Roger Federer and the Top 10 Men's Grass Court Players Now
As Wimbledon 2011 begins, the eyes of the tennis world are on SW19, as everyone watches to see whether Roger Federer has got it in him, or if No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal will again follow his achievement at Roland Garros with his 11th Grand Slam title.
Then of course there's Andy Murray, the man who Great Britain has long since pinned its tennis hopes upon after the failures of Tim Henman.
And not forgetting No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic, the current Australian Open champion who had his 41-match winning streak ended in the French Open semifinals by Federer. Can he pick himself up again and finally deliver on the grass court?
Then there's the rest, the challengers to the big four who have proved their worth on grass and will hope to make a big impact at Wimbledon.
With that in mind, here are the top 10 grass court players in tennis today.
10. Tomas Berdych
Last year's finalist at Wimbledon, Tomas Berdych, will be aiming to make a similar impact at SW19 this time around. And with the form he's in at the moment, he's in with a shout.
Having reached the semifinals of the Gerry Weber Open last week, Berdych has followed up that form with a comfortable first-round win over Filippo Volandri in three sets, winning 6-2 6-2 6-1.
The world No. 6, and No. 6 seed at Wimbledon, Berdych looks set to have a long stay in London or at least as far as the quarterfinals, where he is poised to face current champion Rafael Nadal.
9. Andreas Seppi
After claiming his first ever ATP Tour title at the AEGON International in Eastbourne, unseeded Andreas Seppi is in the form of his life at the moment.
Having won his first title and made his first appearance in the final of an ATP tournament since 2007, Seppi will no doubt be full of confidence and self-efficacy ahead of his first-round match against world No. 34 Albert Montanes on Tuesday.
His career best at a Grand Slam came at Wimbledon when he reached the third round in 2008, and the hard-hitting Italian will look to go even further this time.
8. Andy Roddick
Seeded No. 8 for Wimbledon, Andy Roddick has returned to form following his shoulder injury at just the right time.
A player very comfortable on the grass court, Roddick proved his acumen on the grass after making it to the semifinals at Queen's, before being knocked out by Andy Murray, his opponent at the Wimbledon semis in 2009.
And at this rate, a quarterfinal between the two in 2011 could be on the cards, with A-Rod's killer serves looking as deadly as ever.
7. Gael Monfils
World No. 8 Monfils followed up his good form at the French Open by reaching the semifinal of the Gerry Weber Open and in the process, looking very comfortable on the grass court.
And appearing as dynamic as ever following his first-round win over Matthias Bachinger at Wimbledon, the Frenchman looks set to better his record at SW19 and at least progress beyond the third round.
6. Robin Soderling
The world No. 5 and fifth seed at Wimbledon, Robin Soderling has yet to play grass court tennis in 2011.
However, buoyed on by his form at the French Open, as well as his achievements at SW19 last year, Soderling's brutal, hard-hitting style could well come to the fore this year at Wimbledon, with the grass court playing into his strengths perfectly.
Poised to reach a quarterfinal encounter with Novak Djokovic, Soderling looks set to yet again prove his acumen on the grass court.
5. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Already possessing a good record on the grass court heading into Wimbledon, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga finally looks a real comfortable player on grass after reaching the final at Queen's, losing to Andy Murray despite taking the first set and giving the world No. 4 a good run for his money.
With Tsonga's forehand looking as strong as it's ever been and more accurate than in previous seasons, the No. 12 seed at SW19 could well be heading to a quarterfinal clash with Roger Federer.
4. Andy Murray
Having won the AEGON Championships at Queen's, Andy Murray has again proved he was what it takes to win on the grass court.
Despite the grass surface not playing to his strengths as a counter-punch type of player, world No. 4 Murray is looking more comfortable on the grass court than he has in previous years.
The weight of expectancy may well play on the Scot's shoulders again this year at Wimbledon, but if he can just block that out, he has the chance to break his Grand Slam duck and win his first major on the pristine grass of Centre Court.
3. Novak Djokovic
Until he wins Wimbledon, it seems Novak Djokovic will always have his grass court doubters, doubting whether the Serb can cope with the rigours of that green surface.
However, having been in the best form of his career this year with that epic 41-match winning streak, the world No. 2 will approach this year's tournament in the best possible way, full of confidence and belief.
Despite only playing one exhibition match, in which he thrashed Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-2, Djokovic is showing all the signs of being a top grass court player this season and one who could well win his first grasscourt title in the next two weeks.
2. Roger Federer
He may not have played on the grass this year, but Roger Federer is without any doubt the second best grass court player in the world at the moment.
He's not the best, and he's not the third best; he is most definitely the second best on the grass court in tennis today.
The six-time Wimbledon champion, currently ranked third in the world, has finally got the better of Novak Djokovic this year, after beating him when it mattered most at the French Open.
And considering the two could be on course for a semifinal showdown, it looks like the Swiss maestro might just edge it again and cement his place as one of the top two grass court players today.
1. Rafael Nadal
If this choice surprised anybody, they either don't know what tennis is or have been living under a rock for the past two years. Or both.
Current Wimbledon, French Open and US Open champion Rafael Nadal seems like a juggernaut right now, looking as comfortable as ever on the grass court, a surface which year after year seems to play to his strengths even more.
It's hard to see past the world No.1 retaining his Wimbledon title, even if he did lose to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinal at Queen's ahead of this Grand Slam tournament.