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McEnroe and Evert pick Djokovic as their SW19 favourite

Novak Djokovic's pre-Championships press conference.
by Nicholas McCarvel
Wednesday 19 June 2013

ESPN pundits John McEnroe and Chris Evert gave their thoughts on who they think will be holding the trophies at the end of the Wimbledon fortnight. Wimbledon.com joined in to hear their views...

In the days leading up to a major, the talk in the tennis world is always around who is favoured to take home the trophy at the close of the fortnight. In the case of The Championships 2013, Serena Williams is the leading candidate among the women. The 31-year-old Williams is the world No.1, the top seed and the defending champion who is fresh off a title at Roland Garros and riding a 31-match winning streak that dates back to March.

But on the men's side, it's not as easy for the 127th Championships. Top seed Novak Djokovic won the year's opening major in Australia, but Rafael Nadal stormed back from injury to capture his record eighth title in Paris earlier this month. Roger Federer, a seven-times winner at Wimbledon, is the defending champion here. But it's actually Andy Murray who was technically the last to hoist a winner's trophy on the grounds of the All England Club - be it during the 2012 Olympic Games, where he drubbed Federer in the final.

So, who is the favourite tipped to win the men's title? For former greats John McEnroe and Chris Evert, who between them captured 12 Wimbledon crowns, the answer is synonymous: Djokovic is their man.

"I think it is a tougher call to see who the favourite would be," McEnroe said in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. "I would pick Djokovic first and Murray second."

But Murray sat out Roland Garros with an injury, and returned last week at Queen's with his third win there. A year ago the world No.3 was a finalist at Wimbledon, losing to Federer in a four-set contest. 

"I think Murray will be hungrier not playing the French, maybe a little fresher," McEnroe continued. "Then Roger, because he still has such a great game for grass. It's tough to win it back-to-back at his age. Rafa having come back so great... maybe I'm wrong, because I thought he would be a little tired. That would be the order if I had to pick 1 to 4." 

They are not seeded that way, however, as Roland Garros finalist David Ferrer is the fourth seed, Nadal the fifth. 

For Evert, however, a loss at Roland Garros only means motivation for Djokovic, winner of six major titles.

"Djokovic comes to mind only because I think the disappointment at the French Open," Evert said. 

And for Federer? Evert mused that this is the title Federer is gunning for; it would be his record eighth win at The Championships.

"I have a sneaking suspicion that Federer has put all his eggs in one basket and he's gunning for Wimbledon," Evert added. "It's the only Grand Slam that he really has a legitimate chance at. I don't mean that against him, it's just that the competition is so good."

But while McEnroe and Evert have put their egg in the basket of Djokovic, it's still a toss-up, they say.

"It's just totally up in the air," Evert said. "That's the wonderful thing about it. That's the wonderful thing about having the top four men playing so closely and evenly. It's a hard question, and I don't know if John agrees with it, coming into a tournament, as an analyst, you like to see the first few rounds and see how they're playing. Especially after the first week, you kind of have a better view." 

McEnroe concluded: "Nadal is seeded No.5, and [if] he plays Djokovic in the quarters, that's going to impact more than just those two people."

Listen to the official draw at 10am on Friday live on Wimbledon.com or download the official iPhone and Android apps

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