The 2012 Wimbledon seeds and draw have officially been released and as expected, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are the one and two seeds (respectively). So naturally, the majority of the tennis world is hopeful for another clash between the two titans at the end of the fortnight in London.
What we saw in the men's final last year was something to be remembered for years to come. It was the cap of a historic Novak Djokovic run to World No. 1 (even though his victory in the semifinals had already clinched that spot), and the fall of Nadal's dominance.
The Serb's win in that Wimbledon final was the fifth of what would become a seven-match win streak over his Spanish rival. With his victory in the U.S. Open final, it appeared that Djokovic had simply created an insurmountable problem for Nadal.
2012 rolled around, though, and the story began to take a turn. Djokovic won their first encounter of the season in that epic final Down Under, but it was not easy by any means; the match really could have gone in either direction. And sure enough, the next three encounters in Monte Carlo, Rome and the French Open went the other way.
Now, with the season's next Slam set to commence, we can be sure that Nadal wants to avenge his 2011 loss on the grass courts of London, and it is starting to seem like that is the most likely outcome.
Many will argue that Djokovic's success in 2011 and early 2012 was a result of the momentum that he earned early last season; he was able to ride that incredible wave all the way up until this year's Monte Carlo campaign. With Nadal's three huge victories this season, though, he now possesses the momentum in their rivalry.
That kind of momentum is what champions like Nadal thrive off of. We see this in the case of the French Open alone, where Rafa has continually fed off of his past championships to become a practically invincible warrior on the Roland Garros courts. It is very difficult for a player to lose when momentum is on his side.
Is Nadal's level of momentum anywhere near where Djokovic's was for most of 2011 and the beginning of 2012? No, not yet. But he is starting to pick up speed, and he is quickly becoming a menacing threat to Djokovic when standing on the opposite side of the net. Plan on seeing the Spaniard take an even stronger grip of the rivalry with another finals win in Wimbledon this year.