Tough Wimbledon draw for Aussies
Australia's tennis aces face difficult assignments after the Wimbledon singles draws were conducted on Friday at the All England Club.
Australia’s tennis aces face difficult assignments after the Wimbledon singles draws were conducted on Friday at the All England Club.
Australian No.1 Bernard Tomic and former champion Lleyton Hewitt in his Wimbledon swan song have borne the brunt, with Nick Kyrgios the only big gun handed any real relief.
Tomic could face world No.1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic in the third round, the earliest he could have possibly struck the Serb after being seeded 27th for the championships.
Hewitt will face tough Finn Jarko Nieminen in his opener, with victory almost certainly thrusting the 34-year-old wildcard into a second-round showdown with Djokovic.
Teenage ace Thanasi Kokkinakis has also landed in the treacherous top pocket of the draw with Hewitt and Tomic, who launches his title quest against Frenchman Jan-Lennard Struff.
Kokkinakis plays Argentina’s 24th seed Leonardo Mayer in his eagerly-awaited debut at the All England Club.
All up, nine of Australia’s 11 men in the singles were drawn in the top half.
Kyrgios, the 26th seed, fared best of Australia’s biggest singles contingent in 20 years.
Buoyed by his training session with seven-times champion Roger Federer on Thursday, Kyrgios will play unseeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman first up and has a real shot at emulating his run to the quarterfinals last year.
Seventh seed Milos Raonic, the Canadian who took Kyrgios out last year, is the 20-year-old’s first projected big danger in the third round.
Australia’s five-strong women’s contingent enjoyed a touch more luck than the men.
Sam Stosur, the 22nd seed who has only progressed beyond round two twice in a dozen attempts, plays Montenegro’s world No.92 Danka Kovinic.
Stosur’s nemesis, French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova, lurks in the Australian No.1’s quarter.
Daria Gavrilova debuts against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu, while Jarmila Gajdosova has a horror opener against 2013 finalist Sabine Lisicki, the biggest server in women’s tennis.
Casey Dellacqua meets Austrian qualifier Tamira Paszek and Ajla Tomljanovic opens her campaign against Czech Klara Koukalova.
Of the heavyweights, Djokovic has the most testing opener on paper against Philipp Kohlschreiber with Tomic and Hewitt undoubtedly hoping the classy German can spring a boilover.
British hope Andy Murray, the third seed eyeing a second Wimbledon crown, could face two-time champion Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals after the Spaniard was seeded 10th.
Men’s singles – first round
 Nick Kyrgios v Diego Schwartzman (ARG)
 Bernard Tomic v Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)
Thanasi Kokkinakis v  Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
Sam Groth v Jack Sock (USA)
James Duckworth v Malek Jaziri (TUN)
Matt Ebden v Blaz Rola (SLO)
Lleyton Hewitt v Jarko Nieminen (FIN)
John Millman v  Tommy Robredo (ESP)
Marinko Matosevic v Liam Broady (GBR)
John-Patrick Smith v Kenny de Schepper (FRA)
Luke Saville v  Richard Gasquet (FRA)
Women’s singles – first round
 Sam Stosur v Danka Kovinik (MNE)
Daria Gavrilova v  Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM)
Jarmila Gajdosova v  Sabine Lisicki (GER)
Casey Dellacqua v Tamira Paszek (AUT)
Ajla Tomljanovic v Klara Koukalova (CZE)