Six men to watch at Wimbledon



Originally published on 02/07/17 00:00

Marin Cilic (CRO)

Ranking: 6

Best Wimbledon Result: (Quarter-finals 2014, 2015, 2016)

First Round Opponent: Philipp Kohlschreiber

The Croatian came agonisingly close to winning a second Queen’s Club title last weekend and he will be pleased with his current form.

Cilic has been upended at the quarter-final stage of Wimbledon for the last three years and he will rue his defeat to Federer at the 2016 Championships. He squandered three match-point opportunities against the Swiss and his own lax play contributed to his downfall.

The 28-year-old has significant weaponry at his disposal and the door is ajar for a new name to lift the most coveted trophy in tennis. It could well be time for Cilic to follow in the footsteps of his former coach and countryman, Goran Ivaniševic, and write his name into Wimbledon folklore.

Nick Kyrgios (AUS)

Ranking: 20

Best Wimbledon Result: Quarter-finals 2014

First Round Opponent: Pierre-Hugues Herbert

The inimitable 22-year-old has been focused and composed this year. A disappointing Australian Open was quickly forgotten as he defeated Novak Djokovic twice in a two week period and he was unlucky to be eliminated at the semi-final stage of the Miami Open.

Kyrgios possesses the raw materials required to prosper on the manicured lawns in SW19. He bludgeoned his way past Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014 to announce his arrival on the world stage and Centre Court could be the venue of his first major triumph.

It has been an injury-hit few months for the Australian and it remains to be seen if he will be fit enough to challenge at Wimbledon.

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)

Ranking: 11

Best Wimbledon result: Semi-finals 2014

First Round Opponent: Diego Schwartzman

Three years ago, the Bulgarian had the Centre Court crowd in rapturous as he came close to reaching the Wimbledon final. The Bulgarian appeared ready to crash the ‘Big Four’ party however his stay in the top 10 was short-lived.

Dimitrov has made significant progress under the tutelage of Dani Vallverdu and he is on an upward trajectory once again. Grass is undoubtedly his best surface and if he is to ever become a major champion, then it’s most likely going to be achieved in London.

If the 26-year-old is going to harbour aspirations of going deep into the second week then his backhand, which was a liability in his defeat to Feliciano Lopez at the Aegon Championships, will need to improve considerably.

Lucas Pouille (FRA)

Ranking: 15

Best Wimbledon result: Quarter-finals 2016

First Round Opponent: Malek Jaziri

The skilled Frenchman reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon last year and his recent triumph at the Stuttgart Open once again highlighted his capabilities on the surface.

Pouille is an excellent all-rounder and his variety is what sets him apart from other players in his age range. His willingness to venture into the forecourt and showcase his volleying skills is what makes him so dangerous on grass.

Sam Querrey (USA)

Ranking: 28

Best Wimbledon Result: Quarter-finals 2016

First Round Opponent: Thomas Fabbiano

Querrey’s unlikely victory over Djokovic last summer highlighted the level of performance he is capable of producing. The 29-year-old has significant attacking arsenal at his disposal and he should be a permanent fixture inside the top 20 however his laid-back personality is at odds with his aggressive gamestyle.

The American should be targeting the second week once again.

Mischa Zverev

Ranking: 30

Best Wimbledon Result: 3rd Round 2008

First Round Opponent: Bernard Tomic

The German may not have been beyond the third round of Wimbledon before, but he will relish the opportunity to take part in the main draw for the first time in eight years. Zverev, who stunned Andy Murray at the Australian Open in January, was defeated by Federer in two tight sets in Halle last week.

Zverev is most at ease in the forecourt and his form this season suggests he could spring a surprise in London. His serve-volley gamestyle is almost extinct in the modern era and he will be a dangerous proposition in the first week of the tournament.


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