Wimbledon mens draw: Murray avoids Federer
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:36
Andy Murray has been drawn in the top half of the Wimbledon draw, and was in line to meet defending champion Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals before the world No.1 announced his withdrawal from the Championships on Friday evening.
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Nadal, who had been drawn against Arnaud Clement in the first round at SW19, appeared hampered by lack of movement as he lost to Lleyton Hewitt and Stanislas Wawrinka at the Fortis Bank Tennis Classic last week, and despite nearly three weeks of intensive treatment to tendinitis in both knees decided that he was not fit enough to defend his crown.
The draw has now been reshuffled, with No.5 seed Juan Martin del Potro installed into Nadal’s place in the draw, with No.17 seed James Blake replacing the Argentine in what has emerged as the most open quarter of the draw – with former finalist David Ferrer, Radek Stepanek and Andy Roddick.
Murray has been drawn against world No.76 Robert Kendrick in the first round. The No.3 seed has a 3-0 career head-to-head record against the big serving American, having only dropped one set to him in the past.
The Scot could face Marat Safin or Gilles Simon in the fourth round, and a potential quarter-final rematch with Fernando Gonzalez, who knocked Murray out at the same stage of the French Open.
In the other half, Roger Federer will play the first match on Centre Court in Nadal’s absence against Yen-Hsun Li, a man that has not progressed beyond the first round in the past three years. The five-time champion is in the same quarter of the draw as Fernando Verdasco and the same half as Novak Djokovic, who plays Julien Benneteau.
Safin, last years surprise semi-finalist, will player 21-year-old qualifier Jesse Levine in the first round. The Russian, set to retire at the end of the year, pulled out of Queens last week with a back injury, but is determined to play at SW19 one last time.
2008 junior champion Grigor Dimitrov will face Igor Kunitsyn in his first senior outing at a Grand Slam, chasing a showdown with either Roddick or Jeremy Chardy in round 2.
But it was bad news for Murray’s compatriots after a tough draw for the British boys. Dan Evans is up against Nikolay Davydenko in the first round, while James Ward faces Fernando Verdasco. Alex Bogdanovic takes on Tomas Berdych, and Josh Goodall faces Michael Llodra.