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Pete’s Power Rankings: Djokovic overwhelming favourite at Wimbledon

June 29, 2021
Novak Djokovic holds the Wimbledon trophy

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Welcome to Pete’s Power Rankings, where we paint a picture of the ATP Tour by looking at recent results and ranking players based on their current form, rather than the ATP’s point system.

The power rankings will be updated weekly all the way up to the National Bank Open.

It’s the most wonderful time of the (tennis) year!

It has been a long wait, but Wimbledon has finally arrived after two years since the last edition of tennis’ most prestigious event.

And as the world’s best, mostly, descend on the All-England Club, one question hangs over the men’s tournament:

Can anyone stop Novak Djokovic from tying Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20 slams apiece?

Here are how the men of the ATP Tour stack up behind Djokovic in our pre-Wimbledon Power Rankings:

(Please note, rankings were made before Wimbledon first round began on Monday and do not necessarily reflect first round results)

PETE’S ATP TOUR POWER RANKINGS – Week of June 28, 2021

1. Novak DjokovicChange: –
2021 Record: 27-3 (3 Titles)Actual Rank: 1Last Week Result: DNP
Wimbledon record: 72-102019 Wimbledon: WWimbledon Best: W (5)

It is almost weird for the whole “player or the field” discussion to be so valid, but that is very much the case at Wimbledon.

One could be forgiven for thinking that Djokovic has already won the title, or at least that Wimbledon has re-instituted the old challenge round system, where the defending champion gets a free pass to the final, given the discourse surrounding Djokovic’s status as the presumptive winner.

And why not? He’s only won both slams so far in 2021, is the defending champion, and the third, fourth and fifth ranked players in the world are not/no longer in the draw.

And as if he was not already the overwhelming favourite, he could not have asked for an easier draw. It is full of clay-court specialists and his first real threat does not come until the quarter-finals, where he could meet Halle runner-up Andrey Rublev.

2.Daniil MedvedevChange: +5
2021 Record: 26-7 (2 Titles)Actual Rank: 2Last Week Result: Mallorca – W
Wimbledon Record: 5-32019 Wimbledon: R3Wimbledon Best: R3 (2)

If there is someone for whom more is on the line this week than Djokovic, it’s Medvedev. With a title or a runner-up appearance, losing to anyone but Djokovic, the Russian will become number one in the world.

And he is arriving in good form after a first career grass court title last week in Mallorca.

Medvedev’s draw is full of tricky opponents who could challenge him if they make it that far. Round one will be brutal no matter what against his Halle conqueror Jan-Lennard Struff.

Stuttgart champion Marin Cilic is the possible third round opponent, with Roger Federer in line in quarter-finals. However, those two are really the only threats in the section and if either goes down early, it could be smooth sailing for the second seed.

3. Matteo BerrettiniChange: –
2021 Record: 26-6 (2 Titles)Actual Rank: 9Last Week Result: DNP
Wimbledon Record: 4-22019 Wimbledon: R4Wimbledon Best: R4

Could this be Berrettini’s time? He is one of only a handful of players in this draw who genuinely seems comfortable on grass and will be confident after his title at the Queen’s Club.

Berrettini could have his hands full in round three up against former semi-finalist and serve monster John Isner, whose history at the All-England Club is well known. If he gets through that, he will likely face another grass-loving young gun in either Halle champion Ugo Humbert or Félix Auger-Aliassime. He is in the same quarter as Zverev.

Considering that Berrettini is playing great tennis and should be considered a favourite, this draw must be frustrating for him.

4. Alexander ZverevChange: –
2021 Record: 24-10 (2 Titles)Actual Rank: 6Last Week Result: DNP
Wimbledon Record: 8-52019 Wimbledon: R1Wimbledon Best: R4 (2017)

Wimbledon is the one major where Zverev has never reached the quarter-finals, and his grass results in recent years have not been great in general.

That being said, Zverev should not have too much trouble in the first three rounds, but the fourth will be brutal against either Humbert or Auger-Aliassime, both of whom have looked really good on grass in June. If he wins, his reward his Berrettini, who has been playing even better.

5. Andrey RublevChange: –
2021 Record: 33-10 (1 Title)Actual Rank: 7Last Week Result: DNP
Wimbledon Record: 2-22019 Wimbledon: R2Wimbledon Best: R2 (2)

Rublev is coming in strong after a runner-up performance in Halle and could have a shot if he catches a few breaks.

The Russian should like his odds to reach the quarter-finals, as his section is also full of players who are weaker on grass such as Fabio Fognini (R3), Diego Schwartzman (R4) and Jannik Sinner (R4). Of course, then it will almost certainly be Djokovic in the last eight.

6.Marin CilicChange: –
2021 Record: 17-11 (1 Title)Actual Rank: 37Last Week Result: DNP
Wimbledon Record: 29-122019 Wimbledon: R2Wimbledon Best: F (2017)

The 2017 runner-up had a great couple of weeks on the lawns and should be coming in to the All-England club with plenty of confidence. His big game is always going to be dangerous on the surface.

Cilic benefited from withdrawals, getting bumped up to being the 32nd seed. His reward? A potential third-round match with Medvedev. Still better than potentially meeting a seed in round one.

7.Roger FedererChange: +1
2021 Record: 5-3Actual Rank: 8Last Week Result: DNP
Wimbledon Record: 101-132019 Wimbledon: FWimbledon Best: W (8)

If Federer is going to have one last moment of glory at the All-England club, he will have to do it the hard way. Adrian Mannarino poses a real threat in round one, with recent Queen’s Club runner-up Cameron Norrie possibly looming in round three.

