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NOVAK DJOKOVIC SAYS: ROGER AND RAFA ARE WIMBLEDON 2018 FAVORITES

Roger Federer from Switzerland celebrates winning his round of 16 match against Benoit Paire of France at the ATP Tennis Tournament Gerry Weber Open in Halle Westphalia, Germany, 21 June 2018. EPA-EFE/SASCHA STEINBACH

 

 

By Richard Pagliario

 

LONDON—Defending Wimbledon champion Roger Federer and reigning Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal have combined to claim six straight Grand Slam titles.

 

Novak Djokovic sees that streak continuing at SW19.

 

Asked to assess the Wimbledon favorites today, Djokovic said the world’s top two are in a class by themselves.

 

“Nadal and Roger,” Djokovic said, adding “I mean, Roger is a clear favorite, without a doubt. Nadal maybe hasn’t played that well in Wimbledon last couple of years up to his standards, but he’s won it several times, played finals several times. He’s definitely rightly one of the candidates to win the title.”

 

Djokovic dismantled Grigor Dimitrov, 6-4, 6-1, charging into the Queen’s Club quarterfinals today with his first Top 10 victory since he demolished Dominic Thiem on the red clay of Rome in May of 2017.

 

Despite his strong start at the Fever-Tree Championships, Djokovic, whose last major title came at the 2016 Roland Garros, said he’s “definitely not one of the favorites in Wimbledon, so I’ll just try to keep it humble.”

 

The 12-time Grand Slam champion cast himself, two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, who lost his comeback match to Nick Kyrgios at Queen’s Club on Tuesday, 2017 Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic and semifinalist Sam Querrey as the next level contenders.

 

“Andy and myself, you know, if we play well [can contend],” Djokovic said. “Obviously we dropped in the rankings, but Andy played really well against Nick here first round. He has home support and, you know, a lot of things can go in a right direction for him as long as he’s healthy. So, I mean, he’s always tough to play against on grass courts, especially in Wimbledon.

 

“[Grigor] Dimitrov, obviously if he plays on a high level, he can really beat anybody this surface. I mean, guys like that, Querrey, Cilic. Of course Cilic, you know. So it’s quite open.”

 

Kyrgios, who pushed Federer to a third-set tie break in Stuttgart last weekend, said only a “handful” of players have a legitimate shot to win Wimbledon and described himself as “a big” threat and called British No. 1 Kyle Edmund “a massive” danger at Wimbledon.

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