Will Someone End Nadal’s Run at Wimbledon?
by Sean Randall | June 19th, 2011, 6:48 pm
  • 56 Comments

Rafael Nadal has won Wimbledon the last two times he’s played the tournament. And this year, the defending champ goes for No. 3 and I think he gets it. And if he does win he’ll get a third French Open-Wimbledon double. Quite a remarkable feat for a player who just turned 25.

Nadal, though, has the toughest of draws among his fellow colleagues.

Nadal’s semifinal threat will likely come from Andy Murray in a rematch of the French tussle. Murray’s draw is relatively easy with the lone obstacle in Richard Gasquet. Andy Roddick could also be a quarterfinal opponent for the Scot but Roddick just doesn’t seem to be a match for the top guys anymore. Murray blasted Roddick just last week in Queen’s handing the American one of his worst losses ever on the grass. The stakes and pressure will be much higher, but Murray won’t to Roddick.

Roger Federer should breeze into the semifinals. David Naldbandian is foe a “name” but the Argentine just hasn’t played much sue to injuries as he continues the downslope of his career. And JW Tsonga, a potential quarterfinal opponent, remains unproven on the grass courts. Roger is on easy street right to the semifinals!

Novak Djokovic, who is also in Federer’s bottom half, has a tricky path. On grass Jeremy Chardy and especially Kevin Anderson in the first two rounds will offer some resistance. Michael Llodra or even his countryman Viktor Troicki can be dangerous in the fourth round. And then in the quarterfinals it’s likely to be Robin Soderling. So Novak will definitely be tested.

As for Nadal, yes, he’s got a very difficult task ahead. Possibly having to beat Milos Raonic, Juan Martin Del Potro, Mardy Fish and then Tomas Berdych just to reach the semifinals is a major undertaking. But facts are facts, Raonic, who I think someday could win Wimbledon, just doesn’t have the grass experience (yet). Nor does Del Potro. Fish has a great serve and has taken a set off Federer on the grass before, but Mardy may not even get out to the last 16. And for Berdych, who thinks the Czech mentally has it to knock Nadal off? He certainly has the game and firepower, but between the ears I just don’t think he can pull it off.

So that all said, I think we get a repeat of the French Open final. I know I selected Gasquet over Murray but I’m changing my pick. I’ll put Murray back in the final four against Nadal and in the other semifinal I see it as Djokovic and Federer.

And in those semifinals, I just think the pressure is too much and Nadal is too strong for Murray to overcome. Andy loses again just one match from the final. In the second semifinal, I know Federer looked good at the French but I’m actually going to pick Djokovic to get revenge. Novak doesn’t have the pressure like he did at the French and I think with all of Rafa and Roger’s success at Wimbledon he’s just slightly off the radar. And that should help.

In the final, I’ll take Nadal in four sets over the Serb. Again, another revenge situation and I think Djokovic, happy with finally reaching No. 1 and the title match, suffers that first loss to Rafa on the season – no one beats Nadal in five straight finals!!

There’s is also a lot of talk of rain, and if the skies open up fitness, and the mentally toughness will become an even greater prize. On hardcourts, Nadal and his bad knees would be at a disadvantage, but on grass he should be fine if he has to win five matches in seven days to win the title a week from next.

Rafa’s won 14 straight matches and in his the last four trips to Wimbledon the only man to beat him was Federer. That’s no fluke. Nadal might not have the prototypical grass game, but upstairs where it counts the most he’s proven that right now he’s still the best. Vamos.


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56 Comments for Will Someone End Nadal’s Run at Wimbledon?

Kimberly Says:

oh no! Sean’s picking Rafa! Big trouble for my guy!!!!


