Wimbledon 2012 Preview: Comparing Roger Federer's and Novak Djokovic's Draws

Shane LambertAnalyst IIJune 22, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 03:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after winning his final round Gentlemen's match against Rafael Nadal of Spain on Day Thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 3, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

The draws for Wimbledon 2012 have been released, and Roger Federer—a six-time champion at the event—is the three seed in the tournament. Federer had a very simple draw through the first four rounds of the 2012 French Open, and the Swiss Maestro has a simple draw at Wimbledon this season as well.

In the first round, Federer is to face Spaniard Albert Ramos—a player who has only won a single Grand Slam match in his career, and a player who is making his Wimbledon main draw debut. Ramos is ranked high for a first-round opponent, as he is the World No. 43; however, his inexperience in best of five-set matches should make him easy pickings.

Should Federer defeat Ramos, then, in the second round, the World No. 3 will face either Fabio Fognini or Michael Llodra—two players that each have experience winning matches in Grand Slams.

Llodra made the fourth round of Wimbledon last season; however, the Frenchman has slowed down a little since making that run and he is now 32 years old and starting to fade. Fognini is probably a more dangerous opponent for Federer in the second round, but the Italian is not playing his best tennis right now and he's currently well out of the Top 50.

If the seeds hold up, Federer would face Julien Benneteau in the third round—a talented player, but one that is aging. Benneteau has not been playing poorly lately, but the Frenchman has still only won three third-round matches in his entire major career.

In the fourth round, Federer could face either Fernando Verdasco or Gilles Simon—two players who have never won a fourth-round match at the All England Club. Additionally, neither player lived up to their billings at the recently completed French Open, as they each fell in that tournament's third round.

By seeding, Federer would face Janko Tipsarevic in the tournament's quarterfinals. That match promises to be difficult if the Serb is playing well, but it has to be noted that Tipsy has only ever made one quarterfinal in 33 Grand Slam appearances—and that ended in a loss.

Of the players seeded fifth to eighth at Wimbledon 2012, Tipsarevic is probably the player that Federer would want to see in his quarter of the draw, as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych each have recent strong results at the All England Club, and David Ferrer is coming off a career-best French Open.

Novak Djokovic—Federer's projected semifinal opponent—has a much tougher draw at Wimbledon 2012. Djokovic has picked up an aging veteran in the first round, however, it is a player with incredible mental aptitude for tennis in Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Ferrero—a one-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1—has done some damage at Wimbledon before, as he has twice made the tournament's quarterfinals. At present, the Spaniard is ranked 38th and you have to think Djokovic would have preferred a lesser experienced player or one with a worse ranking.

In the second round, Djokovic would face either Ryan Harrison or Yen-Hsun Lu. Harrison is inexperienced, however, his talent is huge and many are tipping him for the Top 10 in the future—if not higher.

Lu is a tricky player who has won six matches at the All England Club in the last two years—a run that included a quarterfinal appearance at Wimbledon 2010 through Andy Roddick.

Djokovic's third-round match looks quite routine as Radek Stepanek is the seeded player nearest the Serb. Stepanek has played well in the past, however, his ability to consistently win best of five-set matches is questionable at this point in his career, and I wouldn't be surprised if Djokovic faced Sergiy Stakhovsky in the third round.

Djokovic's fourth-round opponent could be Marcel Granollers or Juan Monaco, although both of those players are huge underachievers at the All England Club. You have to wonder if Djokovic will instead face an unseeded player like Viktor Troicki or Leonardo Mayer on the second Monday.

If the seeds held up, Djokovic would face Tomas Berdych in the Wimbledon 2012 quarterfinals—a match that would have some serious upset potential. Berdych eliminated Djokovic in the 2010 Wimbledon semifinals, and their prospective quarterfinal could be interesting with perhaps the World No. 1 only entering the match as a slight favorite to win.

A Federer versus Djokovic semifinal is something we've come to expect in Grand Slams, however, we've not yet seen it happen at Wimbledon. Between Fed and the Serbinator, Djokovic is the player with the more challenging draw; mainly because his two opening-round matches look tricky, but also because he shares a quarter with Berdych.

That said, I'm not too confident in a Djokovic versus Federer semifinal taking place at the All England Club this year because I think both players are slightly off heading into the All England Club. Djokovic was too shaky at the French Open at times, and Federer isn't closing out the lower ranked players with ease like he used to. 

I would not be surprised at all to see either player falling ahead of the semis, and I think the title will go to Rafael Nadal this season—the champion from 2008 and 2010.