Wimbledon 2012: Djokovic Will Show He's Still the Best in the World
Is it the big three or the big four? Or the big two? It seems like every other tournament people are changing their minds about the state of men's tennis. Wimbledon should go a long way in determining the real pecking order of men's tennis.
If Novak Djokovic wins, I think he solidifies his spot at the top of the game. If Rafael Nadal wins, then he is clearly the top dog in tennis. If Roger Federer, who has a shot at the No. 1 ranking after this tournament, wins, then he has a right to claim he is the top dog. If Andy Murray wins, then we have to go back to calling them the big four.
Does anyone else even have a shot at winning this? No, but anything is possible in this world. Still, I would be completely shocked if someone other than the top four win.
Here's my look at the tournament:
First quarter: Djokovic has been given a very tough draw matching up against Juan Carlos Ferrero in the first round. Ferrero has played well on grass in the past. In the second round, he could have Ryan Harrison and perhaps Radek Stepanek in the third round. One thing is for sure, if Djokovic wins it all, he will do it the hard way. Djokovic may lose some sets along the way, but I think he'll find his way back to the semis.
Second quarter: Federer has the easiest section of the top four. I think he will cruise into the quarters without dropping a set. There he could have Janko Tipsarevic or John Isner waiting for him. I think it will be Isner, but again I think Federer will get by in straight sets.
Who will Wimbledon?
Third quarter: This is Murray's section and it's a tough one. He has Nikolay Davydenko in the first round and he could have Ivo Karlovic in the second round. Then he could have Kevin Anderson, Grigor Dimitrov or Marcos Baghdatis in the third round. I think Murray will get through all of those mine fields, but I think Milos Raonic in the fourth round will be too much for him. On the other side of the section, I think Andy Roddick will get through to face Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round. I like Roddick in five there, but I'll take Raonic in the quarters.
Fourth quarter: This is Nadal's section and it's a tough one as well, with lots of big servers in his way. He faces Thomaz Bellucci in the first round, and could have Ivan Dodig in the second round. In the third round he could face Philipp Kohlschreiber or Tommy Haas, but I think Nadal will make it through all of those obstacles. In the quarters, Nadal could have Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but I think Nadal is playing with lots of confidence.
Djokovic vs. Federer: We've seen this match-up a few thousand times before. It seems like they are always playing in the semis of a grand slam. Most of the time it's been the Djoker coming through and this could be Federer's big chance. However, Djokovic is too good under pressure, and an older Federer simply doesn't handle the nerves as well as he once did.
Winner: Djokovic in five sets
Raonic vs. Nadal: As I said Raonic will win Wimbledon someday, just not this year. Nadal's experience will be too much for him.
Winner: Nadal in three sets
Djokovic vs. Nadal: So, they meet again. It would be the fifth straight time they meet in a grand slam final. Nadal finally won at the French Open. He's playing with confidence again. He's beaten Djokovic three straight times, all on clay. I think he will have a much easier path to the final. So, he's the pick, right? After the first two sets and the first two games of the third set at the French Open final, I would have said yes. But then Djokovic took eight straight games from Nadal on clay. Djokovic lost that match, but did he get back inside of Nadal's head again? I think so. Somewhere in the back of Nadal's mind he wonders if he can beat Djokovic on a surface other than clay. Those doubts linger, and give Djokovic the edge.
Winner: Djokovic in five sets
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