Andy Murray’s prospects of reaching his first Wimbledon final after three successive semi-final appearances have been damaged by the draw putting him on a semis collision course with Rafael Nadal, his conqueror in 2010 and 2011.
The Spaniard (2/1) has contested the last five Grand Slam finals and hasn’t lost any of his last eight major semi-finals, boasting a perfect record of five wins from five at that stage at Wimbledon.
Murray can feel aggrieved having landed in the same half as the world number two at eight of the last nine slams. His 5-13 head-to-head record against last year’s runner-up is far worse than against other top-four rivals Novak Djokovic (5-8) and Roger Federer (8-7).
The fourth seed is a distant 8/1 fourth favourite to end his wait for his first Grand Slam title and will start his latest challenge against Nikolay Davydenko, a former world number three but noted grass-court struggler.
Other first-round highlights include holder Novak Djokovic v veteran Juan Carlos Ferrero, Janko Tipsarevic v former finalist David Nalbandian, British wildcard Jamie Baker v Andy Roddick and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Lleyton Hewitt.
Halle heroes Tommy Haas and Philipp Kohlschreiber, who shocked Federer and Nadal respectively at the warm-up event in their home country, will also meet.
9/2 third favourite Federer’s route to the semis looks the most appetising of the frontrunners. Gilles Simon is the highest seed in his eighth and his trickiest available quarter-final opponent is Tipsarevic, the lowest ranked of the top eight.
On the women’s side, 3/1 second favourite Serena Williams will be confident of bouncing back from her Roland Garros shocker with comfortable progress through the early rounds.
The highest seed in her eighth of the draw is surprise French Open finalist Sara Errani, who has never threatened at Wimbledon before. Sister Venus (25/1) has it much harder, with Agnieszka Radwanska waiting in the second round.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.