Wimbledon Preview: Favorites, Dark Horses, and Bad Bets
Well, the French Open ended one short week ago, which means that qualifying at Wimbledon starts tomorrow and that main draw play will start a week later. We have seen an unprecedented level of dominance by two players at the top of tennis, with Djokovic and Nadal facing each other in the last four Grand Slam finals (and 5 of the last 7). The last person other than those two, Federer, or Murray to compete in a Grand Slam final was Tomas Berdych, here at Wimbledon 2 years ago.
Iíve said it before, and Iím sure Iíll say it more than just this one time: There is very little more elegant and pristine in sports than tennis being played on fresh grass. It gets beaten up and destroyed after a few days of play, but I really always advise watching as much as possible on the first day. Thereís just something about the pure green grass at Wimbledon that makes you feel like this was the way tennis was meant to be played.
1. Rafael Nadal- After his dominating performance at the French Open, Nadal is the clear favorite here. We did see, in part of the final, what Djokovic can do to Nadal with heavier balls and a lower bounce, but Nadal is just more confident and playing at a higher level right now. Nadal is actually in an interesting position right now. Heís playing the highest-level tennis in the world at the moment. Also, when the grass gets beat up after the first week it plays much more similar to clay. Somehow I feel like a big hitter or server (like Raonic or even Kohlscheiber) has a bigger chance of upsetting Nadal early in the tournament-when the grass still plays like grass-than almost anyone else does later when the ground hardens up.
2. Novak Djokovic- Djokovic is not playing at the insane level he showed last year, but he still is clearly one of the top 2 players in the world. His and Nadalís battles (because letís be honest, thatís exactly what they are) are much more even and much harder-fought now that Nadal seems to have gotten past some of the mental blocks that he had against Djokovic at this time in 2011. If Djokovic can find his 2011 form again for the entire fortnight, he will be nearly impossible to beat. At least until the final, that is.
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