Skeezerweezer Says:

Haha Kimberly u got jinxed!! Been there done that with the “Sean” factor.


sheila Says:

i dont think nadal has a tuff draw because theres absolutely no one who can challenge nadal in a best of 5. possibly djokovic, but all these other players, soderling, raonic, berdych, all hype by the media to get fan adrenaline going. no one comes close to nadals mental fortitude & thats the bottom line. im a federer fan, but roger doenst play w/the consistency he once had plus, imho, federer has absolutely nothing to prove anymore. his legacy is cemented whereas the soderlings, berdychs, delpotros havent really done anything against nadal to prove their ability to win nadal. i will put all my energy into roger federer winning another wimbledon. his best shot at another major.


Seth Says:

Hope he gets knocked out the first week.


Eric Says:

“Will Someone End Nadal’s Run at Wimbledon?”

Yes.


Eric Says:

“And JW Tsonga, a potential quarterfinal opponent, remains unproven on the grass courts.”

Bwah? Except where he reached a QF last year and was a few points away from beating Murray in the final at Queens last week? Geez… think for a second before you write.


Sean Randall Says:

Sorry, Eric, who did Tsonga beat at Wimbledon last year?

And no, I can’t put a lot of stock on that Nadal win last week when Rafa was running on fumes.

I like Tsonga a lot, but I don’t see him beating Federer on the grass.


Kimberly Says:

Tsonga took a set off Murray and was in a TB to go up two setsnto zero in the QF if I recall correctly last year at wimbledon.


dari Says:

After AO, Wimbledon is tsonga’s best major- he has gotten to qf’s there and not at the others.
And what I saw of him at queens was excellent grass court tennis, even if you scratch the Rafa match, which most people have.
Bottom line, he is good on grass, but hopefully/ probably bot good enough to beat fed.
Well anyway, I can’t believe it, Wimbledon starts tomorrow!
What the heck are they gonna do with all that rain? Day and night sessions under the roof?


Eric Says:

Sean: If “I don’t see him beating Federer on the grass” is your response, then I suggest you work on your compositional skills. There’s a difference between saying you wouldn’t pick someone over Federer and saying they are “unproven.” If you meant the former, say that instead.

I wouldn’t pick Hewitt over Federer, but that doesn’t make him “unproven” on grass.

You write in your article that you think Llodra could trouble Nole. Well, Tsonga had no problems with him last week. And you might discount his win over Rafa – I do too; I think Rafa did what he wanted and no more at Qeens – but he outplayed him by a shocking margin.

And he lost in a very tight match to Andy Murray last week, as he did in the QF last year (thanks Kimberly).

So, no. Tsonga is not “unproven on grass.” He is “very good.” Raonic is “unproven,” Delpo is even a little “unproven.” Tsonga is not.


Sean Randall Says:

Eric, I’m not saying Tsonga is a lousy grass player. Again, I like the guy, I like his game, I root for him and I think he can very easily get out to that QF against Federer. I just don’t think he has much of a chance to beat Roger there.

I’d give JW a better chance of beating Roger in a US Open QF then a Wimbledon quarter. Grass is different especially against Federer.

Against Federer, Tsonga hasn’t shown me anything to make me believe he can beat him on grass. Maybe he will this week, but as of now, no.

And again, who has JW beaten at Wimbledon? How many big Top 40 wins does he have at Wimbledon?


Kimberly Says:

Last Chance!!!!!

Submit your bracket here:
http://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketWimbledonATP/tennisxfans1/default.aspx.

The deadline to enter is 6/20/2011 6:00 AM Eastern Standard Time.

Lots of people, not even sure who everyone is! Will have to make introductions once the comments open tomorrow!


Kimberly Says:

FOR THE FEW PEOPLE INTERESTED HERE IS WTA LINK!!

Submit your bracket here:
http://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketWimbledonWTA/kimberli253/default.aspx.

The deadline to enter is 6/20/2011 6:00 AM Eastern Standard Time.


Rafalicious Says:

Nadal is rested and ready to GO!!!!!!! VAMOS BABY!


