Roger Federer booked his place in an 18th Wimbledon quarter-final as he secured a straight-sets victory over Lorenzo Sonego.

The Swiss great took firm control after winning a topsy-turvy opener to run out a 7-5 6-4 6-2 winner on Centre Court at the All England Club.

He will now face either Hubert Hurkacz or Daniil Medvedev for a place in the semi-finals as he pursues a 21st grand slam title in SW19.

Sonego's resolve was eventually broken in a thrilling first set that saw Federer go a break up before losing his advantage and then getting it straight back when his opponent double-faulted after a brief rain delay.

And although the Italian had two break points in the final game of that set, his failure to take either marked the end of his challenge in earnest.

A Federer break in the fifth game of the second set helped the eight-time Wimbledon champion extend his advantage to two with little fuss.

And he required just 30 minutes to wrap up the third and continue another deep run in a tournament that has seen some of his best tennis down the years.

Data slam: Federer errs despite victory

Although Federer ultimately cruised to victory in this one, things could have been very different had Sonego taken a nip-and-tuck first set.

And the Italian was given every chance to do so by his opponent, whose 17 unforced errors in the opener – to Sonego's nine – ensured the contest remained cagey.

If Federer is to keep his Wimbledon dream alive as the quality of his opponents increase, he will need to play with greater precision.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Federer – 32/26
Sonego – 23/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Federer – 4/1
Sonego – 4/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Federer – 5/15
Sonego – 1/3

Novak Djokovic cruised into the quarter-finals of Wimbledon with a routine straight-sets win over Cristian Garin.

Djokovic is bidding to tie Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with a record 20th grand slam championship by defending his 2019 title.

Since losing the opening set of the tournament to Jack Draper, Djokovic has been imperious form and he eased past Garin on Centre Court on Monday.

This was not vintage Djokovic, but his consistency on serve, strength on the return and remarkable movement skills helped him secure a 6-2 6-4 6-2 triumph to set up a last-eight meeting with Andrey Rublev or Marton Fucsovics.

Djokovic raced into a commanding position in the first set, winning the opening eight points of the match.

Indeed, Garin, aiming to reach the quarter-finals of a grand slam for the first time, appeared overmatched, winning only 10 points on serve as Djokovic took the first set with ease.

But the Chilean warmed to the occasion and displayed his resilience by saving three break points to hold for a 4-3 lead in a game that lasted over 10 minutes.

Garin's resistance was broken in his next service game through some deft Djokovic touch at the net and, after serving out the second, he broke in style in the first game of the third and raced through to a 50th grand slam quarter-final.

 

Data Slam: First serve fires Djokovic to half-century

Djokovic faced two break points in a one-sided contest, with Garin rarely able to threaten his first serve.

Indeed, Garin won 13 points on return and only three of those came against the Serbian's first serve in a performance he will surely want to forget.

By contrast, Djokovic won 48 per cent of points on Garin's serve and, save for the second set, rarely had to expend much energy in bringing up his half-century.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic – 28/23
Garin – 14/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic – 9/1
Garin – 2/5

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic – 5/12
Garin – 0/2

Unseeded Sebastian Korda agonisingly missed out on a place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals after a crazy fifth set against Karen Khachanov.

Korda has attracted headlines with his run to the last 16 given his family's sporting success - his sister Nelly recently won the Women's PGA Championship while his father Petr is a former Australian Open champion.

The American had seen off seeds in Alex de Minaur and Dan Evans to reach this stage, almost repeating the trick on his 21st birthday against Khachanov on Monday.

However, he ultimately fell to defeat as Khachanov won 3-6 6-4 6-3 5-7 10-8 in a classic clash that lasted just short of four hours.

After Korda had forced a decider, there were 13 breaks of serve in a remarkable final set on Court 18.

Khachanov had a break advantage at 5-4, 6-5 and 7-6 but Korda – who racked up 56 winners - denied him from serving it out for victory on each occasion.

