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Big W's Seed Report
Wimbledon men's seed report
Roddick primed for a deep run, where Roger awaits
Posted: Thursday June 16, 2005 12:31PM; Updated: Thursday June 16, 2005 12:41PM
Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim offers his insight as to how the men's and women's seeds will fare at Wimbledon. Read on for the top first-round matchups, dark horses to keep an eye on and his predicted winners.
Top 16 seeds
1. Roger Federer. Even if he didn't have a chip on his shoulder after Paris, the two-time defending champ has to be considered the overwhelming favorite. Most underrated statistic in sports: Federer has won the last 20 finals in which he's played.
2. Andy Roddick. He could upgrade his unremarkable year with a (sorely needed) strong performance on grass. He's looked sharp in tune-ups and -- despite his choppy net play -- this might be the ideal surface for his lock-and-load game and underrated athleticism. He can't be happy about an early matchup against Ivo Karlovic, but he still has a good shot at another final.
3. Lleyton Hewitt. Pops Hewitt probably got a raw deal from the seeding committee, but they made it up to him with a generally congenial draw. A possible second-rounder against James Blake is intriguing, as always.
4. Rafael Nadal. The inevitable letdown after the clay-court tear won't be as dramatic as many think. Nadal still is a long way from feeling comfortable on grass, but the guess here is that he wins three matches.
5. Marat Safin. As he has made abundantly clear, grass is not his preferred surface. Plus he's playing on an iffy knee, and he got no help from a draw that pits him first against Paradorn Srichaphan and then against the Mark Philippoussis-Karol Beck winner. Of course, given his history of inexplicable results, this all could mean that Safin will go on to win the tournament.
6. Tim Henman. One of those players who quietly could sneak through the draw without garnering much attention. As always, the Brit native will not only have to compete with the likes of Sebastien Grosjean and Roddick in his quadrant, but also with national hysteria.
7. Guillermo "Willie" Canas. Tennis' Ben Wallace -- perhaps the game's best defensive player -- is not a threat on the greensward.
8. Nikolay Davydenko. Interesting prospect: Though his track record on grass is unremarkable, his efficient, minimalist game would seem to fit the surface.
9. Sebastien Grosjean. A semifinalist two years running, he got a huge bump from the subjective seeding (he's ranked No. 26). Potential tough first-rounder against left-handed countryman Mike Llodra.
10. Mario Ancic. Inasmuch as a former semifinalist and No. 10 seed can be a dark horse, Ancic is your man. Baby Goran (or Baby Pau Gasol, as the case may be) has a big serve and wham-bam game ideal for grass. If the serve is working, the semifinals are a real possibility.
11. Joachim Johansson. In theory, the hard-serving Swede is real contender. But questions about his health linger. He's in Federer's quadrant and, should the two play on Johansson's birthday, we know the recent history.
12. Thomas Johansson. It's surprising this deceptively powerful Swede doesn't have a stronger track record at Wimbledon. He's playing in a wide-open quadrant, so look for a strong showing from 2002 Aussie Open champ.
13. Tommy Robredo. Grass doesn't afford him the time he requires to hit his big forehand. He can't complain about his draw, but don't be surprised if he goes down early -- say to Florian Mayer in Round 2.
14. Radek Stepanek. A powerful player with nice hands around the net. One to watch for sure.
15. Guillermo Coria. He'll be lucky to win against Tom Behrend. But unlike other clay-court impresarios Carlos Moya, Gaston Gaudio, Albert Costa and Juan Ignacio Chela, credit him for showing up.
16. Mariano Puerta. He's never won a grass-court match. Enough said.
18. David Nalbandian. El Mullet has been sluggish all year, but he was a Wimbledon finalist in '02.
20. Ivan Ljubicic. He cooled off after torrid start to '05, but he's a player to watch now that there's a fast court underfoot.
22. Taylor Dent. This his best chance for a deep Slam run.
28. Jiri Novak. He's past his prime, but he sure has a sweet draw.
Ivo Karlovic. If he can serve Roddick off the court in Round 2, look out.
Max Mirnyi. Generally a horrible Grand Slam singles player. But on the serve alone, he ought to win a few rounds.
Alexander Popp. A wise man once said, "Never pick against an onomatopoeia."
Karol Beck/Mark Philippoussis. The winner of this first-round matchup could go far.
Paradorn Srichaphan. In the throes of a miserable year but usually plays well on grass.
Phil Kohlscreiber. Yet another German with grass-court aptitude.
Olivier Rochus. As always.
First-round matchups to watch
Beck vs. Philippoussis. Lousy draw for both.
Safin vs. Srichaphan. At another time, on another surface, this could have been a final.
Vince Spadeavs. Nadal. Eccentric American could give French Open champ a workout.
Nicolas Massuvs.Sarge Sargsian. Best '04 U.S. Open match redux.
Henman vs.Jarko Nieminen. "Their Tim" can't be happy about facing a lefty veteran off the bat.
Thomas Johansson vs. Roddick
Federer vs. Ancic
Federer vs. Roddick