Sunday 22 September, 2019

Wimbledon '19: Djokovic, Federer, Nadal lead the way again

In this July 15, 2018 file picture, Serbia's Novak Djokovic lifts the trophy after winning the men's singles final against Kevin Anderson, of South Africa, at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London.

In this July 15, 2018 file picture, Serbia's Novak Djokovic lifts the trophy after winning the men's singles final against Kevin Anderson, of South Africa, at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London.

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Men to watch at Wimbledon, where play begins Monday:

NOVAK DJOKOVIC

Seeded: 1
Ranked: 1
Country: Serbia
Age: 32
2019 Match Record: 28-6
2019 Singles Titles: 2
Career Singles Titles: 74
Grand Slam Singles Titles: 15 — Wimbledon (4: 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018), Australian Open (7: 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019), French Open (1: 2016), U.S. Open (3: 2011, 2015, 2018)

Last 5 Wimbledons: 2018-Won Championship, 2017-Lost in quarterfinals, 2016-3rd, 2015-W, 2014-W

Aces: 26-match Grand Slam winning streak ended with semifinal loss to Dominic Thiem at French Open. ... Champion or runner-up in five of past eight years at Wimbledon. ... This is his sixth time seeded No. 1. ... 5-1 vs. top-10 opponents in 2019.

Topspin: So, yes, it turns out he can lose a major match. Still, Djokovic's form over the past 12 months casts him as the favorite at the All England Club.

ROGER FEDERER

Seeded: 2
Ranked: 3
Country: Switzerland
Age: 37
2019 Match Record: 32-4
2019 Singles Titles: 3
Career Singles Titles: 102

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 20 — Wimbledon (8: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017), French Open (1: 2009), Australian Open (6: 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017, 2018), U.S. Open (5: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)

Last 5 Wimbledons: 2018-QF, 2017-W, 2016-SF, 2015-F, 2014-F

Aces: Career record of 181-26 on grass courts, a winning percentage of .874. ... Won grass tuneup event in Halle, Germany, for 10th time. Oldest man to win tour-level title since 43-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1977. ... 7 ATP titles from tying Jimmy Connors' record.

Topspin: No reason to think he couldn't get to a 12th Wimbledon final, in part because can't face Djokovic until the title match. Finally returning to the clay circuit might have given Federer just the right amount of preparation.

RAFAEL NADAL

Seeded: 3
Ranked: 2
Country: Spain
Age: 33
2019 Match Record: 32-5
2019 Singles Titles: 2
Career Singles Titles: 82

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 18 — Wimbledon (2: 2008, 2010), Australian Open (1: 2009), French Open (12: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019), U.S. Open (3: 2010, 2013, 2017)

Last 5 Wimbledons: 2018-W, 2017-W, 2016-3rd, 2015-QF, 2014-W

Aces: Reached the final in five consecutive appearances, including two titles, from 2006-11. But is only 13-6 in past six trips to Wimbledon, with four of those losses coming against opponents ranked 100th or worse.

Topspin: Sure looked good while winning record 12th championship in Paris and narrowing gap between himself and Federer for most major trophies won by a man. Can he regain his footing on grass?

DOMINIC THIEM

Seeded: 5
Ranked: 4
Country: Austria
Age: 25
2019 Match Record: 23-9
2019 Singles Titles: 2
Career Singles Titles: 13

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: RU, French Open (2018, 2019)

Last 5 Wimbledons: 2018-1st, 2017-4th, 2016-2nd, 2015-2nd, 2014-1st

Aces: Only 5-5 for his career at the All England Club. ... Split with his longtime coach Gunter Bresnik to team up with 2004 Olympic gold medalist Nicolas Massu ahead of the clay circuit.

Topspin: Has proven he is as close to a No. 2 player on clay as there is, losing to Rafael Nadal in each of the past two French Open finals. Now he needs to translate that success to other surfaces.

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS

Seeded: 7
Ranked: 6
Country: Greece
Age: 20
2019 Match Record: 34-14
2019 Singles Titles: 2
Career Singles Titles: 3

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: SF, Australian Open (2019)

Last 5 Wimbledons: 2018-4th, 2017-1st, 2016-Did Not Play, 2015-DNP, 2014-DNP

Aces: Leads tour in match wins in 2019. ... Run to second week in 2018 bodes well for him this year and in the future at Wimbledon.

Topspin: His ability to get to the net and volley should make him a threat at the All England Club.

JOHN ISNER

Seeded: 9
Ranked: 12
Country: United States
Age: 34
2019 Match Record: 15-7
2019 Singles Titles: 0
Career Singles Titles: 14

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: SF, Wimbledon (2018)

Last 5 Wimbledons: 2018-SF, 2017-2nd, 2016-3rd, 2015-3rd, 2014-3rd

Aces: Has won 94.4% of service games on grass over his career. ... Won the longest match in tournament — and tennis — history (70-68 in the fifth set in 2010's first round) and lost the second-longest match in Wimbledon history (26-24 in the fifth set in last year's semifinals).

Topspin: A foot injury kept him out of the French Open, so unclear how fit he'll be at the All England Club, where he'd never been past the third round in 9 previous appearances.

MARIN CILIC

Seeded: 13
Ranked: 18
Country: Croatia
Age: 30
2019 Match Record: 10-9
2019 Singles Titles: 0
Career Singles Titles: 18

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — U.S. Open (2014)

Last 5 Wimbledons: 2018-2nd, 2017-RU, 2016-QF, 2015-QF, 2014-QF

Aces: Working with Wayne Ferreira for coaching during the grass-court season. ... Last man to become a first-time major champion, five years ago.

Topspin: With his serve and big-stage success, should be able to make a deep run if he is feeling healthy.

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