June 28, 2019 / 1:15 PM / 18 days ago

Tennis-Eight men to watch at Wimbledon

    June 26 (Reuters) - A look at the top men's contenders at
Wimbledon 2019 (prefix denotes seeding):
    
    1-NOVAK DJOKOVIC (Serbia)
    After Djokovic's quest to simultaneously hold all four Grand
Slam titles for the second time came to a grinding halt in the
French Open semi-finals, the Serb took the unusual step of
preparing for Wimbledon at a hardcourt complex in Belgrade.
    He looked in top shape during a grasscourt exhibition match
in England this week and few people will bet against the
32-year-old, who won Wimbledon on his return from elbow surgery
last year, from claiming a fifth crown and his 16th major.
    
    2-ROGER FEDERER (Switzerland)
    Federer warmed up for his shot at claiming a ninth Wimbledon
title by clinching his 10th Halle Open trophy, taking his
tour-level career singles title tally to 102 -- seven behind
Jimmy Connors' record 109.
    He has conceded that his best days on clay are behind him
but even at the age of 37 the Swiss is still capable of winning
the 21st Grand Slam of his career at the All England Club.
    
    3-RAFA NADAL (Spain)
    Fresh from a record-extending 12th French Open crown, Nadal
heads into Wimbledon looking to capture a third title and avenge
last year's heartbreaking semi-final loss to Djokovic.
    The 33-year-old Spaniard is in peak form ahead of his return
to grass, but did not take kindly to being seeded third despite
being ranked second in the world, and criticised Wimbledon for
not following the ATP rankings.
    
    4-KEVIN ANDERSON (South Africa)
    Anderson's preparation has been limited by an elbow injury
that forced him to skip the claycourt season but last year's
runner-up is a threat against any opponent on grass.
    He was not up to scratch in his first tournament back from
injury at Queen's but 37 aces in two matches suggest his booming
serve will once again be his biggest weapon.
    
    6-ALEXANDER ZVEREV (Germany)
    Zverev has had a poor season, exiting the Australian Open in
the last 16 and Roland Garros in the quarter-finals.
    He won his only ATP title of the year in Geneva and the old
questions of whether he has the mental fortitude to survive two
consecutive weeks of top-level tennis have only grown louder as
the season has progressed.
    The German's raw power should see him safely through the
early rounds at the All England Club but he needs to improve his
serve-and-volley game if he is to have any hope of reaching the
Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time.
    
    7-STEFANOS TSITSIPAS (Greece)
    Tsitsipas is the latest torchbearer of the next generation
looking to end the hegemony of the Big Three but the talented
Greek has never advanced beyond the last 16 at Wimbledon.
    He has beaten Federer and Nadal this year but is yet to
prove his mettle on grass.
    
    13-MARIN CILIC (Croatia)
    From a runners-up spot at Wimbledon in 2017 to a
second-round exit last year, Cilic has been beset by injuries
that have resulted in him sliding from third to 18th in the
rankings.
    Despite his troubles, the Croat still has one of the fastest
serves on the circuit and could go deep into the tournament if
his knee holds out over the two weeks.
    
    19-FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME (Canada)
    Auger-Aliassime is the youngest member of the top 100 but
has a maturity beyond his 18 years and is one of a handful of
Next-Gen players with the tools to finally end the stranglehold
that Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have over the men's game.
    A string of impressive results, including three Tour-level
finals and a long run at Miami, have moved him up to a
career-high 21 in the rankings and his athleticism and technique
as well as his energy can trouble anyone.

 (Compiled by Hardik Vyas and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing
by Ken Ferris)
  
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