Top 5 Men’s Wimbledon First-Rounders—Djokovic, Anderson, Thiem at risk

Top 5 Men’s Wimbledon First-Rounders—Djokovic, Anderson, Thiem at risk

Frances Tiafoe, who just missed out on being seeded at Wimbledon this year, could have a shot at taking out a Top 10 player in the first round.

View the entire men's bracket at our Wimbledon tournament page.


From the world No. 1 playing someone who’s beaten him this year to the No. 4 playing an American giant-killer, the men’s draw for Wimbledon includes a number of fantastic first-round match-ups.

Here are five first-rounders to keep an eye on:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)

Of the Big 3's first-round opponents, Djokovic's is by far the most accomplished. Kohlschreiber has beaten Djokovic twice before: in the third round of Roland Garros in 2009 (6-4, 6-4, 6-4), and in the third round of Indian Wells earlier this year (6-4, 6-4).

Still, Djokovic leads their head-to-head, 10-2, which includes two wins since that Indian Wells loss, and a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory in their only previous grass-court meeting, in the first round of Wimbledon in 2015.

“He’s been around for so many years and he doesn’t really get overwhelmed by the occasion of playing on center court or anything like that,” Djokovic said of the German after their match at Indian Wells. “He’s proven he can win against top guys. He’s got experience of playing on a big stage.”

[4] Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA)

It’s been a tough first half of the year for Anderson, who missed the entire clay-court season with an elbow injury and returned to the tour just last week at Queen’s Club. Now, in his second tournament back, he’ll have a lot of expectations—he was a finalist at Wimbledon a year ago, falling to Djokovic.

Herbert is in good grass-court form, playing all three weeks of the Wimbledon lead-up stretch, highlighted by reaching the semifinals of Halle, where he fell to Roger Federer. He also has two Top 10 wins this year: over Dominic Thiem in Doha and Kei Nishikori in Monte Carlo.

Anderson won the pair’s only previous meeting in the 2015 Winston-Salem final, 6-4, 7-5.

[5] Dominic Thiem (AUT) vs Sam Querrey (USA)

Thiem has had an enormous amount of success at Roland Garros over the last several years, reaching back-to-back semifinals in 2016 and 2017, and then back-to-back finals in 2018 and 2019, but he’s always struggled at Wimbledon, making it past the second round just once in five previous tries.

Querrey could be trouble for the world No. 4. Not only has he beaten him once before, in Acapulco two years ago, but Wimbledon is his best Grand Slam—he reached the quarterfinals in 2016, beating then-No. 1 Djokovic along the way; and he made his first Grand Slam semifinal there in 2017, beating then-No. 1 Andy Murray en route. After having to pull out of Roland Garros this year with an abdominal injury, he’s through to the semifinals of Eastbourne this week in his first tournament back.

[12] Fabio Fognini (ITA) vs Frances Tiafoe (USA)

Tiafoe, who just missed out on being seeded at Wimbledon this year, could have a shot at taking out a Top 10 player in the first round as he takes on No. 10 Fognini. Not only did Fognini need five sets to beat him in their only previous meeting, a 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 1-6, 6-0 win at the French Open two years ago, but the Italian has never made it out of the first week of Wimbledon in 10 previous appearances.

[13] Marin Cilic (CRO) vs Adrian Mannarino (FRA)

It has been a difficult season for Cilic, starting the year ranked No. 7 and currently down to No. 18, largely due to his fourth-round loss at the Australian Open, where he was a finalist last year. The Croat, who was also a finalist Wimbledon two years ago, will kick off his fortnight against the crafty Frenchman Mannarino, who just won his first ATP title on grass at ’s-Hertogenbosch two weeks ago. They’ve played twice before at tour-level, with both matches going to three sets.