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Ricky’s picks for Day 1 at Wimbledon, including Kyrgios vs. Goffin

Wimbledon has arrived. The 2023 Championships get started on Monday, when Novak Djokovic will have the tradition of kicking off play on Centre Court as the defending champion. Taylor Fritz and Nick Kyrgios will also be in action.

Here are my previews and picks for two of the best matchups on Day 1 at the All-England Club.

Yannick Hanfmann vs. (9) Taylor Fritz

Fritz made big headlines at Wimbledon last summer, going all the way to the quarters before losing to Rafael Nadal in a five-set thriller. What will the American do for an encore in 2023? Fritz should be able to deliver another productive result, as he is playing well and appearing to have a favorable draw as the No. 9 seed. Although slams have not been kind to him overall, Fritz can take confidence from his showing in SW19 last summer.

Up first for the 25-year-old on Monday is Hanfmann, who won their only previous encounter 6-4, 6-1 this spring at the Rome Masters. However, Hanfmann is at his best on clay and the story will likely be a lot different on grass. That’s not to say the former USC standout is bad on the slick stuff; he is coming off a SF performance in Mallorca, after all. Still, Fritz is more rested and is the better overall player–especially on grass.

Pick: Fritz in 4

(WC) David Goffin vs. (30) Nick Kyrgios

This is a tough one to handicap with both players nowhere close to peak shape. Kyrgios has played only one match this season, mainly due to a knee injury. The 28-year-old Australian lost 7-5, 6-3 to Yibing Wu in Stuttgart and did not look anywhere close to 100 percent in doing so. Goffin is 32 years old and toiling down at No. 123 in the world, having been plagued by physical problems oh his own for several years.

Monday marks their fifth meeting and first since 2017. Kyrgios leads the head-to-head series stands at 3-1, having prevailed three times on hard courts between 2016 and 2017. However, Goffin most recently got the job done 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on clay in 2017 Davis Cup competition. If this is a long match (and it probably will be), the Belgian should have the edge from both a physical and mental perspective.

Pick: Goffin in 5

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.