LONDON – The draw for Wimbledon was relatively kind to defending champion Andy Murray.
It was a lot more daunting for top-ranked Rafael Nadal.
Murray, who last year became the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, was drawn Friday to open the defense of his title against 104th-ranked David Goffin of Belgium, who will be playing in the main draw of the grass-court tournament for only the third time.
In the women’s draw, top-ranked and five-time champion Serena Williams is in the same quarter as French Open champion Maria Sharapova. The two could face each other in the quarterfinals.
Murray, who is seeded third this year, has admitted he does not know how he will cope with the pressure of walking onto Centre Court as the defending champion on Monday.
At least he has a relatively smooth path in the draw until the quarterfinals, where he could play seventh-seeded David Ferrer or Grigor Dmitrov, who won last week’s warm-up at Queen’s Club. Then looms a potential semifinal against top-seeded Novak Djokovic – a rematch of last year’s final.
It will be a proud moment to come back as defending champion, Murray said.
The top-ranked Nadal, who is seeded No. 2 and is the only man with at least one Grand Slam title in 10 consecutive years, will start against No. 57 Martin Klizan of Slovakia. The Spaniard could then face Lukas Rosol, who beat him here in 2012.
Friday’s draw put Murray in the top half with Djokovic, who won Wimbledon in 2011. Nadal is in the bottom half with seven-time champion Roger Federer.
Federer will start against Paolo Lorenzi of Italy, and Djokovic will play his first match against Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan.
Djokovic could meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round and former finalist Tomas Berdych in the last eight.
Sharapova, who defeated Serena Williams in the 2004 final to win her only Wimbledon title and first Grand Slam championship, will open against Samantha Murray. Williams will take on Anna Tatishvili.