On the eve of the tournament, Wimbledon has lost one of its top seeds in the men's draw. David Ferrer has had to withdrawfrom playing in this year’s championship. The number 8 seed is unableto take his place in the starting line-up after a wrist injury has forced himto pull out. His absence may improve the fortunes of the remaining players.

The Spaniard lost in the secondround last year but reached the quarter finals in both 2012 and 2013. He hasbeen replaced in the draw by lucky loser Luca Vanni, from Italy.

Boost for the Brits?

The news of Ferrer’s withdrawalwill prove to be a fillip for Britain’s James Ward, who was due to meet him inthe first round.

Despite having most success in the French Open where he wasrunner-up in 2013, the 33-year old Spaniard will always prove a toughcompetitor and he would have been an odds-on favourite to beat Ward. The Britonwill now fancy his chances against the Italian qualifier.

Had matches gone to form, Ferrerwould have been scheduled to meet Rafael Nadal in the fourth round with thewinner of that match potentially facing Andy Murray in the quarter-finals. WithNadal yet to reach top form since his return from injury, Murray will know thathe now won’t have to face one of his most dangerous opponents.

Tough route to the final

Murray knows however that heneeds to focus on each game as it comes and not take anything for granted.

DespiteFerrer’s absence, he still faces a daunting trip to the final. Should he getpast world number 58, Mikhail Kukushkin and manages to successfully navigate the firstweek, the big games will come thick and fast.

In the fourth round he could faceJo Wilfred Tsonga, followed by Nadal in the quarters. Seven-time champion andsecond seed, Roger Federer, could be his semi-final opponent and should heovercome that challenge, Novak Djokovic may be his final opponent.

In order for Murray to retain thetitle he last won in 2013, he would therefore have to beat the world number onefor the first time in nine attempts. If he is to prevail at the All EnglandClub, he will have to beat the world’s best players. He will have to do it the hardway, but no-one says that being a Wimbledon champion is easy.