The Russian finally was able to get over the line after breaking his American opponent at 8-8 and finally holding serve.

Following his gruelling win, Khachanov will play Denis Shapovalov next after the Canadian - conqueror of Andy Murray in the previous round - saw off Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets.

Shapovalov won 6-1 6-3 7-5 to eliminate the eighth seed and reach his second grand slam quarter-final.

Elsewhere, seventh seed Matteo Berrettini continued his serene progress at Wimbledon, thrashing Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-3 6-1.

Champion at Queen's prior to the tournament, Berrettini lost serve just once in the contest and has not dropped a set since doing so in his first-round win over Guido Pella.

He will face Alexander Zverev or Felix Auger Aliassime for a place in the semi-finals.

Daniil Medvedev vowed not to let his fifth-set lead slip after a stunning Wimbledon comeback against Marin Cilic – even though he admitted he was "basically destroyed" in the first two sets on Saturday.

Cilic, the runner-up at the 2017 championships, was two sets to the good in the third-round match on Court 1 against the second seed.

Yet Medvedev, who won his first Tour title on grass in Mallorca this year, responded in style to win a grand-slam match after losing the opening two sets for the first time.

The Russian triumphed 6-7 (3-7) 3-6 6-3 6-3 6-2 to stretch his grass-court winning streak to seven matches and reach Wimbledon's second week for the first time in his career.

Medvedev took David Goffin to five sets at this tournament two years ago only to suffer defeat, and he was worried such a scenario could repeat itself when his 5-0 lead in the decider quickly became 5-2.

 

"It was an unbelievable match," he said on court. "I think tennis fans always enjoy watching players come back from two-sets-to-love down and for it to be five sets. I certainly do so when I watch tennis on the TV.

"It's my first comeback [from two sets down], and actually what's amazing is against David Goffin at Wimbledon in 2019, I was two-sets-to-love down and I had a break in the fifth set, but I lost. So when I left the court after the fourth set today, I told myself, 'It's not going to be another one of those'.

"So I'm really happy. When I was 5-0, 40-0 up at the end and Marin came back to 2-5, I thought to myself, 'Again!' Marin is an amazing player and for the first two sets he basically destroyed me."

Medvedev joined compatriots Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov in the second week, making this the first year in which three Russian men have reached this stage at Wimbledon in the Open Era.

Medvedev will face 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz next and could meet Roger Federer in the quarter-finals.

Roger Federer is loving being in contention at Wimbledon, pointing out that doing it shortly before his 40th birthday makes the experience even more special.

The eight-time champion, who turns 40 next month, won an entertaining third-round encounter against home hope Cameron Norrie on Saturday.

Federer triumphed 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-4 in two hours and 35 minutes, needing some impressive play to see off a battling Norrie.

The Swiss star, seeded sixth, ended up with 48 winners as he reached the second week at All England Club for a remarkable 18th time.

Federer will play Italian Lorenzo Sonego in the fourth round and he sees every step as a bonus at this stage, having recovered from two knee surgeries.

"I'm very, very pleased and super relieved," Federer said after his victory.

"It is a nice stat to hear. I've loved every minute and I hope there's a little bit more tennis left in me. 

"It is an absolute pleasure still playing right now at this age. And this is special as it's my last slam before I hit the big 40, so it feels really good. 

"It’s all a bonus, and we will see how far I can go here."

 

Federer had seven aces and zero double faults, while converting four of his 11 break points.

Seven double faults proved costly for Norrie, who was only able to force four break opportunities but did convert two of them.

Federer had kind words for Norrie, who has made the third round at all three grand slams so far this year, only to be unfortunate with his draws.

Norrie had to play Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open and French Open and now another grand slam legend in Federer.

"That was a tough battle with Cam," added Federer. "He deserved that third set. He played excellent. 

"But I felt I was able to keep a high level of play and can be very happy with how I played. 

"He got the good break at the end of the third that cost me the set but overall I can be very happy."