Nims Says:

if we go with the logic of “Who has Tsonga beaten in past wimbledon” ..then why are you saying Nadal’s half is tougher. Who did Raonic or Del P beat in the previous Wimbledon. Rafa should have the easiest draws then.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

I don’t believe Berdych poses a true threat. His run last year seems to have been a one-off. He has certainly not seemed a world champion this year.
I do believe Murray can contend with Rafa on hard courts, but last years loss showed that even at the top of his game, Rafa is just better on grass.
DelPotro and Raonic are wild cards. The way Raonic played so big at Oz shows that he can be a slam contender. I think the future is now for him. I don’t expect him to beat Rafa of course, but it would not shock me.
DelPotro has a pretty bad grass court record, but its a very short record when you consider that 2009 was DelPo’s breakout year and he was off for 2010.
Guys who hit like DelPotro and Raonic should be very dangerous on faster courts, even if Wimbledon is not THE fastest. Berdych could be in that class too, but I really think he’s on the downslope and the other two power hitters are on the way up.


van orten Says:

wow mr. randall you are a rafa baby (fan) arent you ???? or you dont want to jinx the fed ;-)


RZ Says:

How is Murray’s draw easy??? He’s got Monfils, Gasquet, Wawrinka, and Roddick in his section. None of those guys are slouches on grass. True, Rafa has Roanic and Berdych in his quarter, but he has a ton of qualifiers in his section too.


RZ Says:

Kimberly, thanks for the links.


Eric Says:

Sean, I understand and agree. But to say Tsonga is “unproven” on grass is wrong – and it’s not what you mean. You mean Tsonga is not good or consistent enough to beat Roger at Wimbledon; so just say that instead.

We all know that Tsonga is inconsistent; and maybe what we saw from Tsonga against Murray was actually his very best tennis, and it wasn’t good enough once Andy got cracking. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree.

My point is that “unproven” suggests that Tsonga has for whatever reason failed to show us his grass court abilities. That’s false; he has, and they are very good. Whether he can beat Roger is a completely unrelated issue. If that’s the measure of being “proven” on grass, then I guess Nadal is also “unproven” – after all, that one could just be a fluke. ;)


Eric Says:

All right Kimberly…I submitted a WTA bracket after all. Let’s get this contest going. :)


Kimberly Says:

Just cleaned up my picks. Still some risks but not as wild as it was!


Eric Says:

I have a big risk in my men’s draw – I picked Andy to beat Rafa in the semis. Kind of crazy, I know, but somehow I feel like this is his year. And I’m too lazy to go back and change my Tipsarevic picks, even though I suspect Dr. Ivo might get through him after the Eastbourne sham.


Michael Says:

It is difficult to predict the winner at this moment. Ofcourse, Nadal has got good chances, but my gut feeling tells me that this Wimbledon will belong to Federer. I do not think Djokovic will be able to stop Federer in Grass court. It is a tall order to outwit the Master and remember Nadal did it in 2008 in five tough sets which could have gone either way. So, Federer will be very much in the final and if it is Murray it will be a cake walk for him and if the likely opponent is Rafa then we will have a match on our hands. But even if Rafa is in the finals, I will fancy Federer to win just because the fast grass court is the best chance for Federer to overcome Nadal. All in all, Federer might get his seventh Wimbledon title.


madmax Says:

Michael,

I think the grass courts are ‘slower’ this year? At least that is what I’ve heard.

I’ll probably read something different in a minute. No one seems certain.

And No. Delpo and Raonic are not a threat to Rafa. I don’t know why any one is saying that Rafa has a difficult draw. He doesn’t. What exactly have delpo and Raonic done on grass to threaten rafa?

We would be talking a different talk if this were on hard courts where they would have more of a chance. I don’t know why people are dumbing this down. It’s ridiculous to suggest that rafa will lose to the likes of delpo OR raonic on grass.


trufan Says:

Nadal’s luck has gotto run out. Agreed, wimbledon now is “green clay” – slower balls, higher bounce – had Nadal played on the grass and balls of the 90s, he would have never won wimbledon anyway.

