Wimbledon looms

Image result for wimbledonWithin the first minute of the Wimbledon draw ceremony Friday there arrived a bit of information many were wondering about: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were indeed set up for a potential semifinal meeting, with Novak Djokovic possibly awaiting that showdown’s winner in the final.

Toward the end of the proceedings came the most fascinating first-round matchup of all: 39-year-old Venus Williams, a five-time champion at the All England Club, against 15-year-old American Coco Gauff, the youngest player to qualify at the All England Club in the half-century Open era.

In between, there were plenty of other things to keep an eye out for once the grass-court Grand Slam tournament begins Monday, including the placement of Venus’ younger sister, Serena, in what shapes up as by far the toughest quarter of the women’s field. She might need to beat defending champion Angelique Kerber in the fourth round, then No. 1 Ash Barty in the quarterfinals.

Gauff grew up idolizing the Williams sisters, who have both been ranked No. 1 and own a combined 30 Grand Slam singles titles.

“They’re the reason why I wanted to pick up a tennis racket,” Gauff, who is ranked 301st this week, said in an interview posted on Wimbledon’s Twitter feed. “And I met them both, and they’re both super-kind people, and I’m just super-happy and thankful that they chose to play tennis.”

With defending champion Djokovic in the top half of the men’s bracket, he’ll now only need to beat at most one of the No. 2-seeded Federer or No. 3-seeded Nadal, because they were drawn together in the bottom half.

Nadal is ranked No. 2, and Federer No. 3, but that was reversed by Wimbledon’s seeding system, which takes into account grass-court results over the past two years.

The possible men’s quarterfinals are No. 1 Djokovic against No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas, and No. 4 Kevin Anderson, last year’s runner-up, against No. 6 Alexander Zverev on one side of the field, and Federer vs. No. 8 Kei Nishikori, and Nadal vs. No. 5 Dominic Thiem on the other. Nadal-Thiem would be a rematch of the 2018 and 2019 French Open finals, both won by Nadal.

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