LONDON: Defending champion Novak Djokovic avoided his three biggest traditional rivals in the Wimbledon draw on Friday as the other members of tennis’ “Big Four” were all placed on the opposite side.
Serena Williams had no such luck in the women’s draw, where she may have to get past a trio of former No. 1s — sister Venus, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova — just to get to the final.
The draw at the All England Club set up a number of intriguing possibilities for the upcoming two weeks, especially with former champions Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal all grouped together in the bottom half of the men’s draw. Murray and Nadal could face each other in the quarterfinals, with Federer possible awaiting the winner in the semis.
The bottom half also includes former finalist Tomas Berdych and former semifinalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, leaving Djokovic facing a possible semifinal against Stan Wawrinka, the man who beat him in the French Open final.
Djokovic does face a potentially tricky start of the tournament, though, as he’ll open play on Centre Court on Monday against German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber and could face Australian former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the second round. Hewitt, the 2002 champion, is playing Wimbledon for the final time and has always enjoyed huge crowd support at the All England Club.
Another Australian, Bernard Tomic, could then await Djokovic in the third round, while Kei Nishikori of Japan is a potential quarterfinal opponent.