Novak Djokovic Wimbledon draw: Projected path to final and potential popcorn matches

The Wimbledon draw is out and it has thrown up a few potential tricky tests for Novak Djokovic as he bids for a seventh title in SW19.

For the first time since 1998 there is no Roger Federer in the Wimbledon draw. That makes Novak Djokovic an even stronger favourite than usual.

The Serbian has won six titles here, including the last three. He has dropped to number three in the world rankings, but will be top seed due to both Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev being forced to sit the tournament out.

How is the draw looking for Djokovic, though? Wel it's a bit of a mixed bag.

Novak Djokovic's quarter

In general, you'd have to say that Djokovic has been handed as tough a quarter by the Wimbledon draw as you're likely to get.

He will start off against Korean world number 75 Soonwoo Kwon, and you'd not expect him to have any trouble there. Thanasi Kokkinakis, a talented Australian who has been beset by injuries in his career, is likely to be next for Djokovic. He won an Australian Open doubles title this year, but he is unlikely to provide much of an obstacle.

From there things are looking a lot tougher for Djokovic. Compatriot Miormir Kecmanovic is his projected third-round opponent, although another Australian, John Millman is another real possibility.

Riley Opelka, who is a giant American whose serve could really test Djokovic's renowned returning prowess is a likely fourth-round foe.

Quarter-final

Take your pick, basically. The section from which Djokovic's quarter-final opponent will emerge contains some huge names.

Carlos Alcaraz, the brilliant young Spaniard who beat both him and Rafael Nadal in Madrid this season, is in there. Andy Murray is in there too, as is three-time major-winner Stan Wawrinka.

Jannik Sinner will play Wawrinka in the first round and he will be dangerous, as will John Isner.

Oscar Otte is another interesting name from that section. He has hand a fine grass season so far, reaching the semi-finals of both Stuttgart and Halle, and that has done enough to earn him a seed at Wimbledon.

Alcaraz is the projected pick here, but that part of the draw looks like a genuinely fascinating free-for-all.

Semi-final

The good news, if you are a Novak Djokovic fan, is that Matteo Berrettini has landed in the other half of the draw.

Berrettini reached the final of Wimbledon last year and his form on grass has been superb again this season. He won Stuttgart, beating Andy Murray in the final, and then successfully defended his title at Queen's too.

Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz headline this section of the draw, and it's not an especially strong one. British number one Cameron Norrie is in there, as is Pablo Carreno Busta, but that is about it in terms of players who could offer any kind of a challenge to Djokovic.

We will break with the seeding for the projection here. Ruud is the third seed, but he does not look comfortable on grass at all. Hurkacz is a far more dangerous opponent on this surface. He beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon last year and won Halle earlier this month, so he is a big danger.

Final

The other half of the draw is, in theory, a straight shootout between Rafael Nadal and Matteo Berrettini.

Nadal is a two-time Wimbledon champion and has already won both the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year alone, so he is the man to beat.

Berrettini will be the man no one wants to face, but someone in the top four seeds had to draw the short straw and have him in their quarter. That man was Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Nick Kyrgios is in that section of the draw too, and he is a real dark horse here. He probably can't win it, but he can do an awful lot of damage to anyone who runs into him before he eventually blows his top and puts himself out of the tournament.

Novak Djokovic projected path to final

R1: Soonwoo Kwon

R2: Thanasi Kokkinakis

R3: Miomir Kecmanovic (25)

R4: Reilly Opelka (15)

QF: Carlos Alcaraz (5)

SF: Hubert Hurkacz (7)

F: Rafael Nadal (2)

On paper, Djokovic's draw looks more 'tricky' than difficult, although Nadal certainly has the kinder projected path to the final.

It would be a genuine shock if Djokovic even dropped a set before the fourth-round, never mind lost a match, but from the quarter-finals onwards he could face some genuine tests.

It is worth remembering, though, that Djokovic has not been beaten on Centre Court for nine years now, so it will likely take a monumental effort from someone to stop him here, even if their name is Rafael Nadal.

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