Federer headlines day two
Originally published on 03/07/17 00:00
The 35-year-old is brimming with a confidence after an outstanding 2017 and he is the firm favourite to lift the title he craves more than any other. The seven-time champion is fresh after skipping the clay-court season and he is adamant that avoiding the red dirt was the correct decision.
“There was no compromise from me,” said the Swiss ahead of 19th Wimbledon campaign. “I’ve given myself the best chance for the grass and I would never look back and have regrets once I came here.
“I was ready to play in Paris but I just didn’t feel ready to come back in Madrid or Rome. Anything but winning there (at the French Open) would feel like I’m not giving myself the best chance for Wimbledon. We all felt within my team that it was better to save myself for the rest of the season and not just for the grass-court season.”
The unpredictable Alexandr Dolgopolov will provide the Australian Open champion with his first test. The pair have met three times – but never on grass – and Federer has yet to taste defeat.
Dolgopolov, ranked No.84, is unpredictable and dangerous. His career has been derailed by injuries and illness but he remains a talented shotmaker. The unorthodox 28-year-old is rarely involved in drab contests and he is unlikely to overawed by the prospect of challenging the Swiss on Centre Court.
Five Matches to Watch
Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Martin Klizan (SVK)
Djokovic, fresh from winning a 68th career title in Eastbourne, has been handed a tough first round assignment. The Serbian has won all three meetings with his latest opponent however he will be wary of the threat posed by the Slovakian.
Klizan, who can be impetuous, possesses a ferocious forehand and he can inflict significant damage with his favoured weapon. The No.47 has never been beyond the second round of Wimbledon and his recent form has been poor. He is a streaky player, though, and he could turn on the style at any point.
Dominic Thiem (AUT) v Vasek Pospisil (CAN)
This could be a troublesome match for Thiem, who has never made it past the second round at Wimbledon. He suffered a humbling defeat to the No.222, Ramkumar Ramanathan, at the Antalya Open last week and grass remains his weakest surface.
In contrast, Pospisil, who reached the last eight in 2015, is at ease on the lush lawns in SW19 and his unrelenting attacking approach is perfectly suited to quicker surfaces. If he can successfully execute his gameplan, he will like his chances of securing an upset win.
Richard Gasquet (FRA) v David Ferrer (ESP)
It has been a difficult 18 months for former French Open finalist, David Ferrer, and this could be his last trip to Wimbledon. The tenacious 35-year-old is sliding down the rankings and the end of his illustrious career appears to be in sight.
The Spaniard has won nine of his 12 previous encounters with his French opponent and he will hope to have a lengthy stay in South-West London.
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) v Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
This is an enticing match-up between a current top 10 player and a former top 10 stalwart.
Radwanska has had an injury-hit season and she lost her only grass-court match in the build-up to Wimbledon in Eastbourne. The crafty No.9 seed is vulnerable however it remains to be seen if Jankovic, who is on a three match losing streak, is capable of taking advantage.
Monica Puig (PUR) v Timea Bacsinszky (SUI)
The Olympic champion has arrived at the All England Club without playing a grass-court warm-up event. Her lack of match action in recent weeks may hinder her chances against the Swiss, who reached the semi-finals of the French Open last month.
Bacsinszky prepared for Wimbledon by playing in Eastbourne and she was eliminated at the first hurdle. The 28-year-old managed to reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 2015, though, and she will need to be alert to survive a tricky first test.