Rafael Nadal Is My Early Favorite To Win Wimbledon, Here’s Why
by Sean Randall | June 18th, 2013, 1:46 pm

The current poll results might seem somewhat surprising with Rafael Nadal leading by a wide margin for early favorite to win Wimbledon. Despite a dubios loss there last year and limited grass play, right now I’m actually going to agree with those voters. Nadal is my early favorite to win Wimbledon.

Naysayers will argue that Rafa is a clay courter and there’s no question clay is his dominant surface. But there’s more to Rafa. How else do you explain him reaching the Wimbledon finals five of the last six times he’s played, winning two of them?

Pure luck? Good draws? Slower grass?

Fact it Nadal has three career wins at Wimbledon over Andy Murray. He’s beaten Novak Djokovic there plus Tomas Berdych, Robin Soderling, Mikhail Youzhny and of course the greatest grass court player of our time, Roger Federer, in one of the greatest matches ever played.

That’s a pretty damn strong resume.

Sure, last year he got a shock from Lukas Rosol. But look what he’s done since: reached the finals in all nine events winning seven for a 43-2 record this year and outright lead in the 2013 point standings. And he’s once again back beating up on his brethren. Rafa’s won 21 of his last 22 matches against Top 10 players.

I know there’s a lot of talk about his Wimbledon seeding, I really don’t think it matters much. Rafa’s likely going to have to beat Federer or Djokovic or Murray at some point anyway. It’s inevitable.

As a No. 5 seed, however, it could get treacherous. If he survives early – the best time to get him – his path to a title could end up winding through Djokovic in the quarters, Federer in the semis and then Murray in the final. That’s murderer’s row. But if anyone could navigate such a road it’s Nadal.

My No. 2 pick is Murray. In the last year no one has played better on the surface. Aside from a hiccup (read: roof closure) against Federer in the Wimbledon final last year, he’s been perfect on grass the last 52 weeks winning the Olympic gold and then Sunday at Queen’s where he had notable wins over JW Tsonga and Marin Cilic.

He’s now got his Slam so some pressure has to be off his shoulders. But he’ll still get the benefit of the English scheduling (late in the day, Center Court) and if his back holds up, which I believe it will, I think he’s got the confidence right now to take it all the way.

Last year there was so much build up to that final, his first at Wimbledon, with Federer. This year because he won the gold and the US Open, I don’t think we’ll see that same frenzy. And that will help.

Novak has a Wimbledon title, but I’ve never sensed this event is a big priority for him. He’s always struck me as someone who’s more focused on the hardcourt majors, and his results have showed that. Djokovic has six Slams, five of those on the hardcourts. And of the three major surfaces, his winning % on grass is the lowest (just by a tick!).

What really troubles me about Novak right now are two things. First, he just hasn’t looked terribly sharp since his Dubai win.

He had very disappointing results at Indian Wells and Miami, two tournaments one would think he would walk away with at least one title. He had the scary ankle turn in Davis Cup but rebounded in the best of fashion with that stunning win over Nadal in Monte Carlo. But he couldn’t sustain it losing to Grigor Dimitrov in Madrid then Berdych in Rome. He played better at the French, his main mark on the calender this year, and played Rafa tough in that epic semifinal loss, but again, it just wasn’t a complete match from Novak. And that’s what I want to see from him. Complete matches against the best.

Recently I feel like he’ll play one good set, then mix in a poor one or two.

And I can extended that to his recent grass court losses. In the semifinals last year at Wimbledon he lost listlessly to Federer. And again at the Olympics two more underwhelming performances against Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro in the bronze match.

Novak also doesn’t have the wins that Nadal and Murray have on grass. He beat Rafa in the 2011 Wimbledon final and he’s got a few over Tsonga, but anyone else?

He’s still a very strong, elite player and he is World No. 1. It’s just that the magic from 2011 has rubbed off.

Federer finally got back in the win column this weekend with his 6th title in Halle. It was also his first win in 10 months and while this might signal to him and his fans that he’s back, I’m not so sure. Roger struggled late in that tournament beating Tommy Haas and then Youzhny in the final, both in three sets. If he’s having troubling putting those 30 something players away, how’s he going to fare against the likes of Nadal, Murray and Novak?