Still, this is not clay. And this is not 2010. Nadal is already in decline.


trufan Says:

Ya, Nadal’s draw is really tough…

Right now he is playing a 33 year old, 5ft 8 guy, who has never ranked above 60, and has won 1 match at wimbledon in his past 4 tries.

Ya, really tough.

Wish Nadal was playing Isner in the first round. He would have been knocked out of his senses. And rightly so.


Lulu Iberica Says:

LOL! Rafa haters crack me up! It must really rankle for a guy to win 10 SLAMS when you think he just gets lucky, intimidates his opponents by jumping up and down and picking his underwear, has an ugly, boring game, etc, etc.

Rafa obviously has natural talent. Not as much as Fed and even some others, but you don’t win 10 slams without some level of talent. More than anything, though, he has the HEART and MIND of a champion! Yes, he has shown some weakness this season, and he got a bit lucky with Fed beating Djoko; however, he grabbed hold of his opportunity and sealed his place in history with his 6th Roland Garros title! Rafa tends to make the most of his opportunities.

He sounds very confident now and I expect him to reach the final at least. I think only Federer playing near his best can beat Rafa at Wimbledon. VAMOS, Rafa!


trufan Says:

Lulu,

Nothing against Nadal. I agree, he is pretty talented, supremely solid mentally, and probably works harder than anyone else on the tour to remain so fit. His lefty forehand topspin shot is perhaps the best of all time. And he is a great tactician on court.

He certainly deserves his status as (at least) one of the top 2 clay courters of the open era (with Borg). Also certainly one of the top 10 players of the open era.

However, saying that he is the best of all time, he is an “all courts” player, blah blah blah, is a bit of a stretch.

He has been EXTREMELY lucky in 3 of his 4 slams outside of clay. He has been EXTREMELY lucky to have his main competitor, for many years, a player 5 years older to him. Only this year has Djokovic emerged as an equal (and has beaten him to pulp), or Del Po (but he got injured). Even Sampras did not have THAT much luck – at least for a few years he had to beat a peak Agassi.

Nadal has a special place in history – perhaps as the best clay court player ever, who was also pretty good at other surfaces, not so much due to talent and grace, as due to sheer hard work (and some gamesmanship and luck).

Though Nadal has two wimbledon titles, he would not have beaten players like McEnroe, Borg, Becker, Edberg and Sampras, at THEIR peak, on grass. It took him 5 hours, fading light, 9-7 in the fifth to beat a 27 year old Federer who was still having some mono after effects.

Lets see. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Lets see him beat a few tough grass courters this year. Then we will talk.


trufan Says:

Another big stroke of LUCK for Nadal has been his being Lefty. If he was the same level player, but played right handed, do you think he would have beaten Federer that often, even on clay? I don’t think so. And being left or right handed is entirely a matter of chance, not design.


dari Says:

nadal’s leftiness in tennis was specifically designed by toni nadal


queen Says:

TURFAN, your comments are pathetic. Are an idiot?
All your responses are based on some delusional assumptions. What if Nadal play with his right hand? What if he played Isner in the first round?, What if Nadal played in the 90s????
SHUT UP ALREADY!!! You do not even have answers to the f.ck’n assumptions you making.


Vaaamos Says:

truefan?? More like a deluded sour fed fan…this particular poster has nothing else but talk about how lucky nadal has been…blinded by your hatred aren’t you…PATHETIC!


Vaaamos Says:

what if this…what if that….i will tell what it REALLY is…you have no class at all truefan…sad that such a classy guy like federer has few of your kind as his fans…nothing but idiots


Huh Says:

I agree with Lulu that the Real Nadal can only lose to the Real Federer and none else, in WIM. If Nadal plays his real grass court tennis, then only a good Federer or great Roddick can beat him here, IMHO forget about the rest beatin a peak Nadal on grass. Only Fed or Roddick have the great grass court pedigree to match or outdo Nadal, I’d not bet my money over others.
However, wen Rafa was pushd to 5 sets in the 1st rd at FO 11, I’ve argued then that the situation of Rafa at FO 11 this year lookd like Fed’s of WIM 07, both bein similar in d sens dat in both cases d invincibls wer challengd:
Nadal by Isner n Federer by Nadal, but the end result was never in doubt in my mind, Rafa n Fed won their respectiv tournaments. But then som didnt agree with me
n tried to draw similarity of Nadal’s FO 11 campaign to that of Fed’s 2010 WIM mission, anyway I didnt buy them n was provd correct with Nadal showin the rest of the world why i compard him to 2007 WIMBY Federer. I went with my gut feelings in WIM 10, USO 10 n FO 11 n was provd correct each time. So now also m stickin with my gut feelin, much to my own dislike, n I PICK NADAL TO WIN THIS WIMBLEDON.


trufan Says:

Queen and Vaamos – truth really hurts, ha? Breathe deeply, (wo)man. Lets restrict our comments to players. Keep your poison to yourself.


Vaaamos Says:

^^ i am sure the truth hurt you too…keep your poison to yourself too likewise..


trufan Says:

Vaamos,

again, lets restrict our commments to players. Read my e-mail again – my comments are only about players. Don’t get your panties in a bunch if you are so sensitive to comments about Nadal. The profanity and name calling was all from you (read your own mail). Hence my suggestion to keep your poison to yourself – I don’t have any!

As for the truth, would love to hear your comments refuting any of my arguments. That is if you have any comments about tennis and tennis players.


Kimberly Says:

He has been EXTREMELY lucky in 3 of his 4 slams outside of clay. He has been EXTREMELY lucky to have his main competitor,

How was he lucky in 3 of the 4:
Wimb 2011, he WON, he beat Soderling and Murray. Not his fault Berdych showed up to the final. If you count this as luck, then you def. need to count FO 2009 as luck for Fed, which I don’t. You play who is there. Period. But he beat two top tier players in QF and SF.

AO 2009–I fail to see any luck, unless you mean bad luck, for having to play the second match and getting in a five hour marathon.

USO2010-Again, Not his fault Murray lost. His draw was kind of cushy. But Djoko had the rain delay for a full day so not so lucky.

WImbledon 2008. I’m missing the luck element in that one. The Fed mono thing didn’t seem to affect him with anyone else, Fed didn’t lose a set outside this match the entire tournament. And they both had easy semis. Rafa crushed Murray in the QF.

So there is my arguments. I think he earned his 4 non-clay slams. Def. as much as Fed. earned his FO. You play who shows up, its not Fed’s fault Rafa didn’t show to RG 2009, Not rafa’s fault Novak didn’t show to RG 2011 etc. And Rafa was in two Wimbledon finals as well. 4 finals is not a fluke or luck. Sorry.


Vaaamos Says:

truefan…after reading your spin on rafa’s gs wins…there is no need for me to engage into any sort of discussion with you because i know you are not capable of appreciating or applauding someone you obviously HATE…most of rafa’s victory on GS level are not due to luck but because he has always earnt it…just like any other athlete…the way you make it sound is insulting and seriously delusional…your posts have nothing to contribute…they are just about “luck” and how you hate rafael winning grandslams…
a true fan of the sport will respect every tennis player…but you are just a blind federer fan…


Polo Says:

This is going to be Nadal’s Wimbledon, again. I don’t see anybody who can threaten his way to the finals. Nadal is tough and gets even tougher in 5 set matches. I would be happily surprised to see Federer get into the finals. And if both Nadal and Federer make it there, the outcome will be the same again…Nadal beats him again, of course.


WTF Says:

Sean you contradicted yourself. You said it would be a repeat of the French Open final, and then later went on to tip Djokovic over Federer in making the final.


