Rafael Nadal: 5 Players Standing in the Way of His Second Straight Wimbledon
Rafael Nadal has the hardest road out of the top four players going into the finals of the 125th edition of Wimbledon.
Will the 10-time grand slam champion reach the finals of the All England Club, who will he meet along the way?
Who are these players, and what potential match-ups stand in the way of Nadal and his third title?
Juan Martin Del Potro
Nadal’s next opponent could be a difficult one. Grass may not be Del Potro’s favored surface, but playing a grand slam champ is always a huge challenge.
The Argentinian's huge swings will not help him on such fast courts, but he will still be able to hit the ball flat and heavy, causing Nadal problems along the way. If the former US Open champion serves well, he could cause the Spaniard trouble.
Last year’s Wimbledon runner-up could be Nadal’s opponent in the quarterfinals. The Czech has moved through under the radar—something he prefers—and has been playing exceptionally well.
Nadal beat Berdych in last year’s final in a straightforward fashion and could take a set away from the two-time Wimbledon champ should they meet. However, could the Czech handle playing a five-setter with Nadal at a very high level? It is something that would seem impossible at this time.
Mr. 44-1 for the year had gone through his first two rounds without any trouble at all. Nevertheless, Baghdatis gave the Serb a good fight and some temper too.
Grass is not Djokovic’s favorite surface, but it would be silly to say that he cannot excel on this surface. He has reached the Wimbledon semifinals twice and the Queen’s Club final once.
The Serb has enough talent to get to this year’s final, the only place he could meet Nadal. If they do happen to meet, the Spaniard would be wary of the four losses Djokovic has handed to him this year.
Even so, were they to meet, Nadal would pick up his game significantly—as he always does in major finals—and he would also draw on experience to drive him through.
Murray and Nadal could be a potential semifinal match-up that would be the hardest match of the tournament for both players, should they meet.
The Scot is still becoming passive throughout phases of his game, but he is also attacking more this year. His all-around game has been mostly solid, but he has also been spectacular at times.
Nadal would have to play out of his skin to beat this type of Murray on his own turf, the only way Nadal knows how to play.
Andy looks comfortable and confident, while Rafael has gone through mostly untroubled. This potential match is a toss-up; whoever plays slightly better on the day will most probably win.
The six-time champ is always a factor in any grand slam, even more so here at the Swiss’s most cherished venue. The only way Nadal and Federer could meet would be in the finals.
It is also interesting to note that Federer is the only player to beat Nadal in a grand slam final, and the 16-time major champion has managed the feat twice here at Wimbledon. If anyone was to bet against Federer beating Nadal for the third time, they would be thought to be crazy.
The world No. 3 is the most difficult player standing in the way of Rafael Nadal and a third Wimbledon trophy.