Dudi Sela drawn to face Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon
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Dudi Sela drawn to face Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon

Israel's top-ranked player handed daunting task of taking on the world number one at SW19

Andrew Sherwood is the Jewish News Sport and Community Editor

Dudi Sela is through to the second round at Wimbledon
Dudi Sela is through to the second round at Wimbledon

Dudi Sela has been handed the toughest possible draw at Wimbledon – after he was drawn against the world number one Rafael Nadal.

Having endured a poor first half of the year – which saw him lose in the first round of the previous two Grand Slams – the odds of making it a hat-trick of early exits increased when he was drawn against the Spaniard, who will be bidding to win a third title at SW19.

Sela’s form has plummeted of late, with him dropping down to 129 in the world rankings, though will at least be able to enjoy his first ever appearance on centre court. Taking part in his tenth Championships, his best ever appearance at the tournament saw him reach the fourth round in 2009, while last year saw him record one of the upsets of the competition, when he beat John Isner in a five-set classic, before retiring injured against Grigor Dimitrov in the third round.

Tuesday’s match will be Sela’s first competitive one since the end of May, with it also being his first on grass this year. The two have met twice before, with Nadal not surprisingly winning both matches, though even more ominously, not dropping a set. Beating him 6-1, 6-0, 7-5 in the 2015 Australian Open, their most recent match was in 2017, when Nadal won 6-3, 6-4 in Miami.

The top-ranked Jewish men’s player, Diego Schwartzman, received a much more favourable draw – with him facing Bosnian Mirza Basic, who’s ranked 78 in the world. The Argentine, who is yet to win a match at Wimbledon, goes into the tournament ranked 11 in the world, and 14 for the Championships, and will be confident of making progress in what will be the first match played between the two.

The only Jewish woman in the competition, Italian Camila Giorgi, has also been handed a tough first round match in Latvian Anastasija Sevastova.

In the doubles draw, Israel’s other representative, Jonathan Erlich, will be pairing up with Poland’s Marcin Matkowski, and have been drawn against Frenchmen Jonathan Eysseric and Hugo Nys.

Israeli Yshai Oliel is set to take part in the junior events, which begin in the second week of the tournament.

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