Wimbledon 2018: Andy Murray draws Benoit Paire in 1st round; Roger Federer begins title defence against Dusan Lajovic

The 31-year-old Andy Murray has played just three matches since making his comeback last week after 11 months on the sidelines.

Agence France-Presse June 29, 2018 16:13:33 IST
Wimbledon 2018: Andy Murray draws Benoit Paire in 1st round; Roger Federer begins title defence against Dusan Lajovic

London: Andy Murray has been drawn to face France's Benoit Paire in the Wimbledon first round after the two-time champion entered the All England Club draw on Friday.

Murray had left his participation in the grass-court Grand Slam to the last minute as the former world number one makes tentative progress in his return from hip surgery.

The 31-year-old Scot has played just three matches since making his comeback last week after 11 months on the sidelines.

Wimbledon 2018 Andy Murray draws Benoit Paire in 1st round Roger Federer begins title defence against Dusan Lajovic

Andy Murray practices during a training session at the Queen's Club. AP

Murray, whose ranking has dropped to 156, had an operation on his right hip in January and only returned to action on 18 June when he was beaten by Nick Kyrgios at Queen's Club.

The three-time Grand Slam winner saw off Stan Wawrinka at Eastbourne on Monday, but after losing to fellow Briton Kyle Edmund on Wednesday he conceded his fitness was still an issue.

Despite his lack of match practice, Murray has apparently opted to give it a go at his home Grand Slam, where he will play in a best-of-five sets tournament for the first time since his Wimbledon quarter-final defeat against Sam Querrey 12 months ago.

Murray, who defeated Paire in straight sets at Wimbledon last year, could still withdraw from the tournament right up until the scheduled start of his clash with the World No 48.

Wimbledon starts on Monday and Murray, who hasn't publicly announced he is fit enough to play, is due to face the media in a press conference on Saturday.

If he does take part, Murray is scheduled to face former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in the third round and may have to get past Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals and Roger Federer in the final.

Defending champion Federer, in his 20th visit to the south London tournament, opens his bid for a ninth Wimbledon crown by facing Serbia's Dusan Lajovic.

The 36-year-old has potential encounters with Lukas Lacko, Leonardo Mayer and Borna Coric, who beat Federer in the Halle final last weekend, knocking the 20-time major winner off the top of the ATP rankings.

A possible quarter-final against South Africa's Kevin Anderson lies in wait for Federer, followed by a semi-final clash with newly crowned Queen's Club champion Marin Cilic, who lost to the Swiss star in last year's Wimbledon final.

If Federer makes it through those six opponents, he has a potential final date with his old rival Nadal on the 10th anniversary of their epic five-set Wimbledon final won by the Spaniard.

French Open champion Nadal, who hasn't won Wimbledon since 2010, will aim to avoid adding to a long list of embarrassing early exits when the World No 1 takes on Israel's Dudi Sela in the first round.

Djokovic, who plays American Tennys Sandgren in the first round, could face British number one Edmund in the third round and French Open finalist Dominic Thiem in the last 16.

With his ranking down to 17 after a long spell marred by injuries and poor form, three-time Wimbledon winner Djokovic has already claimed he isn't a contender for the title.

One of the most eagerly anticipated ties of the first round will see three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka, unseeded after his ranking fell following knee surgery, meet sixth-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

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