Rafa Nadal, still smarting at being demoted from second to third seed for this year’s Championships at least managed to avoid being in the top half of the draw which features the top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic.
It means that the Spaniard is likely to face the second seeded Roger Federer in the semi-final which would be their first meeting at Wimbledon in 11 years when they played their epic final.
Expectations that it won’t be one of the Big Three lifting the golden cup on finals day are low with Federer one of the favourites to collect his ninth title on Centre Court, despite being 37 years of age. Djokovic meanwhile is chasing his fifth and Nadal his third.
The possible men’s quarter-finals are, in the the half, Djokovic against Stefanos Tsitsipas (7) and last year’s finalist, Kevin Anderson (4) facing Alexander Zverev (6) and, in the bottom half, Federer meeting Kei Nishikori (8) and Nadal taking on the Austrian he defeated for the French title three weeks ago, Dominic Thiem.
Nadal opens against qualifier Yuichi Sugita of Japan while Federer takes on Lloyd Harris a 22-year-old South African making his Wimbledon debut.
Djokovic will get things going on Centre Court on Monday against Philipp Kohlshcreiber, a seasoned opponent who made the last eight at Wimbledon in 2012 and recently defeated him on a hard court at Indian Wells, California.
Other intriguing first round matches pitch Thiem against 2017 semi-finalist Sam Querrey, the12th seeded Fabio Fognini against 21-year-old American Frances Tiafoe; the exciting teenager and No. 19th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime against Vasek Pospisil in an all-Canadian clash; and Nick Kyrgios against Jordan Thompson in an all-Australian confrontation. Should Kyrgios win that he could well face Nadal in round two. He beat the Spaniard in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2014.
In fact Nadal has the toughest draw of the three, for following his possible second round meeting with Kyrgios, he could well face either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Denis Shapovalov in the third round and Marin Cilic in the round of 16 before that rematch with fifth seed Dominic Thiem in the last eight.
Last year he reached the semi-finals but prior to that his best results in the previous six years was the fourth round.
On the British front, eyes will be focused on the Hull teenager Paul Jubb, the first Brit to win the prestigious College championships in the States but he has drawn the experienced Joao Sousa of Portugal. Jubb features in the bottom half and in the same quarter as Dan Evans and James Ward who open their respective challenges against Federico Delbonis of Argentina and Nikoloz Basilashvili, the 18th seed from Georgia.
In the bottom quarter Cameron Norrie faces Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan who lost in the Eastbourne qualifying event to Jubb.
Meanwhile Kyle Edmund, the British No1 seeded 30, finds himself in Djokovic’s quarter of the draw. His first opponent is the talented Spaniard Jaume Munar and if he gets past him, another Spaniard the veteran Fernando Verdasco could well await and then Tsitsipas in the third round.