27 Jun 2015

Trio of NZ men in Wimbledon doubles

10:28 am on 27 June 2015

New Zealand will have three men in the main doubles draw at Wimbledon for the first time since 1985 next week, after Marcus Daniell earned a lucky loser's berth in the London grass court major.

Daniell and his Brazilian partner Marcelo Demoliner fell in the final round of qualifying, but a withdrawal's handed them a slot in the opening round.

Daniell joins fellow New Zealand Davis Cup players Artem Sitak and Michael Venus at the All England Club, where Daniell and Demoliner will face Robin Haase of The Netherlands and France's Benoit Paire.

Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak on Davis Cup duty

Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak on Davis Cup duty Photo: Photosport

Sitak and his American partner Nicholas Monroe play the Austrian-German combination of Andreas Haider-Maurer and Dustin Brown, while Venus will team up with Croatia's Mate Pavic against

Colombian-Portugese pairing of Santiago Giraldo and Joao Souza.

The last time at least three New Zealand men were in the main draw of Wimbledon doubles was back in 1985, when Kelly Evernden, Russell Simpson, Bruce Derlin and Chris Lewis all played with different partners.

The New Zealand tennis number one Marina Erakovic.

Marina Erakovic will play Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in the first round of Wimbledon Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Meanwhile, national tennis No.1 Marina Erakovic has drawn a lower-ranked player in her first round at Wimbledon.

Erakovic will play the world number 95, Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan, who's ranked nine places below her.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic will have to hit the ground running at Wimbledon after being drawn against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber in round one.

The Serb, seeded top, has not played a competitive match since losing to Stanislas Wawrinka in the French Open final, and could then play former champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, who is making his Wimbledon farewell, in the second round.

Kohlschreiber, who once beat Djokovic at Roland Garros, had match points against Federer at the Halle grasscourt event last week and at number 33 in the world he only just missed being seeded for the grasscourt grand slam.

Federer, bidding for an eighth Wimbledon title, will play Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur who he beat at the French Open.

The top half of the women's draw looks stronger than the bottom with world number one Serena Williams joined by Ana Ivanovic, Maria Sharapova and five-times winner Venus Williams.

The American Williams sisters could meet in the last 16.

Andy Murray faces a potentially tough path if he is to win a second Wimbledon title after finding himself in the bottom half of the draw, along with twice former champion Rafael Nadal.

Murray plays Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in round one but Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga could be waiting in the last 16 with Nadal or fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the quarters.

Tenth seed Nadal plays Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci while Wawrinka, seeded four and on course for a semi-final against Djokovic, plays Joao Sousa.