Wimbledon Tennis Stars and Their Soccer Equivalents

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterJuly 4, 2012

Wimbledon Tennis Stars and Their Soccer Equivalents

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    With Euro 2012 finished and Wimbledon reaching the final stages of an exciting fortnight, soccer no longer occupies the center of the sporting world's attention.

    No matter. We can still relate Wimbledon back to soccer.

    All of Wimbledon's biggest stars have a soccer equivalent, if you think hard enough about it.

    Here are six soccer equivalents for some of Wimbledon's biggest stars.

    Have another one? Leave me a comment below.

Rafael Nadal Is Lionel Messi

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    Argentine superstar Lionel Messi did not feature at Euro 2012 this summer because, well, he's not European.

    Still, he's the best in the world, and few would argue it.

    Spanish star Rafael Nadal isn't ranked No. 1 anymore, but he is a two-time Wimbledon champion and he did defeat Novak Djokovic in the French Open final this year.

    Alas, we didn't see much of Nadal this summer at Wimbledon. He lost his second-round match to the Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol.

    Much like Messi, then, Nadal's talents didn't play out on the grandest stage this summer. It's an imperfect comparison, however, because Messi had no chance to play at Euro 2012.

    Having said that, there's more.

    Like Nadal's Wimbledon loss, Messi and FC Barcelona suffered a disappointing exit from the Champions League semifinals this past spring, before losing the race for the Spanish league title to Real Madrid as well.

Roger Federer Is Cristiano Ronaldo

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    It's all there—the looks, the brilliance, the titles and the current place just behind the world's best.

    Roger Federer used to be the best, just like Ronaldo, but along came Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. In Ronaldo's case, it was Lionel Messi.

    Still, Federer isn't doing too badly for himself. He's won a record 16 Grand Slam titles and has advanced to the Wimbledon semis this summer.

    Of course, when he gets there, it looks like he'll have to play the favorite in Djokovic—just like Ronaldo did when he and Portugal lost to Spain in the Euro 2012 semifinals.

Maria Sharapova Is Wesley Sneijder

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    Maria Sharapova always looks good, both on and off the court.

    That is, except this summer. At Wimbledon, the Russian No. 1 seed lost in the fourth round of the women's draw.

    That's kind of like Holland's Wesley Sneijder.

    Sneijder is universally considered a great player. He showed it two years ago at the World Cup, when the Netherlands advanced all the way to the final. Having said that, at Euro 2012, Sneijder's Dutch team crashed and burned.

    In an obvious corollary, Sabine Lisicki is thus the entire German national team, which advanced easily from Group B past Holland.

    They looked good for a while, but ultimately proved pretenders.

Novak Djokovic Is Andres Iniesta

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    Novak Djokovic can hardly stop winning. Before that hiccup in the French Open final, the Serbian had won three straight majors.

    Yet, after losing to Rafael Nadal in Paris, the doubters remain.

    Similar doubts were voiced about Spain this summer, but we all know how that turned out.

    So, why Andres Iniesta? UEFA named him the best player of Euro 2012.

Andy Murray Is Steven Gerrard

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    Scotsman Andy Murray has fought his way to the Wimbledon quarterfinals, where he's playing Spaniard David Ferrer as I'm writing this.

    No British man has won Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, and everybody knows all about it. Murray has never won a major, but as Britain's greatest hope, he has the weight of a nation upon his shoulders.

    England soccer captain Steven Gerrard handled the burden well this summer, leading the Three Lions—who haven't won a major title since the 1966 World Cup—to the quarterfinals of Euro 2012.

    That was as far as Gerrard could take England. Will Murray do better?

Serena Williams Is Andrea Pirlo

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    Serena Williams is 30 years old. That's not at all old in the real world, but in tennis, it's positively ancient.

    Williams' most recent Grand Slam title came two years ago at Wimbledon, and this summer, she's suffered the ignominy of being seeded No. 6.

    Italian international soccer player Andrea Pirlo is 33, and though he won the World Cup with the Azzurri in 2006, he suffered the ignominy of being dumped by his club last summer.

    Pirlo, however, immediately won the Italian title with Juventus (one of AC Milan's biggest rivals) and led Italy to the Euro 2012 final this summer at the ripe old age of 33.

    Williams is already in the semifinals. Could a run to the final be in the cards?