Monday’s court schedule
Federer, Djokovic, Nadal and Murray control “their turf ”
LONDON» As usual, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are playing well at Wimbledon, leading the way into Week 2.
“It’s their turf,” said Ernests Gulbis, who stood in Djokovic’s way in the third round but failed to present too much of an obstacle. “It’s their home court.”
Not since Lleyton Hewitt won the championship 15 years ago has someone other than Federer (a record-equaling seven titles in that span), Djokovic (three), Nadal (two) or Murray (two) left Wimbledon with the men’s singles title. In addition, that so-called Fab Four account for eight runner-up finishes during that stretch.
Count Federer among those shrugging at the quartet’s success so far, with only one set dropped among the lot.
“I thought that everybody this week was going to find their form, especially speak- ing about Andy and Novak . ... With me, I hoped I was going to be there. Whereas with Rafa’s confidence, I thought he was also going to be there,” said Federer, who has a cold. “So I’m not that surprised.”
This Grand Slam season has been just like old times.
Following a period in which Djokovic, and then current No. 1 Murray overtook Federer and Nadal in the rankings, and started regularly appearing in — and winning — major finals, the latter two have reasserted themselves.
First, Federer returned from missing the last half of 2016 while letting his surgically repaired left knee heal and has been as impressive as he has been in some time.
He won his first Grand Slam title in 4½ years at the Australian Open, beating longtime rival Nadal in the final.
If that was the first indication that Nadal, too, was truly back after his own health issues, another one came at the French Open, where he won his record 10th trophy without dropping a set.
He’s now run his consecutive sets streak at majors to 28, tying his personal best and, in the Open era, sitting behind Federer’s run of 36 from 2006-07 and John McEnroe’s run of 35 in 1984.
“Against Rafa,” said the man he defeated in the third round, 30th-seeded Karen Khachanov, “if you give him time, he can destroy you.”
The men’s fourth-round matchups are set for Monday.
Wimbledon is the lone Grand Slam tournament that schedules all 16 remaining singles matches on the same day.
On the women’s side, at age 37, Venus Williams is the oldest woman left. At 19, Ana Konjuh is the youngest.
There is an interesting age dynamic in the men’s event, too: The seven players 30 or older in the round of 16 represent the most to get that far in the 50 Wimbledons of the Open era.
Federer turns 36 in a month, Nadal is 31, and Djokovic and Murray are 30. They’re joined by Gilles Muller (34), Kevin Anderson (31) and Tomas Berdych (31).
“I came through the juniors with all these guys. It’s nice to see them still hanging on, still enjoying the tour, still being tough out there, making it difficult for the youngsters to break through,” Federer said. “There is a bit of that clash right now — the young ones trying to push out, especially, the 35plus guys. But then there’s a strong, strong team, as well, around the generation of Rafa and Murray and Djokovic, obviously.”
Spain’s Rafael Nadal has had a lot to smile about entering his fourth-round match at Wimbledon on Monday. Nadal is the reigning French Open champion; he didn’t lose a set while winning the tournament in Paris for the 10th time.