Wimbledon 2012: Definitive Guide for Entire Tournament

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IJune 23, 2012

Wimbledon 2012: Definitive Guide for Entire Tournament

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    Wimbledon 2012, from London's All England Lawn Tennis Club, promises to both thrill and surprise this summer.

    The trio of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have won 28 of the past 29 Grand Slam tournaments on the men's side, while the last six Grand Slams on the women's side have been claimed by six different champions.

    Anything can and probably will happen at the legendary grass-court tournament. That being said, here is your definitive guide to the next two weeks of championship tennis at Wimbledon.

Men's Draw: The Big Three, Then Everyone Else

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    Novak Djokovic became the last of the Big Three to add a Wimbledon championship to his collection in 2011. The dominant trio of Nole, Rafa and Fed-Ex have a combined nine Wimbledon titles between them.

    You have to go a decade to the summer of 2002 (Lleyton Hewitt) to find the last time one of those players didn't win it. You don't have to go back nearly as far, but still three years (2009 US Open) to find the last time one of the Big Three failed to win a Grand Slam. 

    It's safe to say that one member of world's Top 3 on the men's side will be favored to walk away with the Wimbledon crown in 2012. 

Crowd Favorite: Andy Murray

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    There will be plenty of support for Andy Murray, as the 25-year-old Scot is the United Kingdom's best shot at reclaiming the title. Every point Murray scores will likely produce a roar and or ovation from English supporters. After all, no British player has won since Fred Perry in 1936.

    Murray is ranked No. 4 in the world, which means he is the best of the rest, the next in line to the Big Three. Murray has made three consecutive semifinals appearances at Centre Court, but has never made the final of the prestigious grass-court tournament. 

    Is this the year Murray breaks through?

Legend Status: Roger Federer

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    Roger Federer can tie the great Pete Sampras for most men's Wimbledon titles all-time in the Open Era this summer with a seventh career championship at the All England Club.

    Fed-Ex last won it all on the hallowed Centre Court grass in 2009, but has stumbled in the quarterfinals in each of his past two tries.

    Federer's first career Grand Slam victory came at Wimbledon in 2003, and nine years later he has a chance to add career Slam No. 17 to the resume.

Epic Rivalry: Nole vs. Rafa

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    After having his heart broken in three straight Grand Slam final losses to Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal finally broke through at the 2012 French Open, halting Djokovic's march towards history and making his own in the process.

    Nadal's seventh career French Open championship swings the momentum back in his favor in the epic rivalry between the world's two best tennis players. So, what happens next?

    Wimbledon is the site of where Nole began his dominance over Rafa last summer, but Nadal still leads his nemesis 2-1 all-time on grass courts. With both players still in their primes, and already 16 Grand Slam titles between them, this rivalry promises to reach a peak at Wimbledon. 

Women's Draw: Who Will Step Up?

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    There have been six different winners of the last six Grand Slam tournaments on the women's side...parity indeed. Petra Kvitova won her first career major at Wimbledon last summer, beating Maria Sharapova in straight sets, but has failed to follow it up with another. 

    Meanwhile, Sharapova is coming off her first career French Open championship, and could potentially ride that momentum to a second career Wimbledon crown; she hasn't won it all at the All England Club since 2004. 

    Another heavy favorite, Serena Williams last won a major at Wimbledon 2010, but is coming off a first round upset at the 2012 French Open. While the men's side is calm and rather predictable, the women's side is pure madness.

Looking to Repeat: Petra Kvitova

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    Petra Kvitova will attempt to win back-to-back titles on the Wimbledon grass this July. Kvitova dismissed this year's No. 1 seed, Maria Sharapova, a year ago in the final and will no doubt have the mental edge if the two meet again. 

    It was the 22-year-old Czech's first career Grand Slam, and showed her fast improvement on grass. Kvitova fell in the first round of Wimbledon in 2008 and 2009, but made the semifinal in 2010 and then won it all last year.

    If Kvitova continues to play her game on the London grass, she could very well surprise the favorites again in 2012. She has a 12-3 career singles record at the All England Club. 

Underdogs: Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters

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    Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams and four-time Grand Slam champ, Belgian Kim Clijsters are two surprising players who enter this summer's grass-court Grand Slam unseeded. 

    Williams won it all at Wimbledon in 2008, while Clijsters won the 2010 US Open and the 2011 Australian Open. Both players are past their primes, but still possess the necessary experience and nerves to make a run at a pressure-packed tournament like Wimbledon.

    Clijsters was selected to No. 1 seed Maria Sharapova's bracket while Williams could potentially meet No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round. It's worth noting that Radwanska fell in the second round at Wimbledon in 2011, and she has never been past the quarterfinals at the All England Club. 

    Follow Patrick Clarke on Twitter for more on the 2012 Wimbledon Championships. 

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