The main con­tenders

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS -

No­vak Djokovic (Ser­bia), 31. World rank­ing: 1. Seeded: 1 Six-time win­ner (last in 2016).

Big­gest weapon: Back after an el­bow in­jury, Djokovic has been un­playable at the last two Slams. His trade­mark deep re­turns keep op­po­nents pegged back and his fit­ness lev­els mean he thrives in ad­verse con­di­tions.

Big­gest weak­ness: His serve is not the fastest and his break-point con­ver­sion rate has dropped in the past year.

Rafa Nadal (Spain), 32. World rank­ing: 2. Seeded 2. Win­ner in 2009

Big­gest weapon: Nadal’s whipped top­spin fore­hand is one of the most vi­cious shots in tennis.

Big­gest weak­ness: Nadal’s high en­ergy style has taken a toll over the years and he re­tired dur­ing the US Open semi-fi­nals with ten­donitis in his knee and fol­lowed that up by hav­ing an­kle surgery in Novem­ber. Roger Fed­erer (Switzer­land), 37. World rank­ing: 3. Seeded: 3. Six-time win­ner (last in 2018). Big­gest weapon: The de­fend­ing cham­pion’s serve-and-vol­ley game al­lows him to con­serve en­ergy and fin­ish points quickly. His vast ex­pe­ri­ence and formidable shot se­lec­tion let him switch tactics quickly.

Weak­ness: Even at 37, there are barely any chinks in his ar­mour but play­ing marathon five-set­ters in the heat may prove to be his un­do­ing. Alexan­der Zverev (Ger­many), 21. World rank­ing: 4. Seeded: 4. Big­gest weapon: Eight-times Ma­jor win­ner Ivan Lendl is coach­ing Zverev with the aim of help­ing him over­come his big-games jit­ters. Big­gest weak­ness: Lack of ex­pe­ri­ence and a dis­ap­point­ing record at Grand Slams, where the ex­pec­ta­tion has weighed him down.

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