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THE DANGEROUS FLOATERS TO AVOID IN THE WIMBLEDON DRAW



Seedings for Wimbledon 2023 have been announced with Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Świątek leading the pack in the men’s and women’s draws respectively.


All up, 32 men and 32 women will be seeded for the tournament including Australia’s Alex de Minaur at no.15 and last year’s finalist Nick Kyrgios at no.31.


These 64 players will face unseeded opponents for the first two rounds, but who do they not want to see in their section?


We take a look at the dangerous floaters that the seeded players will want to avoid when the draw is announced on Friday.


MEN’S DRAW


Andy Murray


This one goes without saying. Andy Murray is a two-time Wimbledon champion and will be playing on British home soil. He isn’t the same player he was a decade ago but his long comeback is gaining some momentum.


He is ranked no.39 (the highest he has been since 2018) which comes off the back of two grass court Challenger titles in a row. That saw him hit a 10 match winning streak including victories over Australia’s own Jason Kubler and Jordan Thompson.


He’s already proved himself to cause an upset at Grand Slam level this year when he took out Matteo Berrettini in Melbourne and on the tour he made the final in Doha defeating Zverev en route.


On the downside, he did go out cheaply to Alex de Minaur at Queen’s, but he should be well rested for a run at SW19.


Ben Shelton


This time last year, Ben Shelton was ranked outside the Top 400 in the world, but since then, he has made quite a splash on the tour.


The 20 year old finished 2022 with three Challenger titles in a row and then went on to make the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.


Following Melbourne, wins have been a little hard to come by on his first proper year on the tour, but he has the game to cause damage with a big serve and matching groundstrokes.


At Queen’s he showed flashes of brilliance when losing to Musetti’s in three tight sets in the second round.


Although he had an early exit in Mallorca, put him on the big stage of Wimbledon and he can come to perform and take out anyone on his day.


Jordan Thompson


Jordan Thompson has won six tour level matches on grass this season, which is the second highest of any player.


He made the final of ‘s-Hertogenbosch taking out Raonic and the always tricky Adrian Mannarino en route. He defeated compatriot Popyrin at Queen’s before losing to Cameron Norrie in three tight sets. He also took out Gasquet in Mallorca before losing to Lopez in three sets last night.


Earlier this year Jordan defeated Tsitsipas in Indian Wells, proving that he has what it takes to beat a top ranked player.


This purple patch of form has been his best in some time and now with time to get back to London to prepare for next week, he can give something for Aussie fans to cheer about at Wimbledon.


Adrian Mannarino


Adrian Mannarino is someone most players want to avoid. Though he doesn’t possess any massive weapons, he is a wiley left-hander who can redirect pace and direction of the ball to unsettle his opponent.


And this season it is working for him. He has made three quarter-finals back-to-back on grass and he has the chance to go further in Mallorca at time of publication. These results have included wins over Top 10 players Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas with his only losses coming to the in-form Jordan Thompson and Alex de Minaur.


Wimbledon has been a happy hunting ground for him in the past, making the fourth round on three occasions. He’ll be hoping he can have another good showing in 2023.


Arthur Fils


At the start of 2023, the 19-year-old Frenchman Arthur Fils was ranked outside the world’s Top 250.


But during this year he has climbed almost 200 spots thanks to great results through the season on multiple surfaces.


A challenger win on indoor hard in Portugal in January was followed up by two semi-finals at ATP level in Montpellier and Marseilles. He then won his first title on the clay in Lyon when just 18 years old. Alcaraz and Rune are the only other teenagers to win titles this year.


His grass court form has been good as well. He qualified in ‘s-Hertogenbosch before going out to the aforementioned Mannarino and then qualified again for Queen’s with a win over Alexei Popyrin. Unfortunately, he had to pull out of a mouth-watering first round match with Carlos Alcaraz due to injury but should be ready for a run at Wimbledon.


WOMEN’S DRAW


Alize Cornet


Alize was the darling of the Grand Slam circuit last year making the quarter-finals in Australia, the fourth round in Wimbledon and the third round in New York and Paris.


This year, it has been a struggle however. She didn’t beat a Top 100 player until May and didn’t make a tour level quarter-final until earlier this month.


But, importantly, that result was on grass. She made the semi-finals of Nottingham defeating Maria Sakkari on the way.


Can this always dangerous player be finding her form at the right time? We’ll see if she can cause an upset or two next week at Wimbledon.


Varvara Gracheva


The world no.43 recently changed her nationality from Russian to French (as she has lived in France for the last six years) and it has immediately paid dividends.


She’s currently into the quarter-finals of Bad Homburg on grass and although she lost early in Berlin last week, it was to Donna Vekic who went on to make the final of the tournament.


It’s been a great year for Gracheva including a final appearance in Austin and two sets of round of 16 results in Indian Wells and Miami.


She has had two Top 10 wins this year including straight set wins over Kasatkina in Melbourne and in Indian Wells as well as a 6-2 6-2 drubbing of Ons Jabeur in Miami.


A player who can comfortably beat top 10 players finding grass court form? One to avoid!


Magdalena Frech


The 25-year-old Polish player has been building her career gradually in 2023.


She made her name after taking Ons Jabeur to three sets in Indian Wells in the second round, followed up with a run to the third round in Miami defeating wildcard Erika Andreeva.


Solid results continued including a win over no.31 seed Shuai Zheng 6-1 6-1 in the first round of Roland Garros.


But it’s been the last two weeks on grass where her form has hit its peak. She made the quarter-finals of Nottingham and Birmingham including wins over world no.38 Sorana Cirstea and no.39 Lin Zhu. And, in Birmingham, she lost to eventual champion Jelena Ostapenko in three tough sets.


Her form of six wins on grass this season so far could see her cause an upset and go far at Wimbledon.


Mirra Andreeva


We’re breaking a rule including Mirra as she isn’t even in the Wimbledon main draw yet!


However, the 16 year old has been in remarkable form and looks to be a top player in years, or even months, to come.


At the French Open, Mirra qualified and won through her first two rounds without losing a set before going out to Coco Gauff in three.


This followed a run to the round of 16 in Madrid where she defeated Top 20 players Linette and Hadad Maia before falling to Sabalenka.


The question will be how she handles the grass courts but her first two qualifying round wins looked incredibly comfortable.


One for us to watch and for players to avoid.


The Brits


Another rule break here, but there are so many British players in good form and with the homeground advantage and Wimbledon, we had to include them all.


-Katie Boulter won the Nottingham tournament without dropping a set

-Jodie Burrage was runner-up in Nottingham taking out LInette, Frech and Cornet on the way

-Heather Watson has a good record at Wimbledon including a fourth round appearance in 2022 and is finding form after a semi-final run in Nottingham

-Harriet Dart has made back-to-back quarter finals in Nottingham and Birmingham beating top 30 player Kalinina twice in two weeks.


Any of these players can give the home crowd something to cheer about at SW19.


Whether or not these players will be the one to cause upsets remain to be seen.


However, with three men and four unseeded women making the quarter-finals in 2022, one thing is for certain: there will be upsets on the grass courts this year at Wimbledon and new stars will be found. We may just not know who they are yet!

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