 

Roger Federer fought off spirited home hope Cameron Norrie to set up a fourth-round meeting with Lorenzo Sonego at Wimbledon.

The 39-year-old, an eight-time champion at the All England Club, overcame a third-set wobble to secure a 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-4 triumph amid the familiar surroundings of Centre Court on Saturday.

British number two Norrie, enjoying a career-best run at the grass-court grand slam, tallied four double faults in a first set decided by one break of serve in favour of the Swiss maestro.

Federer's supremacy was first challenged when he faced two break points in his opening service game of the second set, but he clicked into gear to snuff out the threat with four points on the spin.

Finding the fluency that is such a hallmark of his game, Federer looked at ease on a court where success has come so readily to him, the crowd favourite executing his game plan to leave Norrie chasing shadows at the other end.

The third set was a more keenly contested affair as Norrie threw caution to the wind, unleashing some lethal forehand strikes to finally put Federer under some strain, with the seasoned champion broken at the vital moment.

An exchange of breaks early in the fourth suggested a degree of parity in the contest, but Federer accelerated to the finish line to end British interest in the men's draw at this year's tournament.

Data Slam: Double trouble for Norrie

Federer does not need any favours from his opponents but Norrie was all too forthcoming with them on his own serve, despite an otherwise excellent display. 

Norrie, ranked 34 in the world, racked up seven double faults and you can scarcely afford to be so charitable against such formidable opposition. 

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Federer – 48/33
Norrie – 34/32

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Federer –7/0
Norrie – 12/7

BREAK POINTS WON

Federer – 4/11
Norrie – 2/4

Andy Murray raised doubts over his future after losing in the third round at Wimbledon, leaving the grand slam with one question: "Is it worth it?".

Murray's Wimbledon journey came to an end on Friday following the former world number one's 6-4 6-2 6-2 loss to 10th seed Denis Shapovalov on Centre Court.

Making his first appearance in the main draw since he was the defending champion at Wimbledon in 2017, Murray's career has been devastated by injuries.

Murray underwent hip resurfacing in 2019 but the three-time grand slam champion has continued to be plagued by fitness problems.

After suffering his earliest Wimbledon exit since 2005, Murray was in a downbeat mood as he was left to ponder his next move.

"It was great playing in front of the crowds again," the 34-year-old said. "I got amazing support here. I'm very thankful for that. Something I have missed. It kind of reminds you why you do all of the work and everything.

"But then, on the flip side of that, the positive part is getting through the matches and feeling OK physically and not getting injured.

"That's good but then there is a part of me that feels a bit like I have put in so much work the last three months and ultimately didn't play how I would want and expect, and it’s like, is it worth it?

"Is all of that training and everything that you're doing in the gym, unless you're able to practise and improve your game and get matches and get a run of tournaments, is it worth all of the work that you're doing?

"There is part of me that feels like, yes, it is, because I had great memories and stuff from this event and playing in some brilliant atmospheres. But I finished the match tonight and I'm saying to my team, 'I'm just not happy with how I played'.

"So, unless me and my team can find a way of keeping me on the court for a consistent period of time and allow me to practise the way that I need to to compete with these guys, that's when the discussions about what I do next will come in.

"Because I have genuinely put a lot into this to get to this point, but I'm not being able to practise and prepare how I need to to perform how I would like at these events.

"I’m not expecting and saying I would beat Denis Shapovalov. He's a brilliant player. But I feel like I can do a lot better than what I did this evening."

Andy Murray's Wimbledon adventure is over – for this year at least – after Denis Shapovalov put an end to his challenge in a one-sided Centre Court clash.

The doughty two-time former champion insists retirement is not at the forefront of his mind, but a 6-4 6-2 6-2 loss to 10th seed Shapovalov was a fresh reminder of his current place in the tennis pecking order.

After hip resurfacing surgery gave Murray another shot at the career that at one stage looked all but over, it was a Wimbledon return which was high on his list of priorities.

This was Murray's first appearance in the singles since 2017, the year he was last defending champion.

