Roger Federer and the Top 10 Men in the 2011 Wimbledon Field
The 2011 Wimbledon Championships promise to be full of drama, just like they were last year.
As is common during Wimbledon, the seeding doesn't match the ATP World Tour rankings. The top five do match up this year; but then the remaining seeds follow the discretion of the Wimbledon powers that be.
Due to Tomáš Berdych’s surprise finals appearance in 2010, he is the first player to break rank and is seeded No. 6. He swapped places with David Ferrer of Spain, who lost in the fourth round in last year's Wimbledon.
While there aren’t many grass-court tune-up tournaments, they still can say a lot about how Wimbledon will play out.
Last week, No. 4-ranked Andy Murray took home the singles title at the AEGON Championships in Great Britain, and Philipp Kohlschreiber took home the singles title at the Gerry Weber Open in Germany.
As mentioned before, Murray is seeded No. 4 and Kohlschreiber isn’t seeded at all.
Who are the top contenders to take home this year's Wimbledon title? Will it be a former Grand Slam champion, or will a first-time winner emerge?
Let’s take a look at the top 10 best chances to win the hardware.
10. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Last week at the AEGON Championships, Tsonga made it to the finals by beating No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.
Although he lost to Murray, Tsonga showed a lot of progress and aptitude on the grass.
Tsonga's best finish at Wimbledon came last year when he made it to the quarterfinals in just his third tournament appearance.
This year, he's seeded No. 12 despite being ranked No. 19 in the ATP World Tour rankings, according to their website.
9. David Ferrer
David Ferrer is often compared to a pit bull because he has dogged determination and never gives up on a match.
He'll need that perseverance to do well at this year's Wimbledon Championships.
Because he hasn't played in any tune-up tournament, it will be interesting to see how he transitions from clay to grass. Last year he made it to the fourth round, equaling his best Wimbledon finish.
His movement and power should be conducive to the grass, so we'll see if he can at least make the second week in 2011.
His current ATP World Tour ranking is No. 6 and his Wimbledon seeding is No. 7, according to their website.
8. Robin Soderling
According to the Wimbledon website, Robin Söderling is the fifth-ranked player in the ATP World Tour rankings, and he's seeded No. 5 this year.
Söderling has proven himself a contender at the Grand Slams since 2009, the year he made his first Majors final at the French Open. He repeated that feat in 2010.
He had his best career finish at Wimbledon in 2010, making it to the quarterfinals.
7. Tomáš Berdych
He hasn't had a stellar 2011 season, but he did get some momentum on the grass heading into Wimbledon.
He lost in the semifinals of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany last week. His opponent in the semifinals, Philipp Petzschner, retired in the final due to a lower back injury.
Berdych is currently ranked No. 7 in the ATP World Tour rankings, but he will be seeded sixth at this year's Wimbledon Championships, according to their website.
6. Juan Martin del Potro
According to the Wimbledon website, Juan Martín del Potro hasn't played Wimbledon since 2009 due to a wrist injury.
That year, he only made it to the second round—but later that season he went on to win his first Grand Slam singles title at the U.S. Open.
It is because of his experience at the Grand Slam level that he is a contender to win Wimbledon in 2011.
The quicker surfaces work well with del Potro's game. There's no reason he shouldn't succeed on the grass at Wimbledon.
Del Potro made it to the third round of the AEGON Championships, so he has practice on the grass going into Wimbledon.
Look for him to be a dangerous floater in the draw, once again.
5. Andy Roddick
Many people believe Andy Roddick doesn't have a chance at winning another major.
However, he has played well at Wimbledon for a majority of his career.
He has been to the finals three times, losing to Roger Federer in each. Most recently, Federer defeated Roddick in the 2009 Gentlemen's Singles final, 16-14 in the fifth set.
Roddick received a lot of praise and adoration after the match, despite the loss.
Last week, he lost in the semifinals of the AEGON Championships to eventual champion Andy Murray, according to the ATP website.
That's nothing to be ashamed of or alarmed by, considering Murray is ranked No. 4 in the ATP World Tour rankings and Roddick is ranked No. 10. Roddick has also won the tournament four times, most recently in 2007.
Roddick will be seeded No. 8 this year due to his accomplishments on grass this season. It is for this reason I put him just behind the "Big Four:" Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray.
4. Rafael Nadal
You may be wondering why the No. 1 player in the ATP World Tour rankings is No. 4 on this list.
While he won the Gentlemen's Singles title in 2008 and 2010, I don't think Nadal is completely confident on grass.
In 2008, he had to fight tooth and nail to defeat Federer. Last year, he defeated No. 12 seed Berdych, who was playing in his first Major final, according to the Wimbledon website.
However, he didn't play at Wimbledon in 2009 and lost early at the AEGON Championships last week to eventual finalist, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Maybe some time off is just what he needs to regain his grass-court game from 2008 and 2010.
3. Andy Murray
Murray has had the weight of Great Britain on his shoulders since he turned pro in 2005. There is no tournament where he feels the pressure more than Wimbledon.
Murray has gotten his Wimbledon campaign off to a good start by winning the AEGON Championships last week for the second time in his career, according to the ATP website.
As a result, the All-England Club awarded him the No. 4 seed and he gets the No. 3 spot on our countdown.
The grass suits his game, and he improves every year. He made it to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2008, and in the past two years he's made it to the semifinals, according to their official website.
Can he take it two steps further and take the title this year?
2. Novak Djokovic
What is there to say about 2011's most dominant player?
At the 2011 French Open, Djokovic had his 43-match win streak snapped by Federer.
Djokovic is on the heels of Rafael Nadal in the ATP World Tour rankings and comes in ahead of him in this list.
While Djokovic didn't play any tune-up tournaments for Wimbledon, I still think he'll play well. He has had enough rest to rejuvenate his body and mind. He should be ready to compete for his first Wimbledon title and third overall Grand Slam title.
He's improved on his results in each of the past two years with a quarterfinal in 2009 and semifinal in 2010, according to their website.
I expect him to at least make the finals—if not take the title.
1. Roger Federer
We got to see the "King of Clay," Rafael Nadal, regain his throne at the 2011 French Open. Expect the same sort of dominance out of Roger Federer on the grass of Wimbledon.
He's No. 3 in the ATP World Tour rankings, but that doesn't matter. He's dominated the surface, hoisting the trophy six times.
The book Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal and the Greatest Match Ever Played, by L. Jon Wertheim, sings his praises despite the fact that he lost that epic match to Nadal.
While Federer opted out of playing at one of his usual tournaments, the Gerry Weber Open, I look for him to win the title a seventh time.
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