Michael Says:

Madmax, I agree to your point. Yes, Nadal doesn’t have a tough draw at all. If the likes of Berdych are heralded as tough inspite of their pathetic H2H against Nadal then what to say ? About Raonic and Del Potro, I am pretty sure that they cannot last against Nadal in a five set match especially at the Premier event. The only threat to Nadal can be in the form of Murray in the semi-finals and even there Murray has slim chances to overcome Nadal. The main threat to Nadal will come from Federer if he manage to reach there or Djokovic. On the grass courts, I am sure Federer will give all that he can to make sure that Nadal is denied his third Wimbledon crown. Federer is definitely a threat to Nadal only if his first serve clicks. If that happens, then he can make a mincemeat of Nadal in the finals. If he doesn’t serve well, then Nadal will go on to win the title for sure. To me, the key really is the serve especially the first serve. Djokovic on the other hand is playing on his weakest surface, but he has this psychological edge against Nadal and it might just be that he might be able to outlast him once again. Djokovic is a real fighter and he will not over awed by Nadal’s aura. So, the best chance against Nadal is with Federer or Djokovic.


Michael Says:

Nadal is nodoubt a great player and to me he is the best Clay Court player ever even ahead of the Swedish legend named Borg. Although I rate Borg’s game superior to Nadal, it is the record that counts and Nadal has it because he has won more Clay court tournaments than Borg. But Mcenroe saying rather prematurely that Nadal is the Greatest Tennis has ever seen is stretching a bit too far. I do not think Nadal has yet reached the stage to be compared when counting the Greatest. He still has more work to do. Of his 10 Grand slam titles, 6 of them have been Rolland Garros, so outside that he has won only four which is rather skewed. He is yet to register a win in World Tour finals which is the second best to a Grand slam event. He is yet to attain that consistency of Federer in consecutively reaching Slam finals may be due to his injury. Therefore, all things considered, Nadal has miles to go to be compared with the likes of Federer or Laver. But I am pretty sure, Nadal is a better player than Sampras just because Sampras is simply a lilluputan on Clay courts and that is really not a sign of a great player.


Skeezerweezer Says:

^ it’s all from each persons point of view. Sure Sampras couldn’t hold a candle to Rafa on Clay, but Grass? No way. Sampras holds a boatload of Grass court titles compared to RafaSexy.

I would Still rate Borgs all around game better than Rafa, however Rafa’s career is far from over.


Vaaamos Says:

borg never won a hard court slam…he might be a better grass court player but not a better all court player when compared to nadal…rafa needs two more slams to be better than borg in the history books…and he will certainly do it


Skeezerweezer Says:

^ oh how the word “hate” and feelings implied and ” I know my Rafa” fan hood comes out, Along with the typical adjectives related to “personal feelings” like pathetic and poison, assuming ones stance, but in no way founded. The Rafa love sexy is back in force. Love on the Internet. Sounds very familiar and easily dissected. What will happen when Rafa gets married? Will you go back to Tiger?


Vaaamos Says:

^ atleast the love is not about hating the closest rival(like many who do here) who is such a great ambassador for the sport…it’s about what’s fair and what is not….VAMOS RAFA!


Pete Says:

Why should they end nadals run??? let him as much as rogers won at wimby. why so biased?? typical.


Vaaamos Says:

^typical indeed,but sean randall is biased,so no surprises there!

Looking forward to federer’s match today…would be entertaining as always


Tran Says:

Too much a prediction. Look for Nadal to fall in QF or semi.


jamie Says:

They did an interview with Courier on CNN today and he thinks Djokovic will beat Nadal in the final if he makes it there.


trufan Says:

Vaamos,

Again, you don’t seem to have any substantive comments about the players in question. Just personal comments on the posters. Stick to the players, unless, of course, hurling personal insults at unknown people gets you off!

Fact is – Nadal is a great clay courter, but has yet to prove GREATNESS on the other two surfaces. Would help his case if he won at least a few year end championships – on fast carpet he seems to be as uncomfortable as Sampras was on clay. That’s not all round greatness.


trufan Says:

Talking about luck – Raonic just got injured and is out of the tournament. Would have been a good test for Nadal, given the massive serve. Lets see if Murray remains healthy this time (unlike the French), or DelPo, or Roddick.


sheila Says:

i hope w/all my heart roger federer wins wimbledon 2011

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