Earlier this year the former world number one spoke of a belief that he could win the tournament for a third time, but he will be 35 by the time next year's championships come around and many have doubts about whether he will still be playing. He came into this fortnight at 118th in the rankings.

Not even the closure of the Centre Court roof could save Murray this time. That had been the spur, coincidentally or not, for his two previous late-night matches to swing around in the Scot's favour, as he saw off Nikoloz Basilashvili and then the unheralded German Oscar Otte to reach this last-32 stage.

Murray and Shapovalov went off after the second set of this contest, as evening turned to night in south-west London and the lights came on, but Murray did not return with super-human strengths this time, and his opponent raced to victory.

Shapovalov told Murray at the net that the Scot was his hero, and spoke eloquently about his appreciation of his comeback, and perhaps Murray would have quietly admired the Canadian's skill in moving in for the kill.

 

This match had been all one way for much of the first set too, but then Murray found a spark and pulled back from 5-1 adrift to 5-4, the crowd beginning to believe it could be his day again.

Murray believed too, of course, but this match proved a step too far for the champion of 2013 and 2016. There were flickers of Murray at his best, and he will represent Great Britain at the upcoming Olympics, where he is a two-time defending champion, but Murray's days of being a grand slam contender are, on the balance of probabilities, pretty much over.

His career has been a spectacular affair, and there was a familiar ovation as he departed Centre Court.

Shapovalov had rammed down an ace on match point, clinical in his despatching of the crowd's favourite.

Speaking at the end of the match, Shapovalov said in an on-court interview: "This is a dream come true for me.

"I've put countless years of hard work into every practice so that one day maybe I could play on Centre Court – to play against a legend like Andy today, to play a match like this. First of all, huge shout-outs to him. What he is doing nobody has ever done. He's truly an inspiration to many people, including me.

"I just told him at the net that he's my hero. Achievements aside, what he's been able to do in the sport with an injury like this and to play the tennis he's playing and moving the way he's moving.

"In his second match it was like vintage Andy and it was just so much fun to see as a fan. I was really excited and the first set today was super, super intense.

"It's incredible what he's done to make it to the third round like this and he's just starting back up so it's going to be amazing to see what he can do."

Novak Djokovic drew on "wolf energy" as he fended off American Denis Kudla to reach the Wimbledon fourth round.

The man with the Golden Slam in his sights took out Kudla in straight sets on Court One, but a 6-4 6-3 7-6 (9-7) victory was not entirely routine.

Qualifier Kudla broke the Serbian's serve twice and kept it a largely tight contest, showing the form that took him to the fourth round six years ago.

After roaring to glory at the Australian Open and French Open, Djokovic could become just the second player in history to win all four grand slams and an Olympic gold medal in the same year, after Steffi Graf's 1988 feat.

There can be no easy sauntering to glory on that scale, so after a pair of relatively easy wins over Jack Draper – albeit after a first-set hiccup – and Kevin Anderson, this was more of a taxing clash that could benefit Djokovic in the long run.

Kudla was gifted a 3-0 lead in the third-set tie-break as Djokovic twice double-faulted, but he could not capitalise, chopping a pair of poor drop shots on the way to allowing his opponent to gain the upper hand.

A solid overhead gave Djokovic a first match point, which the five-time Wimbledon champion squandered with a forehand into the net. He soon had a second though, and Djokovic, defending his 2019 title this fortnight after last year's tournament was cancelled, displayed stunning defence on the baseline before Kudla netted on the forehand.

The world number one then spoke of how growing up during the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s had hardened him for a career in sport, when asked at courtside what gave him such a drive to win.

"I think part of it is genes. My family, the way I've grown up in difficult times during the nineties for my country," Djokovic said on the BBC.

"Failure was never on option, For me or anybody for my family. We had to find a way to find the basic needs for us to survive. During those times it was difficult and that has strengthened my character, I would say.

"Part of it also comes from my upbringing in the mountains. I spent a lot of time in the mountains with wolves, so this is a wolf energy."