Maybe he can get the roof closed again, that’s how!

Fact is Federer is aging and he’s just not the same player he was when he dominated the event. Last year en route to his 7th Wimbledon he was gifted with the perfect storm: Nadal got upset, Djokovic was flat and Murray was shellshocked playing in his first final there.

Not to mention those tomato cans Juliean Benneteau and Xavier Malisse who couldn’t take advantage of Federer’s ailing back.

Still, he’s Federer, he’s the defending champion and he’ll have another run in him. With still just one Top 10 win on the year, he’ll need a great draw and a lot of fortune (again) to make it back to the finals.

As for the other players to watch, that list starts with Tsonga. He’s showed improvements this year under new coach Roger Rasheed. And with his style of play I think he could get hot enough to beat just about anybody including Nadal – the exception would be Murray who really owns JW. The question is, mentally can he hold it together over 5 sets, in tiebreakers, through rain stoppages to win the darn thing? Probably not.

We can’t ignore former finalist Berdych. He doesn’t run quite as hot as Tsonga (who does?), but if you are having an off day he’s the kind of player who can put you away on any surface. Now at 27, we’ve likely seen the best from him but he’s still ultra dangerous and someone you’d rather not see in your section of the draw.

After that we get into a mish-mash of players who have potential but it often fails to translate. They have Big Games, but they cannot beat the Big Names. Among them I count Milos Raonic, Ernests Gulbis, Richard Gasquet, Sam Querrey, John Isner, Grigor Dimitrov, Kevin Anderson and Tommy Haas.

Raonic is always intriguing. I think Haas has played well enough to maybe reach the quarters. Anderson’s has a great year as has former semifinalist Gasquet.

So to follow up on Rafa, given his results this year and his Wimbledon history (5 finals!), right now it’s hard for me to pick someone like Murray, Novak or Federer to beat Nadal on grass in a single match, winner-take-all situation.

If Rafa played Novak tomorrow, I’d have to pick Rafa. If he played Roger I’d still take Rafa. Murray’s makes me wonder, but look how badly Rafa’s beaten Andy at Wimbledon (9 sets to 1).

We’ll know a lot more once the draw is released on Friday, but until then, vamos!

You Might Like:
Here’s Rafael Nadal Trying To Find His Car In A New Kia Commercial [Video]
Sadly, Here’s Who Won’t Be At Indian Wells
Here’s Richard Gasquet’s Exceptional Tweener He Hit Against Novak Djokovic Today [Video]
Here’s Novak Djokovic’s Incredible Matchpoint From His Win Over Stan Wawrinka [Video]
Poll: Who’s Your Early Favorite To Win Wimbledon?

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

141 Comments for Rafael Nadal Is My Early Favorite To Win Wimbledon, Here’s Why

Brando Says:

You tell em Sean, you just tell em! :-)

LOL, seriously:

I think you are pretty spot on with your analysis.

As a Rafa fan I do not really mind at all with him being seed no.5. Should he find his mojo then, you are right: he’s got a good shot as any.

Fact is:

1- He’s a 2 time winner at Wimby: slouches do not win on the green stuff!

2- He’s also won at Queens, a 3 time winner on grass.

3- He’s reached 5 wimby finals- the same number as McEnroe!

4- He’s got a winning h2h v Muzza, Novak on grass and is Fed’s toughest matchup on this surface.

Long story short:

He ain’t no chump on grass!

Rafa deserves the respect his record demands on grass.

Sure his record pales in comparison to his clay pedigree- but who’s doesn’t in comparison to such a monstrous record Rafa has on the dirt?

On it’s own merit, Rafa has already proven himself as the 2nd best grass court player of this point in time and many grass legends such as Borg, McEnroe, Becker have all praised his game on the green stuff.

He won the greatest match of all time in 2008 here, beating the GOAT on grass.

What more does a player have to do to get the respect his game deserves on this surface?

