London:-Wimbledon 2023, the third Grand Slam of the season, is drawing near: the grass courts are freshly-cut, the all-white kits are ready to be donned, and more importantly, some new tennis records are waiting to be hit.
Novak Djokovic, at the age of 36, has made his intentions clear — playing for the record books.
The Serbian legend has Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles as well as a 24th major in his sights as he closes in on a first calendar Grand Slam in 54 years.
Djokovic won his 23rd Grand Slam earlier last month at Roland Garros. A 24th would help him tie the record with Margaret Court, reports Xinhua.
The second seed and defending champion will open his campaign against Argentina’s Pedro Cachin, with the first dangerous obstacle in his path possibly coming in the fourth round against former semifinalist and No.17 seed Hubert Hurkacz or Italian No.14 seed Lorenzo Musetti.
Australia’s mercurial Nick Kyrgios, the man Djokovic beat in last year’s title decider at Wimbledon, is also in the Serb’s quarter of the draw but the No.30 seed must first get past a tricky opener against Belgian wildcard David Goffin.
Fourth-seeded Casper Ruud and eight-seeded Jannik Sinner share the third quarter of the draw and lie ahead as potential semifinal opponents for Djokovic.
After capturing a maiden grass-court title in Queens last week, world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz will be looking to carry that confidence on the surface into Wimbledon, where he reached the fourth round 12 months ago.
Making his third appearance at the All England Club, the 20-year-old Spaniard begins his campaign against French veteran Jeremy Chardy. The first seed in his path is Chilean Nicolas Jarry, seeded 25th, who could face Alcaraz in the third round.
Possible fourth-round opponents for Alcaraz are Queens finalist Alex de Minaur or No.19 seed Alexander Zverev before a potential quarterfinal meeting with Stuttgart champion and No.10 seed Frances Tiafoe or Danish No.6 seed Holger Rune.
No.3 seed Daniil Medvedev or No.5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas could loom ahead for Alcaraz in the semifinals.
In the women’s competition, world No.1 and four-time Grand Slam champion Iga Swiatek will strive for her maiden Wimbledon crown by facing the highest-ranked unseeded player in the draw, China’s world No.33 Zhu Lin.
A year ago Swiatek arrived as French Open champion, too, but also with a 35-match win streak that was the longest in the women’s game in some 25 years. She was bundled out in the third round (streak snapped at 37) but has changed her prep this year, playing a small grass-court event between Paris and London.
The 22-year-old Pole has No.7 seed Coco Gauff and No.11 seed Daria Kasatkina as possible quarterfinal rivals, while No. 4 seed Jessica Pegula and No. 5 seed Caroline Garcia could face Swiatek in the semis.
The bottom half of the draw, headlined by reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka, is stacked.
Besides Sabalenka, it also includes last year’s Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, runner-up Ons Jabeur, two-time winner and recent Birmingham champion Petra Kvitova, Roland Garros finalist Karolina Muchova and former Paris champions Barbora Krejcikova and Jelena Ostapenko.
Sabalenka begins her journey against Hungarian Panna Udvardy and could take on her Roland Garros conqueror Muchova in the fourth round.
Jabeur could get a rematch with No.3 seed Rybakina in the quarterfinals, with the winner of that clash possibly earning a last-four showdown with Sabalenka.