 

Data Slam: Shaky serves as Djokovic does enough

Kudla is no stranger to SW19 success, given his 2015 run that was ended by Marin Cilic. And with Djokovic only landing 54 per cent of first serves in court across the contest, that might have opened a door for the American here. Yet Kudla was also struggling with his first delivery, putting just 47 per cent of his first serves into play, and few could hope to beat Djokovic with such a low percentage.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic – 34/28
Kudla – 30/34

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic – 8/6
Kudla – 6/3

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic – 4/10
Kudla – 2/4

Roger Federer cruised into the third round of Wimbledon with a straight-sets win over Richard Gasquet on Thursday.

The sixth seed, seeking a record-extending ninth title at the All England Club, won 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 6-4 in one hour and 54 minutes to set up a tie with home hopeful Cameron Norrie.

Federer was slightly fortunate to overcome Adrian Mannarino in his opening match, and the world number eight was initially given a tough time by another Frenchman in Gasquet.

He saved three break points in the second game and held serve throughout the remainder of the opening set, as did his opponent to force a tie-break that proved one-sided.

Using the momentum, Federer broke Gasquet in the second and fourth games and sealed the second set with one of his 10 aces.

Gasquet had not defeated Federer since 2011 and any hopes of ending that run faded further when he was forced into an error in the seventh game of the third set for the only break.

Federer had little trouble in seeing out the win on Centre Court, confirmed when Gasquet failed to overturn a decision from Hawk-Eye after running out of challenges.

"I know Richard really well. We've played so many times against each other," Federer said in his on-court interview. "It's always a pleasure playing against him.

"It was a wonderful match. I'm happy with my performance. It was a tough first set. I was happy with the second set and I was better in the third, so I'm very, very happy."

 

Data Slam: Dominant Federer finding his feet

Federer may not be a clear favourite for this year's competition as he makes his latest return from injury, but the 20-time major winner will still take some stopping in SW19.

He won 84 per cent of the points behind his first serve and proved far too strong for Gasquet with 49 winners helping to stretch ​his own record for Wimbledon match wins to 103.

Next up is a challenge of a different type, with Federer taking on British number two Norrie in front of an expectant home crowd on Saturday.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Federer – 50/26
Gasquet – 20/23

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Federer – 10/0
Gasquet – 3/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Federer – 3/6
Gasquet – 0/5

Andy Murray made clear he is far from finished after overcoming a fourth-set wobble to upset 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round at Wimbledon.

The two-time champion at SW19 has seen his career beset by injury issues in recent years, with this his first appearance in the main draw since reaching the quarter-finals in 2017.

However, he won two matches at Queen’s Club ahead of the third grand slam of the season and treated the Centre Court crowd to a trip down memory lane on Monday, including a dramatic twist when seemingly on the brink of victory.

Having taken the first two sets, Murray somehow contrived to lose the third despite at one stage holding a 5-0 lead. The sudden collapse sent nerves jangling among the spectators as the roof was closed at the venue, but he responded impressively to the setback to triumph 6-4 6-3 5-7 6-3.

Speaking during his on-court interview after the triumph, the Scotsman once again reiterated he has no plans to make this year his Wimbledon swansong.

"It's been extremely tough. Even these last few months. It has been extremely frustrating not being able to get on the court," Murray said.

"I've had such little momentum over these last few years. I've kept trying, doing all the right things to be back in this position. I feel very lucky I get to do it again.

"I keep getting asked is this going to be my last Wimbledon. I don't know why I keep getting asked, though. No, I'm going to keep on playing.

"I want to play, I'm enjoying it. I can still play at the highest level. He is ranked 28th in the world and I beat him, so I will keep going."

Basilashvili saved two match points as he somehow survived in the third set by winning seven games in a row, though Murray responded to the setback impressively.

"I did well to win the fourth set in the end because that was mentally not easy going to the locker room after losing that third," Murray added.

