World No. 1 Rafael Nadal faces a difficult draw at Wimbledon this year
Spain's Nadal has been upset at the All England Club the previous two years
Defending champion Andy Murray's path to the latter stages looks uncomplicated
Serena Williams is also bidding to reclaim the Wimbledon title after losing early in 2013
Rafael Nadal has been upset early at Wimbledon the past two seasons. His opponents in the opening rounds this year aren’t easy, either.
Nadal, coming off a record-extending ninth French Open title and 14th major overall, begins with dangerous Slovak left-hander Martin Klizan and then could face the man who beat him in 2012 in the second round, Lukas Rosol.
Ivo Karlovic, who possesses one of the game’s biggest serves ever, might confront Nadal in the third round.
But here’s something that should give the world No. 1’s fans hope: Nadal owns a splendid record against left-handers, is rarely upset by the same player twice and Karlovic owns a 2-21 record versus the so-called “Big Four” of Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
Second-seeded Nadal – Wimbledon has flexibility in its seedings and gave Djokovic the top billing – was placed in the same half as Federer, who is seeking an eighth crown at tennis’ most famous postcode of SW19.
Federer – ousted prior to the quarterfinals in three of his last four majors – starts against Italian Paolo Lorenzi before potentially meeting Julien Benneteau. Benneteau stretched Federer to five sets at Wimbledon in 2012.
Defending champion Andy Murray has no such trouble, it seems. He is in the same quarter as David Ferrer, who prospers on clay and hard courts. Djokovic opens against Andrey Golubev.
Serena Williams fell to Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon one year ago and was upset in the second round of the French Open. She has landed in the same quarter as French Open winner Maria Sharapova and French Open semifinalists Eugenie Bouchard and Andrea Petkovic.
Top-seed Williams could play Bouchard in the fourth round and Sharapova in the quarterfinals. It was 10 years ago that a 17-year-old Sharapova stunned the tennis world by opening her grand slam account at Wimbledon.
If the seedings hold, 17-time grand slam champion Williams would face second-seed Li Na in the final.
Like Williams, Li was bundled out of the French Open in the first week, eliminated by Kristina Mladenovic in the first round.