Rafael Nadal Should Be Favored over Novak Djokovic to Win Wimbledon 2012

Shane LambertAnalyst IIJune 19, 2012

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 11:  Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with the Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy in the men's singles final against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during day 16 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 11, 2012 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are both former champions at the All England Club and they are the top two betting favorites to win the tournament this season. Between the two, Djokovic, the World No. 1, enters Wimbledon 2012 as the tournament's outright favorite (ie. bet365), no doubt due in large part to the fact that he won the title at Wimbledon in 2011.

However, I think if we examine both Nadal and Djokovic, their results in 2011 prior to Wimbledon, and then compare and contrast those results to how they both have done so far in 2012, one conclusion should be made: Nadal should be considered the favorite to win the title at the All England Club this summer and Djokovic should be considered the second favorite.

That Djokovic's 2012 season through the French Open has been as solid as it was in 2011 is a point that is barely worth making. At this time last year the Serb had just one loss, and so far in 2012, he has six. It's true that Djokovic just turned in his best French Open result and it's true that he defended his Australian Open title early this season but, overall, the World No. 1 has been more vulnerable in 2012 than he was in early 2011.

Heading into Wimbledon, Nadal, the current World No. 2, has three straight wins over the Serb and while those wins were all on clay (Nadal's best surface), in the first half of 2011, Djokovic dominated their head-to-head meetings including the ones on the clay court surface.

But even in the Australian Open final, a hard-court event, Nadal played Djokovic a lot tougher on the cement than the Spaniard did last season. Their final match was an epic five-setter that was won by only the minimum two games.

I think if you put Djokovic under a microscope you'd find that many of the matches he has won in 2012 were near losses. In the Australian Open semis, Andy Murray almost defeated the Serbian, a player that Djokovic handled with ease in the 2011 Australian Open final. In fact, in 2011, Djokovic won the Melbourne slam with just one dropped set - this year he dropped five.

At the French Open Djokovic cruised through the low-ranked players but when he met stiffer competition things got more than just a little bit scary. Andreas Seppi, a player enjoying his career's best form, was able to put a big time fright into the Djokovic camp in the fourth round. Additionally, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga almost beat Djokovic as well in the tournament's quarterfinals.

Nadal is a player who appears to be re-peaking following his results from the clay court season. When Nadal is at his best, the Wimbledon title is his as his title results from 2010 and 2008 prove.

I think Nadal is the player most likely to win Wimbledon this season and his betting odds of +250 (5/2) with Paddy Power look good to me.