Well it's here, my favourite Grand Slam of the year (well I am a Brit so what do you expect?) and Roger actually got a Nadal like draw. There's no real danger players that you can really see him losing to and you could even expect him to make the QF/SF without dropping a set. Of course he still has to perform on the day but if he played to even 75% of his ability he should be able to coast it.
Let's take a look:
Roger Federer's Quarter, Top Half of the Draw
Because we all know the draws are done with a double headed coin, Roger was once again placed in Djokovic's half and they're seeded to meet in the Semi finals as per usual.
Roger will start his tournament against a spanish leftie,
Rafael Nadal Albert Ramos who is ranked at 43 in the world. He's only ever won one match at Grand Slam level and that was on, as you may have guessed, clay. He did take a set off Tomas Berdych at the Australian Open this year but despite that I think this should be a routine match for Roger and the perfect way to start his Wimbledon campaign. Typically Spanish players adapt poorly to grass, and from what I can tell Ramos hasn't played a warm up event on the surface so all his preparation is just practice. Update: Thanks to one of my readers who left a comment below letting me know that Ramos played Eastbourne and lost in the first round to Fognini (6-7, 7-6, 2-6). I guess that just confirms he is nothing to worry about, Fognini isn't great on grass either and beat him fairly comfortably. Because of Ramos's inexperience coupled with his ranking I predict Roger in straights, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.
Rogers Seeded Opponents
- 2nd Round: Llodra
- 3rd Round: Benneteau (I think Muller will beat Benneteau in round one)
- 4th Round: Simon/Verdasco
- QF: Tipsarevic/Isner
- SF: Djokovic
- F: Nadal
As you can see above, if the draw goes to plan (they never do), then Roger has a very good chance of making the Semi's. In someways it maybe too easy for him but I guess Isner could be a testing quarter final if he were to make it. I won't get too far ahead of myself but I'd definitely like to see Fed and Djoker face off on grass for the first time, it's about time we saw them play on this surface so hopefully it happens.
Novak Djokovic's Quarter, Top Half of the Draw
Djoker got a slightly tougher draw and strangely enough his 1st round opponent is a former slam winner himself, Juan Carlos Ferrero. These two have only met twice before and the H2H is tied at 1-1. Arguably not a huge deal because they haven't played since 2007 and that was long before Djokovic played like he does today. Ferrero isn't bad on grass making 2 Wimbledon quarter finals but I see Novak getting the job done pretty easily. Ferrero maybe able to get a set should he start fast and catch Djokovic off guard but I think that's the best he can hope for.
Djokovic's Seeded Opponent
- 2nd Round: Harrison
- 3rd Round: Stepanek
- 4th Round: Monaco (no way is he making it to the 4th round)
- QF: Berdych/Almagro
- SF: Federer
- F: Dull
I pretty much make Djoker a lock for the semi finals, there's maybe 1/2 tough matches in there for him but I think he's just got too much in the tank to not make the latter stages.
Rafael Nadal's Quarter, Bottom Half of the Draw
Everyone has been saying Nadal got quite a tough draw because he's up against players that have beaten him previously, which is true, but they haven't beaten him in Grand Slams over 5 sets which is a totally different ball game.
First up for Dull is Tomaz Bellucci, this guys a total clay specialist but not only that has had a pretty crap year even by his own low standards (to think I thought he might make week 2 at the French?!). That one will be straights for Rafa, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.
Nadal is then set to meet Dodig, that won't be tricky I don't think, and then it's likely to be Kohlschreiber or Tommy Haas. Ok these guys are good on grass, but no chance does Kohlschreiber have the mental strength to take down Rafa in 5 and I don't think Tommy has the legs. He was covered in about 4 rolls of tape in Halle so over 5 sets against the most physical player on tour – zero chance.
Nadal's Seeded Opponents
- 2nd Round: Ivan Dodig
- 3rd Round: Kohlschreiber
- 4th Round: Lopez / Dolgopolov
- QF: Tsonga / Fish
- SF: Murray
- F: Djokovic
I think Nadal is gonna be tough to stop from making the final here, grass can always throw surprises though so clearly he's not unbeatable on the surface but he's going to be still high on confidence after the French.