The man can play winning tennis and write him off at your peril!

To end on the same note as Sean:


Ahsan Najeeb Says:

Nice article Sean… For me this is one of the most unpredictable GS after a long time where fans of all big four have reason to believe that their man can do it… but Rafa’ s seeding is a bit of a downer.. u would like the best 4 to meet in the semis but that not may not happen… Those who are saying it hardly matters I don’t agree with them.. Beating top two of them is already a tall order but beating three of them in a row would be too tough for them…. I can safely say that if Roger meets Rafa in QFs he will not win the GS irrespective of that match’s result.. A lot will rest on the draw which should not be the case.. Either way it is by far the most unpredictable and interesting slam of the year

Colin Says:

What are you doing in that picture, Rafa? Boasting again?

courbon Says:

I agree with Nadal being favourite but somehow I feel Novak being ahead of Andy Murray.I think Novak knows his ship is rocked
with last 3 months results, and he will want to steady the ship and assert himself as number 1.He’ll come with great motivation and I do not agree that Novak never cared much for Wimbledon-there is no player in the world that does not care too much about Wimby. Off course, An dy is in my opinion equal with the Novak in winning Wimby.Joint second place I would say.

the DA Says:

I can’t believe I actually agree with most of that analysis (yikes, what’s happening). OTOH, quite relieved Andy was chosen as the 2nd fav. #nojinxes

VVx Says:

Del Potro?

Bronze medallist. I’d put him in the same bracket with Berdych and Tsonga.

Thangs Says:

Oh Sean Jinx…Please stay away for one more tournament…

Humble Rafa Says:


Your Humble Highness is humbled by your article.

On a other hand, I am aware of your curse.

James Says:

Thank you, Sean, for this article. Thanks for showing Rafa the respect he deserves on grass. I don’t know if he should be the no.1 favorite as Murray, Federer and Novak are all good.
A lot of people seem to have very short term memory when they write off a champion like Nadal for Wimbledon. Maybe they remember nothing before the 2nd round loss to Rosol last year. For someone who’s followed his tennis for years, I know he’s good to win a few more non clay Slams. I hope he wins this one and shut some mouths up.

Sean Randall Says:

Jinx/Curse? I picked Rafa to win Madrid, Rome and the French, how’d that work out?

Giles Says:

Sean has been calling accurately the last 4 tourneys.
Vamos Rafa!!

Giles Says:

Sean. Our posts clashed. Ok the last 3 then. Good enough for me!

Sirius Says:

Don’t know why but 8, 18, 78…. these three numbers are coming in my mind all at the same time… o.O

Pitchaboy Says:

In a total of 9 years and 27 non-clay slams Rafa has 4. A decent chance this Wimbledon yes, favorite to win, not a chance.

Humble Rafa Says:

At least, I have a better chance than the Arrogant One on his favorite surface. That says a lot.

Daniel Says:


Looks like even a series 8-1 = 7 in the third number. #mathfrenezi

But there is another odd stat I am curiois to see how will unfold. Last 4 years, Madrid winner won Wimbledon, so Nadal it is. Will see…

steve-o Says:

I would put Murray first, Federer second, Nadal third, Djokovic fourth.

Murray has a habit of indifferent results in best-of-three followed by great performances in Grand Slams, so his bad clay form means little. He’s well-rested and has a grass-court title coming in, good confidence and match prep. Plus he has that motivation to go one step further than last year, so I think he will be driven to take this title.

It took a vintage performance from Federer to stop him last year–don’t think either Djokovic or Nadal would have managed it–and it will probably take some doing to stop him this year.

Federer just won a title but too soon to tell, really, if he has enough momentum to win again at the All-England Club. His game has been up and down this year so we don’t know yet where he is.

However, seven titles and being defending champ counts for a lot. His game doesn’t age very much, especially on grass where he can use his serve and variety to their fullest and where he moves better than on any other surface. So if he plays well, he wins.

