Wimbledon: Djokovic given tough draw in bid to defend title

  • AFP, London
  • Updated: Jun 26, 2015 17:06 IST

Former champions Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal were all placed in the same half of the Wimbledon draw announced on Friday, while defending champion Novak Djokovic was placed in the other half.

However, the Serb may have to beat third-seeded Stan Wawrinka, the man who defeated him in the French Open final earlier this month and denied him the Career Grand Slam, in the semi-finals.

Djokovic begins his title defence against experienced German Philipp Kohlschreiber before a possible second-round clash with 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt, who is playing in his last Wimbledon. If the seedings work out, the last 16 would see Djokovic face Kevin Anderson of South Africa, US Open champion Marin Cilic against Kei Nishikori, Wawrinka facing David Goffin, and Grigor Dimitrov taking on Milos Raonic.

In the bottom half, seven-time champion and second seed Federer could face Feliciano Lopez, Tomas Berdych would meet Gilles Simon, 2013 winner Murray could play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, with two-time champion Nadal, seeded 10 this year, up against compatriot David Ferrer.

Federer, the holder of 17 Grand Slam titles and the runner-up to Djokovic last year, starts his campaign against Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur, who he beat in the French Open third round.

Murray, the third seed and 2013 champion, begins against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan. That's a clash which will invite more questions over women coaching men as Murray has Amelie Mauresmo in his corner while Kukushkin is coached by his wife Anastasia.

French Open champion Wawrinka, who has never gotten past the quarter-finals at the All England Club, starts against Portugal's Joao Sousa.

Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion who is down at his lowest ranking for a decade, begins with a clash against Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci.

In the women's draw, five-time champion Serena Williams and 2004 winner Maria Sharapova were drawn to meet in the semi-finals. Top seed and world number one Williams, who is bidding to hold all four majors at the same time for the second time in her career -- 'the Serena Slam' -- has a 17-2 record over Sharapova. The Russian's last win over the American was in the 2004 Wimbledon final.

Serena could meet sister Venus, a fellow five-time champion and playing in her 18th Wimbledon, in the fourth round. Serena starts against Russian world number 113, Margarita Gasparyan.

First up, Sharapova will take on British wild card Johanna Konta, who made the quarter-finals on grass in Eastbourne this week.

Second seed and defending champion Petra Kvitova would potentially meet Simona Halep in the semi-finals. Kvitova, also champion in 2011, starts against Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.

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