Next up will be either Oscar Otte or Arthur Rinderknech, their contest having been locked at 9-9 in the deciding set when play on the opening day was suspended on the outside courts.

Frances Tiafoe is confident he can cause further shocks at Wimbledon after he claimed the impressive scalp of third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the opening round on Monday.

Unseeded American Tiafoe ousted Tsitsipas in straight sets, winning 6-4 6-4 6-3 to make the Greek the first major casualty of the men's draw.

Tsitsipas was in action for the first time since losing the French Open final to Novak Djokovic on June 13 and struggled to cope with Tiafoe's aggressive style, suffering a break of serve in the very first game.

While that was the only break of the first set, it gave Tsitsipas a deficit he never recovered from, and he was broken again at 4-4 in the second as Tiafoe made his lead even more commanding.

Tiafoe then saw things out impressively, his 17 winners to his opponent's 10 in the third set reflecting the American's greater confidence as he made Tsitsipas the first third seed to lose in the opening round of the grass-court tournament since Andre Agassi in 1996.

 

And Tiafoe reckons there is more where that came from.

"Definitely one of my best [performances], from start to finish it was pretty clean," the 23-year-old told the BBC.

"This is what you train for this is what it's all about. I live for these kind of moments.

"I'm not even close to where I want to be. I've had a lot of great achievements but I haven't even scratched the surface I feel personally.

"Today was big, I definitely needed that, a guy at his level, that guy's special, he's going to do a lot of great things, win a ton of grand slams but not today."

Tiafoe will face Vasek Pospisil or Roberto Carballes Baena in the next round.

Andy Murray plays his first Wimbledon singles match in four years on Monday – with the journey back to Centre Court hailed as an equivalent achievement to his grand slam titles.

The former world number one has battled through injuries that threatened to end his career, so it will be a remarkable feat when he walks out to face Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Murray, who has won Wimbledon twice and the US Open once, as well as landing two Olympic gold medals in singles, underwent hip resurfacing in 2019 but has continued to be plagued by fitness problems.

The tribute to the resilience of the 34-year-old came from women's British number one Johanna Konta, who was cruelly ruled out of Wimbledon on Sunday when a close contact tested positive for COVID-19.

Konta, who spoke to Stats Perform before receiving that painful news, reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2017, the last year Murray played singles at the All England Club.

He was fit enough to play doubles in 2019, partnering Serena Williams in the mixed event, but a billing on the main show court promises to be an emotional occasion for a player who is struggling to repeat past glories.

"I think Andy really represents tenacity and perseverance," said Konta, a Jaguar ambassador.

"He loves this game, he loves winning in this game, he loves being good and great in this game. I think he will keep doing everything he can to keep putting himself back into position to be great."

 

"I think maybe bringing the attention more on the fact he is trying to do that, with the challenges he's had, is what we should be celebrating and we should be really acknowledging.

"I think this is probably equally as difficult as when he won his slams and his gold medals.

"I think it's on a par with that achievement. I think and hope people can see that and really acknowledge it because he really deserves that."


:: Johanna Konta is a Jaguar ambassador. Jaguar is the Official Car of The Championships, Wimbledon. To discover Jaguar’s unmatched experiences visit jaguar.co.uk/Wimbledon

After an enforced hiatus in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, tennis returns to SW19.

Novak Djokovic makes his way back to Wimbledon as the defending champion and with the men's grand slam record firmly in his sight.

Djokovic conquered Rafael Nadal en route to French Open glory and his 19th slam crown – one shy of the record shared by rivals Nadal and Roger Federer.

With Nadal and Dominic Thiem absent, Djokovic's path to a 20th major trophy has opened up in London.

The women's title is up for grabs after holder Simona Halep withdrew, and Serena Williams can still dream of making history.

As all eyes shift to the All England Club, Stats Perform looks at the numbers behind this year's slam, using Opta data.

 

Dominant Djokovic

World number one and top seed Djokovic begins his title defence against promising Briton Jack Draper in the first round.