Nadal has a losing record in Wimbledon finals–40%. And if he has to play all three of Federer, Djokovic, Murray, I don’t see him getting through. Even on clay, his strongest surface, he just barely escaped Djokovic in the fifth set. On grass, where he is a bit weaker, he will have a bit more trouble against those three players. Power players like Tsonga he can handle; grinders who can match him in long rallies are tougher.

Plus he is skipping Halle. This is to avoid an embarrassing defeat and help conserve his strength, but it also deprives him of grass-court matches.

But given his past record at Wimbledon, I put him above Djokovic.

Djokovic does not have the momentum from all that winning that he had in 2011. I think he will take some time to get used to the grass, even with playing that exhibition tournament. Grass is tougher for him than for the other players, and I think he will struggle.

Still he is world #1 and a former champ (unlike Murray) so he can’t be counted out.

Margot Says:

@ the DA
Me too! Eek! What IS going on…;)

Gregoire Gentil Says:

Not fair to forget Wawrinka in the Others list…

The Great Davy Says:

Have fun at most boring tournament on Earth losers.

the DA Says:

@ Margot – not only that but steve-o was quasi-complimentary about muzzah. It’s the twilight zone.

Kimberly Says:

Even the Sean Jinx not strong enough to tank Nadal on clay. In fact Sean and Jamie combined couldn’t do it. Now we have Sean (and I believe Jamie again) on a less favorable surface.


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

There is no such thing as a jinx or a curse,its an imaginary concept,you make your own luck in this world.

Okiegal Says:

Here is why Rafa will win Wimbledon…….because of all that hair, he will have the strength of Samson of Bible fame…….please don’t let anyone near it with the scissors!!!! LOL

Vamos, Rafa, good luck at Wimby!!!

Micky Says:

@Sean said;

“Jinx/Curse, I picked rafa to win Madrid, Rome and French”

You did pick Rafa to win this years Monte Carlo and 2012 Wimbledon too, didnt you?:)

TGIT Says:

Rafa will not win Wimbledon.

1. It is a mistake to think he is building towards Wimbledon. He spent his time running around on the dirt and built his game to win the French. There are far too many players 1st tier and 2nd tier that will push him around (possibly 3rd tier on grass). He does not have the quick strike tennis to shorten his matches.
2. He ain’t getting any younger either. You can see the cracks in the damn as he really was getting hit around by unkown decent players in the French. He is not going to get the chance to wait out a long rally with these power hitters on grass. Without grass match play I don’t think he will be ready for the quick hits and low bounce.
3. He peaked and is going to go out and slowly leave the stage until the end of the year.

I think anyone of your picks besides Rafa will win. Of course being 5th means he will really be climbing a hill.

And your curse will also help too.

Viz Says:

“Last year there was so much build up to that final, his first at Wimbledon, with Federer. This year because he won the gold and the US Open, I don’t think we’ll see that same frenzy.”
The frenzy will be the same. Never underestimate the British media’s capacity for sports-related hysteria. The difference will be that Andy will deal with it better this time.

Kimberly Says:

I do give Sean credit he picked Nadal in five to win the Rafole semi. I would have never picked that result. I would have picked Nadal in 3 or 4 or Djokovic in 5.

Pitchaboy Says:

To pick Rafa to win a bunch of clay court tournaments is like betting the sun will rise in the east. I believe the only non-clay slam he has a chance anymore is AO.

Kimberly Says:

TGIT, I do agree he had a clear goal in February of winning the French Open. It was all aimed towards that. Lets face it, he almost didn’t even play Indian Wells, then at the last minute, was in Acapulco close by anyway, showed up since he was playing well. Everything was geared towards that one end—win the French open. Goal achieved.

The question is what is next. My guess is Rafa goal is to be competitive in every tournament (potentially win if the stars align), go as deep as possible, and get as many ranking points as possible to end the year ranked 2, and look to win Australia and take over 1 next year? If I were him, and I were realistic, that would be my goal.

Kimberly Says:

The poll results are skewed towards Rafa because he just won the French Open and his fans, myself included are most motivated to come to this site and post. It’s natural. When your fav does well you feel like coming to tennis x and talking about it!

