After cruising through the 2014 French Open at Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal will not have an easy go of things at Wimbledon.
Aside from making the transition from clay—Nadal's best surface—to grass, Nadal will have to deal with an extraordinarily tough draw en route to the final.
Nadal will begin at Wimbledon against left-hander Martin Klizan. In the second round, Nadal could face Lukas Rosol. Of course, Rosol beat Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon in 2012.
Assuming Nadal makes it through Klizan and Rosol, Ivo Karlovic could meet him in Round 3. Karlovic has one of the loudest serves in men's tennis, and that makes him a difficult draw for all of the other competitors.
Milos Raonic, another monster server, could potentially meet Nadal in the quarterfinals. From there, Roger Federer could meet Nadal for the 34th time in their careers. In that semifinal matchup, Federer will have the edge because of the playing surface.
Needless to say, this is a less-than-favorable draw for the player who was controversially awarded the No. 2 seed in this tournament. The No. 1 seed was given to Novak Djokovic.
Nadal knows how much of a struggle it might be. He's already putting in the extra work:
Such a grueling schedule will hurt Nadal. In previous tournaments, Nadal has faced far inferior opponents en route to the top. That could still happen here, but if the other matches go as expected, Nadal will be in for quite a challenge.
Playing tough match after tough match can take a toll on a player, especially over the course of a two-week tournament. Without many days off between matches, Nadal could struggle to get ample rest while being tested on multiple occasions.
CNN.com provided readers with some interesting points that might inspire some hope in Nadal fans, however:
But here's something that should give the world No. 1's fans hope: Nadal owns a splendid record against left-handers, is rarely upset by the same player twice and Karlovic owns a 2-21 record versus the so-called "Big Four" of Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
Sure, Nadal might be able to make his way past the likes of Klizan (the lefty), Rosol (the guy who beat him) and Karlovic, but what happens when has to face Raonic? After facing the test of Karlovic, going up against Raonic—someone whose serve is likely harder than Karlovic's—will not be easy.
As if that wasn't enough, Federer obviously has been one of Nadal's fiercest opponents in his career.
I'm not calling for an early elimination of Nadal, as banking on an early upset for one of the sport's top players is absurd. That said, Nadal likely won't win the tournament. He might not even make it past the quarterfinals.
This draw is far too tough to expect consistency out of the 28-year-old.
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