French Open champion Djokovic has won four of the last six Wimbledon tournaments, including each of the past two – the last player to win more at Wimbledon in a row was Federer between 2003 and 2007 (five).

A five-time Wimbledon winner, Djokovic is the only man to have won the first two grand slam tournaments of a calendar year over the last 25 years, doing it in 2016 and 2021. The last man to win the first three grand slams of a calendar year was Rod Laver during his Grand Slam in 1969.

The 2019 Wimbledon final was the first slam decider to be decided by a final set tie-break, with Djokovic beating Federer 7-3 in that tiebreak, while it was also the longest final in Wimbledon history (four hours, 57 minutes).

No man has won Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year since Nadal in 2010.

 

Federer farewell?

The curtain appears to be closing on all-time great Federer, who withdrew from the French Open after a draining four-set win over Dominik Koepfer to preserve his body for the grass season.

This year's Wimbledon could be the 39-year-old's final realistic shot at a grand slam as Djokovic bids to become the greatest of all.

Seeded sixth, Federer – who meets Adrian Mannarino first up – has won the most Wimbledon titles among all male players in the slam's history.

Federer will aim to win his 21st grand slam, which would break a tie with Nadal for the outright men's record.

 

The 'Big Four' and their stranglehold

Injuries have forced two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray to fall out of the equation but there has been no getting past the original 'Big Four'.

Among the men, the last 17 years of Wimbledon has been dominated by the same four players – Federer (eight titles), Djokovic (five), Nadal (two), Murray (two). The last winner at Wimbledon before them was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.

Since Wimbledon in 2004, only one of the 68 slams has not seen at least one of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal in the semi-finals – it was at the US Open last year.

The new generation is headlined by grand slam runners-up Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Medvedev has never passed the third round at Wimbledon, though his two defeats at that stage have both been in five sets. The Russian second seed has reached at least the quarter-finals in three of his last four major tournaments, after reaching that stage in only one of his previous 13.

Beaten by Djokovic in the Roland Garros final, Tsitsipas has reached the semi-finals in his last three slams, having done so only once in his previous 12. The third seed has never reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, however.

Wimbledon is the only slam where fourth seed Alexander Zverev is yet to reach the quarter-final, his best result being a fourth-round performance in 2017. Since the beginning of 2020, he has advanced to the semi-finals in three slam tournaments, after never doing it in his previous 18 such major main-draw appearances.

 

Serena's ongoing quest

The queen of WTA tennis for so long, Serena Williams is one slam success away from matching Margaret Court's record of 24 major singles championships. But the 39-year-old has been stuck on 23 since reigning supreme at the Australian Open in 2017.

Williams, who lost in the French Open fourth round, has won seven Wimbledon titles (level with Steffi Graf) – only Martina Navratilova has more in the Open Era (nine).

American superstar Williams has been a Wimbledon runner-up in 2018 and 2019. Chris Evert is the only player in the Open Era to have lost three consecutive Wimbledon finals (between 1978 and 1980).

Williams, the sixth seed who will clash with Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the opening round, is looking to become only the second woman to win 100 Wimbledon singles matches (currently 98), alongside Navratilova (120). She could also become the first woman to reach 100-plus wins in two different majors (106 wins at the US Open).

From the first Wimbledon final reached by one Williams sister in 2000 (won by Venus against Lindsay Davenport), only in four of 20 editions has neither of the two sisters reached the decider – in 2006 (Amelie Mauresmo-Justine Henin), 2011 (Petra Kvitova-Maria Sharapova), 2013 (Marion Bartoli-Sabine Lisicki) and 2014 (Kvitova-Eugenie Bouchard).

 

Barty party?

Former French Open champion Ash Barty heads to Wimbledon as the top seed and will kick off her title bid against veteran Carla Suarez Navarro.

However, world number one Barty has never reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals. Reaching the 2019 fourth round was her best result. The last Australian woman to reach the quarters at Wimbledon was Jelena Dokic in 2000.