He then could meet Mallorca semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta in the next round followed by Medvedev. It is going to take a lot of Federer magic to pull this one out of the hat.

8.Alex de MinaurChange: +6
2021 Record: 20-13 (2 Titles)Actual Rank: 15Last Week Result: Eastbourne – W
Wimbledon Record: 3-22019 Wimbledon: R2Wimbledon Best: R3 (2018)

If there was a “Wimbledon series” like there used to be a US Open series, de Minaur would have been the winner. The young Aussie was hands down the best player on the grass throughout the warm-up events, culminating in a title in Eastbourne last week.

No one is arriving at the All-England Club hotter than him, except maybe Djokovic because, well, he’s Djokovic.

And then de Minaur lost in round one to Sebastian Korda so clearly warm-up events and momentum mean absolutely nothing anymore.

9.Ugo HumbertChange: –
2021 Record: 15-13 (1 Title)Actual Rank: 25Last Week Result: Mallorca – R2
Wimbledon Record: 3-12019 Wimbledon: R4Wimbledon Best: R4

His Halle title automatically makes Humbert a player to watch this week and his comfort on grass is well known. He reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in his only other main-draw appearance.

There are a lot of crazy round one matches in the Wimbledon draw, but surely Humbert must be asking what he did to piss off the draw goods. His first-round opponent is former Wimbledon quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios, whose game is tailor-made for grass.

If he gets through, he could face Auger-Aliassime for the third tournament in a row, and a fourth straight meeting at a grass event. Humbert leads that head-to-head 2-1, including a win at the last edition of Wimbledon. Both of their meetings this year were extremely close. If he gets a second straight win, he could get Zverev and then Berrettini.

10.Stefanos TsitsipasChange: -8
2021 Record: 39-10 (2 Titles)Actual Rank: 4Last Week Result: DNP
Wimbledon Record: 3-42019 Wimbledon: R1Wimbledon Best: R4 (2018)

Had this list been published before the tournament began, Tsitsipas would have been number four. However, it is being published on Tuesday and he already crashed out in straight sets in the first round against Frances Tiafoe so…

11.Félix Auger-AliassimeChange: –
2021 Record: 20-13Actual Rank: 19Last Week Result: DNP
Wimbledon Record: 2-12019 Wimbledon: R3Wimbledon Best: R3

After a great grass-court swing that saw him reach the final of Stuttgart and beat Federer in Halle, the 20-year-old Canadian seems primed for a big run at a major.

Auger-Aliassime could get a meeting with another old guard star in the second round, this time Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, before yet another meeting with Humbert in the third round. This is one of those draws where Auger-Aliassime has the ability to rip it apart, he just needs to win those big points that have occasionally proved elusive.

12.Diego SchwartzmanChange: -2
2021 Record: 16-11 (1 Title)Actual Rank: 11Last Week Result: DNP
Wimbledon Record: 3-52019 Wimbledon: R3Wimbledon Best: R3

The Argentine will make his 2021 grass-court debut at the All-England Club, a venue where he has historically struggled, only ever winning three matches in six appearances.

Schwartzman’s draw would suck at the French Open, but this is Wimbledon so he has a chance. He could meet Jannik Sinner in the third round, but Sinner has yet to win a grass-court match in his career. The Argentine may never have a cleaner shot to reach the last sixteen at the All-England Club for the first time.

13.Jannik SinnerChange: -1
2021 Record: 24-12 (1 Title)Actual Rank: 23Last Week Result: DNP
Wimbledon Record: Debut2019 Wimbledon: DNPWimbledon Best: –

All evidence suggests that Sinner’s major breakthrough will not come on grass. He finally got some real exposure to the surface over recent weeks and it did not go well and it did not get any better at Wimbledon, as he lost in the first round to Marton Fucsovics.

14.Denis ShapovalovChange: -1
2021 Record: 18-13Actual Rank: 12Last Week Result: DNP
Wimbledon Record: 1-32019 Wimbledon: R1Wimbledon Best: R2 (2018)

Shapovalov had some encouraging flashes during the grass swing, reaching the quarters in Stuttgart and semis at Queen’s. The question is does he have the consistency to threaten at a major.

While his draw his is not necessarily a cake-walk, Shapovalov must be excited. Philip Kohlschreiber in round one could be tricky, but being in the same section as Bautista Agut, who has not been good for the last few months, is about as good as a higher-ranked fourth round opponent as you could ask for.

He has a real chance to reach a second major quarter-final, maybe even a semi-final given that Tsitsipas and de Minaur both bowed out in the first round.

15.Pablo Carreno BustaChange: Return to List
2021 Record: 19-8 (1 Title)Actual Rank: 13Last Week Result: Mallorca – SF
Wimbledon Record: 0-52019 Wimbledon: R1Wimbledon Best: R1 (5)

Carreno Busta has not historically been great on grass, but he is coming off a great showing in Mallorca, reaching the semi-finals and pushing the eventual champion Medvedev to three sets.

Sam Querrey is going to be a brutal first-round match for the Spaniard. The American likes grass, has reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon before, and reached the final of Mallorca last week. If Carreno Busta gets through, which is really a toss-up, he could meet Eastbourne finalist Lorenzo Sonego in round three and then Federer in round four. It does not get much tougher than that.

Off the List:

  • Rafael Nadal (Out until after the Olympics)

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