Ernesto Escobedo/Adam Pavlasek in round 2, and then defeat Del Potro in the third round. After Kokkinakis I have Del Potro beating Ernests Gulbis/Victor Estrella in round 2, before succumbing to Djokovic.
Feliciano Lopez will face Antalya Champ Yuichi Sugita or Brydan Klein, presuming Gael Monfils knee is alright he should defeat big hitter Daniel Brands, then Kyle Edmund/Alex Ward in round 2. I have Lopez over Monfils in the third round to reach week 2.
I have Vasek Pospisil making a run to round 4, after Thiem, a struggling Gilles Simon or Nicolas Jarry will be up in round 2, one of Janko Tipsarevic/Jared Donaldson or Horacio Zeballos/Paolo Lorenzi will be up in round 3. Tipsarevic could make the the third round as Donaldson and neither Zeballos/Lorenzi are good on grass, this is a very weak section.
Richard Gasquet is in great form, Gasquet should thump a struggling David Ferrer, Steve Darcis/Ricardas Berankis, and Tomas Berdych. The former Wimbledon semifinalist Gasquet looks to be a real threat to go deep into the tournament. Berdych faces Jeremy Chardy and then Borna Coric or Ryan Harrison, his power should give him an edge.
Dark Horses (one for each section): Kevin Anderson, Gilles Muller, Jordan Thompson, and Vasek Pospisil
Anderson, Muller, and Pospisil have dangerous serves, while Thompson is skilled enough on grass that they all have a chance to rise up and make a big impact despite their non-elite ranking.
Round of 16
Murray d. Kyrgios
Anderson d. Tsonga
Nadal d. Muller
Cilic d. Bautista Agut
Zverev d. Raonic
Federer d. Dimitrov
Gasquet d. Pospisil
Djokovic d. Lopez
I have Anderson beating Tsonga based on form, Murray, Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic should be good enough to reach the last 8. Cilic and Zverev should be favorites on form, while Gasquet benefits from a favorable draw.
Murray d. Anderson
Cilic d. Nadal
Federer d. Zverev
Djokovic d. Gasquet
On grass Nadal remains at a disadvantage, and I’ll go with Cilic in an upset, the other big three should be somewhat safe as Federer just beat Zverev in Halle rather easily in the final.
Murray d. Cilic
Federer d. Djokovic
The defending champion against the best grass court player of all-time is a fitting final, Federer’s form should see him capture a victory.
Federer d. Murray