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Wimbledon Men’s preview

Novak Djokovic was already a hot favourite to win a second Wimbledon title and he has shortened up further following a draw which sees him avoid the other members of the Big Four until the final.

Coral rate the 26-year-old Serb a 5/4 chance to land his seventh Grand Slam event and foil Andy Murray’s hopes of becoming the first Brit to triumph in the Wimbledon men’s singles since 1936.

Murray (5/2) will, if all goes to script, face either Rafael Nadal (4/1) or Roger Federer (13/2) in the semi-finals and those are matches that could go either way, while it will be a major shock if Djokovic doesn’t brush aside all in his path in his half of the draw before a final showdown.

The Scot got a monkey off his back when beating Djokovic in the US Open last year for his first Grand Slam title and his supporters are now convinced that the time has now come for that elusive Wimbledon triumph.

We know he can beat anybody on his day, but the trouble is, so can Djokovic, Nadal and Federer and we can be sure that, whether Murray makes it all the way or not, his fans will be in for another nerve-shredding ride.

Murray looked in good nick again when winning at Queen’s recently after taking time off to nurse a back problem, while Nadal was right back to his impressive best, following his lengthy absence with a serious knee injury, when winning his eighth French Open. The Spaniard has hardly played on grass for two years and isn’t quite so brilliant on the surface as he is on clay, but nobody will be underestimating his determination to capture his third Wimbledon title.

Federer moved alongside Pete Sampras in the Wimbledon hall of fame when winning for the seventh time last year, but is there another SW19 triumph left in the 31-year-old Swiss? Tennis fans and punters alike are beginning to wonder, but maybe this will be one of those occasions when we will all be cursing our stupidity at missing out on such a big price when he collapses to the ground crying with joy on Sunday, July 7th.

As for the rest, well it’s big prices bar the Fantastic Four with Coral and it’s easy to see why. The likes of amiable Frenchman Jo-Wilfird Tsonga (20/1), Thomas Berdych (33/1), Jose Ferrer and Juan Martin del Potro (both 50/1) are all fine players, but the fact is that only once since 2005 (Del Potro in the 2009 US Open) has the winner of a Grand Slam come from outside the elite quartet.

Djokovic is very much the man to beat. He is world number 1, has a great draw and will be even more motivated than usual, if that’s possible, to honour the recent passing of his first coach and inspiration, Jelena Gencic.

Written by Jon Freeman