The top seed in the Wimbledon women's singles main draw has been eliminated in the first round just three times in the Open Era – Graf in 1994, Martina Hingis in 1999 and Hingis again in 2001.

Wimbledon is the only major won by Kvitova in her career (2011 and 2014). She is one among the three current players with multiple titles at the All England Club, alongside Serena and Venus Williams.

Karolina Pliskova was the woman with the most aces per match made on average at Wimbledon 2019 (9.0, 36 in total) among players who reached the third round.

Novak Djokovic spent the week before Wimbledon enjoying a challenge for a most unlikely title in Mallorca.

The Serbian reached his first men's doubles final for 11 years when he and Carlos Gomez-Herrera knocked out the third seeds on Thursday. Were it not for an injury to the Spaniard forcing them to withdraw, you would not have put it past Djokovic, a man with 83 singles titles, to have lifted what would have been just a second doubles trophy in his career.

"I don't think we expected to reach the finals," Djokovic admitted after an unexpected, liberating week. "Everything clicked quite amazingly."

That Djokovic could prepare to defend his Wimbledon title by experimenting in the doubles in the Spanish sun should serve as a warning to the rest of the draw. He has not played a Tour-level singles match since that exhausting, extraordinary win at the French Open where he inflicted on Rafael Nadal just the third Roland Garros defeat of his career before recovering from two sets down to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final. That treacherous transition from clay to grass is no problem at all, such is Djokovic's belief in his own powers.

And why not? He has been close to untouchable in 2021: 27 wins and as many titles as defeats, his three trophy wins including the first two grand slams of the year. He has 19 now, just one behind all-time record holders Nadal – who withdrew from Wimbledon and the Olympics after a gruelling clay season – and Roger Federer, who has played only eight matches since the 2020 Australian Open following two knee operations. Djokovic has won four of the past six championships at SW19 and is bidding to become the first man to win three in a row since Federer managed four from 2004 to 2007.

For Federer, 2021 has been about building for these next two months, for another fortnight in London and a final shot at Olympic singles gold. He pulled out of Roland Garros after a draining four-set win over Dominik Koepfer to preserve his body for the grass season, but his bid for an 11th title in Halle ended in a dispiriting second-round loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime.

 

Federer would not admit it publicly, nor perhaps even to himself, but Wimbledon 2021 represents his best remaining chance at winning a major, not least with Nadal and fourth seed Dominic Thiem having pulled out. He should have taken the title the last time the event was played two years ago, when Djokovic survived two match points to win the longest final in history in four hours and 57 minutes. Now 39, having to pick and choose his matches to prolong his career, that unpalatable moment when Federer puts down his racquet for good is starting to loom large on the horizon.

It leaves things beautifully poised at the top of the men's game. Djokovic has always been hindered in conversations around the 'big three'. The 34-year-old has never won the hearts of the wider tennis public in quite the same way as Roger and Rafa, in spite of his best – and occasionally misguided – efforts.

Yet the fact remains we are entering a critical point in this particular GOAT debate. Djokovic leads the head-to-head record against Federer (27-23) and Nadal (30-28). He is the only man in the Open Era to win all four grand slams twice. Nobody has won more Masters 1000 titles (36, level with Nadal), and nobody else has won all nine of those events. He has been world number one for 326 weeks – also a record. And all of his major titles bar one have come in the past 10 years, a time in which Nadal has won 11 and Federer four. This has truly been his decade – at least, if you ignore the doubles.

Should Djokovic win a sixth Wimbledon title, and should he follow that with major number 21 at the US Open, there will be little objective reason not to crown him the greatest men's player ever to play the sport. He knows that.

Perhaps Federer does, too. The lingering regret of losing three finals here to Djokovic, the lure of lifting this trophy for a ninth time, the prospect of halting the Serbian's conquest of the game –perhaps that will inspire the Swiss to what would surely be the greatest triumph of his career. Perhaps, just once more, everything will click.

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