Wimbledon 2016: Is Murray draw good or bad?
Scot starts tournament against fellow Brit and will not have to face Djokovic, Federer or Raonic until the final
Andy Murray has been given a favourable draw at Wimbledon and will not be up against Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Milos Raonic unless they meet in the final.
The Scot, seeded two, opens his campaign against fellow Briton Liam Broady, a wildcard entry ranked 234 in the world, in the first round on Monday. This at least guarantees one home-grown player in the second round.
The biggest names in Murray's half of the draw are double Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka, controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios and Richard Gasquet of France.
"It represents a relatively kind draw for Murray, who cruised past Wawrinka in the French Open semi-finals last month and is yet to lose to Kyrgios in four competitive meetings," says the Daily Telegraph. "Gasquet, a potential foe in the quarter-finals, has also lost his last six successive matches against the British number one."
Murray will not be looking too far ahead says Russell Fuller of the BBC. "A fourth-round match with Nick Kyrgios on Centre Court could be fraught with danger," he says, while avoiding Federer may not mean that much. "The seven-time Wimbledon champion, 34, has played little tennis in recent months," he notes.
Number one seed and defending champion Djokovic, who has become Murray's nemesis, faces Briton James Ward in the opening round and could face another, Kyle Edmund, in the second round.
If that represents a daunting draw for the two British men, then the ladies' draw has been no kinder. Laura Robson is up against Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in her opening game, while Heather Watson is on course for a rematch with Serena Williams, who she almost beat last year, in the second round.
"Robson's draw suggests her recent luck is showing no sign of improvement, while [17th seed Johanna] Konta will have her work cut out to live up to her seeding," says Fuller. "She could face the 2014 runner-up Eugenie Bouchard in the second round and former Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova in round three."
Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl ready for Wimbledon challenge
Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl may make an odd couple, but their partnership is back on winning form after the British number one claimed a record fifth title at Queens a week ahead of Wimbledon.
After recovering from a set and a break down against Canadian Milos Raonic, the tennis player "believes that he is as well prepared as he has ever been for his home tournament", says Barry Flatman of The Times.
"Lendl is fully ensconced back in the fold as his coach and the Scot’s grass-court game is perfectly honed after winning a record-breaking fifth Queen’s Club title yesterday."
Both men appear happy to have resumed their relationship. The bone-dry humour that the usually taciturn duo share was evident during the presentation of the Queen's Club trophy yesterday, when Lendl vanished from his seat, prompting Murray to suggest it would have been "nice" if he had decided to "stick around".
It later transpired that the 56-year-old Czech had gone to the toilet after sitting through the two and a quarter hour-long final.
Lendl made it clear he was just as happy as Murray to have rekindled their partnership. "It feels like we never parted ways. We understand each other," he told the Daily Telegraph.
All this bodes well for the world number two, who "could hardly be in a better place a week before Wimbledon", says Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian. As well as the trophy, the teetotaller also won a jeroboam of champagne, which "he hopes may also come in handy for celebrations when the All England Championships are decided three Sundays from now".
The main task for Lendl is to help Murray overcome the world number one, Novak Djokovic, the only man standing in the Scot's way.
"A week which began with the sudden announcement that Lendl and Murray were friends reunited ended with further evidence that the Scot remains, by some distance, the world’s second best player, in a league of his own behind Novak Djokovic," says Mike Dickson of the Daily Mail.
"His last four tournaments, going back to early May, have seen him reach the final of the Madrid Open, win the Italian Open, make the final at Roland Garros and now win again in west London.
The only players he has lost to since the spring are Rafael Nadal and the dreaded Djokovic - it is his best run of form ever at high-calibre tournaments.
"The only aspect of this week to worry him, which endured to the end, was Murray’s habit of not playing his best until he ran into difficulties. The very best players may yet punish him more severely."