Several of the Djokovic fans have been in hiding since ColinO8 June 7 birthday, coincidentally, the day of the French Open semifinal so they probably didn’t even vote, the Murray fans were uninspired as he didn’t play the French and the Federer fans left on this site are far and few between.

When I first came to this site it in 2010 it was a huge Federer fan site. Now I know people are saying it has been hijacked by Rafa fans (and as I said, more of us are vocal because he just won a GS), but I actually see it as much more balanced than when I first came here.

Meanwhile, the NBA finals are on, my husband is at the game, and if the heat don’t get real HOT soon it will be a long summer starting tomorrow. I like Mat4, will not go on ESPN tv or internet but I won’t go until football season starts.

Roger Federer Fan Says:

Rafa ???
Favorite for Wimbledon ?

Rafa is a disgrace to tennis. It a big disgrace to associate him with wimbledon.

We fedfans (obviously led by Skeezer) are trying to establish that wimbledon is the holy grail of tennis and FO is the ugly sh!t of tennis.

Please dont ever talk about Rafa and wimbledon with the same breath.

Tennis is all about wimbledon, USO and AO. FO is for pigs.

Obviously wimbledon was not the real wimbledon in 2008 and 2010. Uncle toni hatched a conspiracy against Federer and other real tennis players and forced the wimbledon officials to opt for greenclay in 2008 and 2010.

TennisZod Says:

Wimby favorites for me are:
1. Roger Federer
2. Novak Djokovic
3. Andy Murray
4. Rafael Nadal

Humble Rafa Says:

We fedfans (obviously led by Skeezer) are trying to establish that wimbledon is the holy grail of tennis and FO is the ugly sh!t of tennis.

How did you manage to Skeeze entire life mission into one statement.

Kimberly Says:

unless the Heat pull a rabbit out of the hat real fast I will be spending a lot of time on tennis x in the coming month as I will be avoiding ESPN and all other sports related sites completely.

skeezer Says:

Humble Rafa aka Roger Federer Fan,

You haven fun talking to yourself? Chill on the alcohol and week old stale potato chips, you’ve had too much tonight. Try to limit to 2 drinks, then you don’t turn all schizo (like now). You’re letting your one or 2 followers down.

Good luck in your unemployment.

skeezer Says:


O ye of the little faith. Hang in there.

skeezer Says:

U are sooooo lucky to have gotten Ray Allen!

Kimberly Says:

Nervous breakdown worse than the fifth set in the semi of rg

Colin Says:

Hey, Xtreme Tennis, this is getting personal. I post a (rather feeble) joke about the picture in the lead article, then you change it to another bloody picture! Wouldn’t it have been simpler just to reject my post?

queen Says:

Go Spurs!

Okiegal Says:

I am gonna’ ask this question one more time……why does this forum always take my comments under moderation every time???? They might get posted a day or two later after the thread has already been discussed. Just wondering again…….

Okiegal Says:

I posted a comment about Rafa’s hair and now there’s a picture of him in red glasses……..what’s up with that, Jack?????

Okiegal Says:


Wondering same thing about the picture change.

Kimberly Says:

And Miami pulled the rabbit, in the form of Ray Allen


skeezer Says:


U are sooo luck to have gotten Ray Allen!

Sidenote; Lebron once again proved he will never be a MJ.

skeezer Says:


Happy for u, truly ;). Spurs though are makin me feel better about my Warriors. U know what I mean ;)

Kimberly Says:

Still need to bring it to game 7. Winner takes all. At least two more days of ESPN. Hours of replay and analysis tonight and sports radio. Spoelstra presser on.

funches Says:

Any of the Big Four can win it. I wouldn’t put Rafa No. 1, but Sean’s makes a logical case.

If I were a Nadal fan, I’d be worried about him losing early. Rosol got him last year, and he’s had five-set escapes in the first week of just about every Wimbledon. Before the grass turns to dirt, he’s very vulnerable, and I sense a mental letdown after his coming back from the injury layoff to win the French Open again.

