London - Roger
Federer chases a ninth Wimbledon title and 21st career major at the All
England Club next week, but is wary of the threat of two-time champion
and career-long rival Rafael Nadal.
A look at the five leading contenders for the men's title - and one outsider to watch:
Roger Federer (SUI)
Federer became the first man to
win Wimbledon eight times in 2017 as well as the oldest champion. His
37th birthday may be fast approaching but the evergreen Swiss, who
triumphed for the first time at the All England Club 15 years ago, is
comfortably the overwhelming favourite for a 21st Grand Slam title. He
arrives having again skipped the clay season while warming up for
Wimbledon with a grasscourt title in Stuttgart and runners-up spot in
Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Fresh from an astonishing 11th
French Open triumph, the 2008 and 2010 Wimbledon champion has endured a
bittersweet relationship with the All England Club in recent years.
Since finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic in 2011, he has not got
beyond the last 16 and suffered a heartbreaking 15-13 final set loss to
Luxembourg journeyman Gilles Muller in the fourth round in 2017.
However, Federer has identified a healthy Nadal as his chief threat and a
third Wimbledon title would take him to 18 majors, just two behind the
Novak Djokovic (SRB)
The complex Serbian returns to
Wimbledon 12 months after an injury-enforced withdrawal in the
last-eight precipitated a worrying slide in form and confidence which
culminated in an embarrassing quarter-final exit at the French Open to
world number 72 Marco Cecchinato. But the 2011, 2014 and 2015 Wimbledon
champion showed signs of life at Queen's last weekend where he had match
point to beat Marin Cilic in the final before losing in three sets.
Andy Murray (GBR)
Murray, like Djokovic, endured a 2017 Wimbledon to forget, losing a
painful five-setter to Sam Querrey while battling a hip injury which led
to surgery an and absence from the tour which stretched to Queen's last
week. His defeat of Stan Wawrinka at Eastbourne on Monday was his first
victory in almost a year. With a world ranking 156 - his lowest since
2005 - Murray is still uncertain over whether or not he will play
Alexander Zverev (GER)
The 21-year-old German is at
the vanguard of the ATP's widely-hyped but largely under-achieving
'NextGen', the players seen as the heir-apparents to Federer, Nadal,
Djokovic and Murray. However, Zverev has yet to translate his impressive
week-in, week-out form on the tour to the Slams with a run to the
quarter-finals at the French Open this year representing his best
performance at the majors. Comes into Wimbledon with just one match on
grass this summer.
....'You cannot be serious!'
An outside tip for the Wimbledon title:
Nick Kyrgios (AUS)
Volatile and flamboyant, prone to trick
shots and getting hit in the pocket for the occasional on-court lapse in
decorum, there is no doubt that the 23-year-old Australian is 'box
office'. Announced himself in 2014 by shrugging off his ranking of 144
to shock Nadal in the last 16 on his way to the quarter-finals on his
debut appearance. However, 12 months later, he was accused of 'tanking'
in a fourth round loss to Richard Gasquet while, 12 months ago, he
retired injured in the first round.