Australian No.1 Bernard Tomic and former champion Lleyton Hewitt have copped nasty draws on an extraordinary day at Wimbledon.
Tomic could face world No.1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic in the third round, the earliest he could have possibly struck the Serb after being seeded 27th for the championships.
Hewitt – playing for the last time at the All England Club – will face tough Finn Jarko Nieminen in his opener, with victory almost certainly thrusting the 34-year-old wildcard into a second-round showdown with Djokovic.
Teenage ace Thanasi Kokkinakis has also landed in the treacherous top pocket of the draw with Hewitt and Tomic, who launches his title quest against Frenchman Jan-Lennard Struff.
Kokkinakis plays Argentina’s 24th seed Leonardo Mayer in his eagerly-awaited debut at the All England Club.
All up, nine of Australia’s 11 men in the singles were drawn in the top half.
Nick Kyrgios, the 26th seed, fared best and has a real shot at emulating his run to the quarter-finals last year.
The 20-year-old will play unseeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman first up, with seventh seed Milos Raonic, the Canadian who took him out last year, Kyrgios’s first projected big danger in the third round.
Tomic’s nightmare draw comes as his father wages war with Tennis Australia’s head of player performance Pat Rafter, who has stopped funding the family because of John Tomic’s “intolerable” behaviour.
John Tomic is livid that TA won’t provide financial support for his 17-year-old daughter Sara, the world No.765 who won her maiden professional tournament last weekend in Egypt.
The feud has led to Bernard making himself unavailable for Australia’s Davis Cup quarter-final against Kazakhstan the week after Wimbledon.
“On which basis can he (Rafter) cut funding in Australia? It is not his private company,” John Tomic said after Rafter hit back in the war of words on the eve of the Wimbledon draw.
“It means money will (be) left in TA budget that he can use for his self and all administration.
“Why he did not cut TA administration (and) their high expenses overseas – hotels, first-class flight tickets, food.
“All of them taking wives and kids on TA expenses. Why he cutting grassroots?
“It means that he is in political situation that he doing how his bosses want. He don’t care for Australian tennis.”