Elsewhere in the draw
Outside the big three it was probably Murray who got the toughest draw, he faces Davydenko in round 1, and could meet Kevin Anderson in round 3 followed by Milos Raonic in the 4th round. Even though this is probably the most objective blog in the world 😉 I'm hoping Mugray loses early. Really it's a win win tournament I think because he either loses early, or loses to Nadal in the semi finals. I'd also make sure he plays all his matches on the outside courts but that's just me.
Interesting first round matches
Goffin vs. Tomic
Tomic sort of put himself on the map at last years Wimbledon making the Quarters but since then he's done quite well to erase himself. He's been drawn against Roger Federer's protege David Goffin.
Everybody was likening Goffin to Agassi at the French where he made the 4th round before losing to Roger and if he plays like he did on the clay then he might be a tough test for the Aussie. Goffin certainly goes for his shots on both sides whereas Tomic is more measured, put those two together on grass then it could be quite good to watch.
Muller vs. Benneteau
Muller is mentally weak, he should have beaten Nadal on grass twice now but managed to choke but he's my pick to beat Benneteau in the first round, and in fact could meet Roger in round 3. I think this will go 5 with the Luxembourgian coming out on top.
Anderson vs. Dimitrov
Everyone is calling Dimitrov Baby Fed, I'm still not so sure but he had a good week at Queens before losing to Nalbandian in the Semi's. He beat Anderson that week so this one is certainly an interesting match, I think Anderson probably will win this time though over 5 sets. Dimitrov clearly has talent and comes across a likeable guy so I hope he does well but to date he's all hype.
Nalbandian vs. Tipsarevic
If Dave hadn't got defaulted at Queens then I'd be picking him over Tipsarevic on grass all day long, but the fact he did is what makes this match interesting. Nalbandian is one of the most talented ball strikers on tour and he's good on grass so he should give Tipsarevic a lot of trouble. However whether or not last weeks goings on effected him mentally, or whether crowd get on his back should make this match quite good to watch. If Dave wins the first set then I pick him to go through. If the crowd get on his back I can see him doing something equally crazy as he doesn't strike me as the type of guy that's a quick learner when it comes to these kinda things.
Haas vs. Kohlschreiber
These two just met in Halle with Haas coming out on top and this one is easily going to be the most pleasing on the eye of the opening round matches. Both players come out and play shots, both have great 1 handed backhand and both are well adapted to playing aggressive tennis on grass. It's quite a tough match to call is more than likely to be 4 or 5 sets.
My Upset Predictions
I think there will be a few, so here goes:
- Mayer to beat Monaco
- Falla to beat Isner
- Stahkovsky to beat Stepanek
My other prediction is that all British players exluding Murray will lose first round. My threat for the second week is Philip Petzschner.
If you want to check out the draw in full you can by following this link: http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/scores/draws/ms/index.html
How do I rate Federer's chances?
Iv'e always thought this, along with the US Open was Rogers best chance for a slam this year, even though he lost in Halle my opinion hasn't changed.
All the talk is that Roger got a pretty easy draw, which yes, is a good thing, but I don't think the draw was ever likely to be the main problem, the problem is as always, he has to face both Djokovic and Nadal to win the tournament. I think Roger will most certainly make the semi's and from then on it's impossible to call. It's about time he met Djokovic on grass and after getting his ass whooped in the French Open semi's against him surely it will be his perogative to give Djoker a real thrashing.
If Roger serves well and moves well then he has more than a good chance of winning the trophy. He coasted to the Quarters last year before mentally going missing against Tsonga so I hope he can play similar tennis to last year but maintain it for the course of 2 weeks. He's looked sharp all year barring 1 or 2 matches so to fall short at Wimbledon would be disappointing.
I'm not making any stupid predictions just yet saying he's a lock for the title, and plan to take it match by match, and I will also give predictions on a match by match basis. All I will say is there's a lot on the line, the number 1 ranking, more history and all of it in an olympic year – Roger has a habit of rewriting history books and I'm sure he has something more to add.
I will be back on Monday with my report of the Ramos match.
Photo credit: Simon Shawcross