Following the draw for Wimbledon 2019, our tennis columnist Dan Weston returns with his outright selections for the tournament, which is available to watch on Betfair Live Video...
"Raonic’s longer-term grass data is strong, while his level this season on the surface is also very decent, running at a just below 107% combined serve/return points won percentage."
Djokovic the big winner from Friday's draw
One man in particular benefited from Friday's draw - top seed, Novak Djokovic. He saw market, and historical, rivals Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal placed away from him in the bottom half of the draw which was particularly tough on Nadal.
In theory at least, if the tournament goes to seedings - and there's a strong possibility that this will be the case - Nadal would face Federer in the semi-final and if he wins that, would then have to meet Djokovic in the final. Nadal's progress even to this stage is far from a given, though, with the King of Clay unable to justify a similar nickname on grass, even losing to four players ranked 100 or greater in consecutive years from 2012-2015.
Nadal with potential tough route to latter stages
Nadal's passage to the latter stages is ridden with hurdles. While he's a heavy favourite to get past the Japanese qualifier, Yuichi Sugita, it's worth noting that Sugita is a pretty competent grass courter and could easily provide a sterner test than the market anticipates. Following this, a potential run of Kyrgios/Tsonga/Cilic just to get to the quarter-final stage is brutal, with all of the three very capable on the surface, and Cilic actually has better two-year grass data than Nadal.
Given this, it's no surprise that Nadal has drifted in the outright markets since our pre-draw assessment, with the Spaniard currently trading at 8.27/1.
Berrettini an early tough match for Federer
Djokovic, as mentioned, was the big winner with the draw - an opening three potential matches against Kohlschreiber, Kudla and Hurkacz isn't nearly as tough as Nadal's - and he's shortened around 15 ticks post-draw, into 2.447/5. Federer has stayed relatively static, at 4.47/2.
Of the three big names, I'd prefer to side with Federer at prices although I'm a little concerned by how stacked the bottom half of the draw is. There's a number of tough potential mid-late tournament clashes for Federer, such as the breakthrough player of 2019, Matteo Berrettini, and the aforementioned Cilic, while if fit, John Isner wouldn't be an easy meeting on grass either.
Raonic capable in quarter two
Therefore my angles for the tournament are looking at quarter two, which has none of the top three draw in it, and Nadal's quarter three, in isolation. Starting with quarter two, I do like Milos Raonic.
The Canadian hasn't always exhibited the best longevity in tournaments from an injury perspective but this is a Grand Slam tournament and most of his withdrawals have been in smaller events. If there's one tournament to put your body on the line, surely it would be Wimbledon.
He has a nice few early rounds in prospect, opening up against Prajnesh Gunneswaran, prior to a likely meeting with Robin Haase and then Stan Wawrinka, who hasn't impressed on grass in recent years. Raonic's longer-term grass data is strong, while his level this season on the surface is also very decent, running at a just below 107% combined serve/return points won percentage.
Quarter two in general isn't as prolific for contenders as other brackets, with the likes of Kevin Anderson (who is a fitness doubt), Feliciano Lopez, Karen Khachanov, Roberto Bautista-Agut and Alexander Zverev the main players expected to do well, but there really are question marks about surface level or fitness about all of these. Given this, I'm happy to risk Raonic at 5.69/2 to win quarter two on the Exchange. Sportsbook players can take 4/1.
Nadal vulnerable in quarter three
Nadal to win quarter three looks short at 2.546/4 to back and 2.6613/8 to lay although I'm not 100% convinced on a player to take him out - if fit and firing, Marin Cilic looks the obvious choice at 11/2 to win the quarter with the Sportsbook.
Of course, the other angle would be to oppose him by backing potential semi-final opponent Federer (who would shorten on an early Nadal exit) but I'm concerned about the presence of Berrettini in his fourth quarter. Given that I'm struggling with which option to take, I'll stick with Raonic to win quarter two as discussed above, although I wouldn't criticise anyone who was keen to lay Nadal in the quarter winner market either.
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Back Milos Raonic to win quarter two at 5.609/2