Andy Murray left to rue a nightmare Wimbledon draw
Andy Murray was handed the Wimbledon draw that nobody wanted, winding up in the same half as world number one Rafael Nadal, who boasts an 11-4 head-to-head advantage over him, for the fifth successive Grand Slam.
The Scot, whose prospects of success in the grass-court major were boosted by a second victory in three years at the AEGON Championships at Queen’s Club on Monday, has a reasonable enough start against Daniel Gimeno Traver.
However, the path to glory in SW19 grows tougher towards the end of week one, with Marin Cilic and Queen’s semi-finalist Jamie Ward for potential third-round company and a fourth round showdown with Stanislas Wawrinka or Richard Gasquet likely.
It is unsurprisingly in the closing stages that things really begins to look bleak, with last year’s finalist Tomas Berdych, who beat Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic en route, his probable quarter-final opponent before another semi-final against Nadal.
The Spaniard is the 9/4 joint-favourite to retain his title alongside Wimbledon legend Federer, but Murray would have preferred the Swiss six-time winner due to his 8-6 head-to-head edge over him, though the Nadal draw hasn’t altered his odds of 5/1.
The two seeds of the top eight with the least convincing records in London are Robin Soderling (50/1) and David Ferrer (250/1) so their sections are the first places to examine when searching for this year’s dark horse.
Soderling’s section seven appears to be the weakest of the competition, so 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt (250/1) has an outside chance of a run to the final eight, while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (40/1) is the pick of the options in Ferrer’s eighth.
Over in the women’s singles, 2010 runner-up Vera Zvonareva (16/1) was the unwilling recipient of the top contender outside of the top eight seeds, five-time winner Venus Williams (8/1).
Holder Serena Williams (9/2) has a decent route to the quarter-finals, as does top seed Caroline Wozniacki (10/1), though 4/1 favourite Maria Sharapova faces two daunting tournament openers against compatriot Anna Chakvetadze and Laura Watson.