My order: 1) Djokovic, 2) Murray, 3) Nadal, 4) Federer. Where I actually take issue with Sean is Tsonga. I don’t think he’s played well this year with the exception of Roland Garros, and I’m not sure how he’ll respond to his pitiful performance against Ferrer in the semis.

funches Says:

Rafa’s early-round Wimbledon history since he became title threat at Wimbledon:

2006: down two sets to none to Kendrick in second round, wins third set in tiebreak, then 7-5, 6-4.

2007: Beats Soderling 7-5 in the 5th in 3rd round

2008: no close calls.

2009: did not play

2010: Down 2 sets to 1 to Haase and Petzschner in 2nd, 3rd rounds

2011: no close calls

2012: lost to Rosol in 2nd round

skeezer Says:


Agree(except Tsonga). Furthermore, imo fans are underestimating Nole. I always find his fans are the coolest. They lay back, not boast too much, and wait for the kill. They wait for the win, then Shammmooon.

He is #1 for a reason, and if he is fit and able, he’ll do major damage her at Wimby.

The humblest Fans? Surely not Rafa fans. Just read the posts!!

Humble Rafa Says:

What’s up with Kimberly and Skeeze…flirting and all. Kim is married, Skeez. Go back to your cats.

skeezer Says:

@Humble Rafa Roger Federer Fan,

Grasping for straws doesn’t help your act. Take “the pill” and go night night. You’re out of your league here and have no idea what is going on. Sleep tight, hope it helps your job hunting at the back street comedic clubs. Stay off the “stuff”.

Nadalista Says:

If the rationale for disqualifying Rafa as a serious contender for Wimby is that his main goal for the season was RG, the same applies to Novak because RG was also his main goal for the season, he expressly said.

For the record, I think this rationale is spurious and deserves the short shrift it gets.

TennisZod Says:

Roger is the greatest of all time. Better than Nadal and better than Laver and Sampras. Nole is second best player after Roger. Nadal will not win more clay season over. He also dont play good tennis game. Only running and running. Not poetry like Nole and Roger.

TennisZod Says:

@Nadalista, but Nole better player than Nadal. Nole says he want to win Wimbledon he win. But Nadal say he win Wimbledon, no he dont. He only good on clay. One dimensional player. Bad role model for kids. He and Pascal Maria robbed Nole RG victory. Nole is so much better in that match but lose because umpire steal his points. Nole will beat Nadal again in grass, hardcourt. Just see

Adam Says:

Roger is the best of all on grass. The guy’s technique is flawless. what a pity he has to be unfortunate like agassi and suffer back problems. It’s very obvious when the back starts up, he can’t hit a first serve to save his life. i’ll keep being his fan always, even when he hangs up his racket. His the TMF.

Michael Says:

I wish the Sean jinx doesn’t hit Nadal. That said, for me, the heavy favourites for the title would be Novak, Rafa and Andy – necessarily in that order. The reason why I see Novak as the first favourite is that recently, Novak has become a good Grass court player. See his results in 2011 when he won against Nadal and even in 2012 where he was beaten by Roger in the Semis – his results have been great of late. Moreover, after that demoralising loss at the French Open, I think Novak a great fighter will strongly bounce back firing all clyinders. His major impediment might be Andy if both manages to reach there, but against Rafa or Roger I think he will fancy himself.

TennisZod Says:

Yes Nole is biggest fighter. After RG loss he wanna beat Nadal. After victory on Nadal Nole will tear his shirt again (don’t worry he have many more). Good tennis beat bad tennis.

metan Says:

@ Michael,

Lately your posts getting fair and square. They aren’t soooo bias like last year.

Congratulations to you as your man got Halle title. Hope he could make to final with the momentum from Halle.

Rafaole final will be awesome!

Michael Says:


Thanks. I have always tried to express my views without bias. But sometimes it so happens bias creeps in like an uninvited guest without my knowledge. Now, I am trying to exercise more control in what I post. Though we all have favourites, Tennis is bigger than individuals and there is a responsibility in all of us to analyse the sport without bias and prejudice. Roger, Rafa, Novak and Andy – plus the other Competitors, they are all revered by me because I am aware of what it takes to be at the highest level in any sport.

metan Says:


Nole is great player that’s why he owns few GS. That’s also apply for my vamos rafa , roger and andy.

