The Wimbledon 2015 draw was recently released and action starts on Monday at the All England Club. Andy Murray, the three seed at this year’s event, has what appears to be a fair draw through the first three rounds of the grass court Grand Slam with more challenging match-ups likely to follow.
Murray, in the opening round, will face the unheralded Mikhail Kukushkin. The Kazahkstani veteran, currently ranked 58th in the world, has never really been much of a factor in any Grand Slam. Heading into Wimbledon 2015, Kukushkin has just one fourth round appearance from any major, that coming from the 2012 Australian Open. Murray, who enters the match 2-0 heads up against the World No. 58, should not be threatened in the first round and he promises to improve to 3-0 overall against Kukushkin.
In the second round, Murray would face either Robin Haase or Alejandro Falla, two players that have yet to prove themselves in Grand Slams. Falla has just one fourth round appearance in a major as he made it that far at the French Open a few years back. However the Columbian’s best tennis appears to be behind him and he has only made it out of the first round of a major twice since the 2012 US Open.
Murray, instead of Falla, will likely face Haase in the second round. The Netherlands national is a player with a career victory over the Scot however, as of yet, Haase has never really lived up to the mild hype that surrounded him earlier in his career. Haase was expected to challenge players in the Top 25 a handful of years back however as of yet he has not even made the Top 30. In six previous appearances at the All England Club, Haase has made the third round just once and with Murray in his path to the round of 32, the Dutch player appears likely to falter early again this season.
Murray could face a tricky opponent in the the third round. Firstly Andreas Seppi, the 25th seed at Wimbledon this year, is in the Scot’s draw to the fourth round. The Italian has not been all that notable on tour lately however he did oust Roger Federer at Melbourne Park early in 2015. With upstart Borna Coric in Murray’s draw to the round of 16 as well, there could be a competitive match in the third round for the former champion this season.
A likely fourth round opponent for Murray is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a player who will surely have the Scot’s full attention. Tsonga resurged at the recently completed French Open and, playing at his best, he’s a threat to make the late rounds of the grass court Grand Slam. The Frenchman did just that in the earlier parts of this decade although he would still be the underdog in most people’s minds should he draw Murray next Monday. Nonetheless, should Murray and Tsonga face one another in the fourth round it would definitely be one to watch.
In the late rounds of the tournament, the Scot currently shares a draw to the semis with both Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer. For the former’s part, Nadal has not enjoyed a strong season so far in 2015 and Murray would likely relish the opportunity to claim a win over the Spaniard at Wimbledon. For the latter’s part, Ferrer has never really been a distinguished player at SW19 with just two quarterfinal appearances in his lengthy career. While either Ferrer or Nadal are capable of putting a strong match together, neither appears poised to upset Murray on grass at this point.
Accordingly, I expect Murray to make the semifinals at the All England Club where he would likely face either Tomas Berdych or Roger Federer. I see such a match-up as favorable to the Scot: Berdych rarely plays well in the late rounds of tournaments and Federer’s edge appears to be lost in the five-set matches. If anyone should get into Murray’s way ahead of the final, my expectation is that it would actually be Tsonga, a player with a recent win over Murray from the Canadian Masters last season.
However popular opinion is that Murray will face Novak Djokovic in the final at Wimbledon 2015. The Serb, following a surprise loss in the Roland Garros final and a questionable tune-up for Wimbledon, might just be ripe for the pickings. Arguably, Wimbledon 2015 is the Scot’s best opportunity to add to his Grand Slam title total.