Rafa won’t hesitate to face Nole. All these player are not afraid to each other.

If Nole win, please tell him don’t tear his t-shirt , it’s better munch grass, yummy!! My little bro.

metan Says:

@ Michael,

Well said. We all do have bias.

the DA Says:

Well, the seeds are as predicted:

1. Djokovic, 2. Murray, 3. Federer, 4. Ferrer, 5. Nadal.

Get ready for the public outcry if Andy lands with Rafa and Fed. But if he gets Ferrer, with Novak, Roger and Rafa in the other half, be prepared for cries of fixed draw. I’m sure the same will apply for fans of the other 3. Let the fun begin.

RZ Says:

I’d love to see Tommy Haas make at least the quarters and hopefully break into the top 10.

nadalista Says:

Seeds are as expected.

Couldn’t care less in which half or quarter Rafa is placed. More interesting for me is who he plays in the first 3 rounds.

Vvx Says:

I am a Rafa fan but this is the right result. David Ferrer has earned the no. 4 seed with solid results on all surfaces in the last year. It would have been harsh to demote him and make his run to the final harder than it should be.

I am quite relaxed about the draw. The first two rounds will be the worst. After that, Rafa has no points to defend until Feb 2014 and will relax.

A relaxed Rafa, with nothing to lose and everything to gain, playing ‘with calm’ is a very dangerous beast indeed.

Expect fireworks!

Brando Says:

@the DA: LOL, you can bet your house on ‘the fix’ cries if Rafa lands in Novaks half!


About Murray and Wimbledon: we can’t discount the ENORMOUS level of expectation in the UK for Murray to win Wimbledon. This hysteria is simply unimaginable for anyone living outside the UK and who is relatively sane about tennis and the meaning of life.

So there’s still enormous pressure on Murray to finally win. Question is, how does he deal with it?

Ben Pronin Says:

Lebron proved he’ll never be MJ? Clutch 3 just before Allen’s clutch 3 means nothing? Oh yeah, and he’s not trying to be MJ. For the millionth time, his game is closer to Magic’s than Jordan’s. But he still put up big numbers, 2nd triple double of the series, 4th in an NBA finals game. First 30, 10, 10 in an NBA finals since Barkley in 93. Yeah, he’s horrible. Even though the Heat wouldn’t even be close to this point without him.

Kimberly, I went to bed when Ginobli was taking his free throws. Then my friends started texting me, and I turned the TV back on with 20 seconds left. Rabbit out of the hat doesn’t even begin to describe what went down.

Kimberly Says:

My husband was at the game, took the boat there. It was almost a long dark boat ride home! He said some of the people around him had already left!

the DA Says:

Misery for Milos continues as he goes out in straights to Dodig. He did not look like a happy bunny.

Margot Says:

@ the DA June 18th. 4.44
*Faints clean away.*
Everyone seems to be talking about the pressure on Andy, but…I’d a thought there’s a lot of pressure on Fed: 1) defending champ 2)one more slam on most favoured surface? 3) done and dusted or years left?
Don’t forget chaps, there was a lot of pressure on Andy at the Olympics, especially as he had failed at the last Wimbledon hurdle. He responded beautifully.

skeezer Says:

Not sayin he’s not great. He also made 3 bozo plays towards the end of the game that, if they lost, he would have had major egg face. He even admitted it in the interview immediately after the game, Like I said, TG for the clutch of Ray Allen. That was a ridiculous 3 when things were almost done.

grendel Says:

@the DA 8.28

Raonic was not playing well, but then, Dodig is a gritty fellow. I first came across him when he beat Nadal at Montreal. On the other hand, he very nearly got beaten by the Englishman Ward at Queens the other day – Ward choked on about 6 separate occasions. This gives you a measure of the man. Dodig plays the man across the net and cares nothing for reputation. He kind of reminds me of a childhood comic hero, Alf Tupper, Tough of the Track. After working all day in a factory or down the pits, Alf would go out for a training run, on a bitterly cold night perhaps, stopping halfway to grab his dinner (fish and chips wrapped in newspaper). Dodig has that sort of look about him. He gets the very best out of himself, and if the man across the net is dreaming of his mansions and his helicopters and his catomites and what not, he’d better look out.

Kimberly Says:

Raaaaaay alllllllllennnnnn threeeeeeeeeee

That shot was ridiculous. I know if they win LBJ will get MVP but in a way Allen deserves it. No one else was making that shot.

Kimberly Says:

We were all cursing out LBJ on the last twos minutes on Facebook but he did get them to that point in the first place woth his run prior to that amd he hit the three before to keep them in. But that shot Allen hit was unreal.

the DA Says:

^ LOL. Vivid take on Dodig. I recall the Montreal match and thought “who he”? He certainly can be up and down.

When questioned about upcoming Wimbledon Raonic himself said “well I couldn’t play much worse so it can only get better from here”. I still think the timing of parting ways with his coach was highly questionable. A youthful mistake.

Brando Says:

I shouldn’t say anything re basketball since I know close to nothing about it, but ignorance recognized and still proceeding ahead it’s : MJ > LBJ, and by a country mile too. MJ is one of those rare sportsmen: one who transcends his field of choice. They guy was so good that even folks who do not follow the game like myself were aware of him, his talent and would even watch a game in which he featured. His genius wa undeniable, and he’s up there with the Ali’s, Pele’s, Federer’s, Di Maggio’s etc of sporting history. LBJ, whilst a undeniable talent, has long way to go before he even becomes a valid, worthy comparison to MJ. And I ask those who know the game well: is he even better than his teammate, Dwayne Wade? Some I know who follow the game even say Wade is better than him. Anyhow, MJ all the way for passive follower such as myself, and more to it: it seems for the majority of those who know the game.

Ben Pronin Says:

Lebron is the best player on the planet. Wade is not better than him. That’s not even a question.

Skeeze, I agree, he really almost cost them the game. And yes it would’ve been his fault. But I’m not just talking about this game when I say if not for him they wouldn’t be at that point. I’m talking about the whole season. Without James, the Heat are probably a 5-7th seed in the playoffs and go out in round 2 or 3 (I think a James-less Heat beats half a Bulls this year).

The comparisons between Jordan and Lebron need to stop. Even if James somehow gets 6 or 7 rings, he still shouldn’t be compared to Jordan, or vice versa. Most often, we compare Sampras and Federer, and Nadal and Borg. Rarely, if ever, do we compare Sampras and Nadal. Sometimes Borg and Federer are compared but only in terms of demeanor, not game. Same thing here. Jordan and Lebron play very different styles. Lebron is more like Magic.

grendel Says:

Apparently, some time after the Wimbledon final last year, Andy Murray woke up having dreamt he’d won it. That takes a bit of getting over, eh? I’ve had similar dreams – the unavailable woman suddenly becomes available. And then, upon waking, unavailable again…..

Kimberly Says:

Wade and James are not in the same league.

James is the best player in the NBA. What he does every game, covering the whole floor, defending, creating shots for his team mate, driving the rin, cannot be done by anyone else currently in the game.


grendel Says:

“Rarely, if ever, do we compare Sampras and Nadal.”

True. And yet, a few years ago, something strange was apparent. Old Sampras fans suddenly started to become Nadal fans. Now, I wonder why…..

Danny Morris Says:

“His genius wa undeniable, and he’s up there with the Ali’s, Pele’s, Federer’s, Di Maggio’s etc of sporting history.”

Well said Brando. You can add schumacher, phelps and bolt and probably Sergei bubka [not the tennis player, the pole vaulter] to the list. LBJ [what a funny set of initials! LOL] is the greatest player right now, but MJ at his prime really made people sit and take notice of the game.

As I read many times all over sports forums – it is just not how many wins, it is also HOW you play the sport. Think about lendl and mcenroe/connors/borg as an example. I don’t think even lendl’s mom wanted to watch him play. LOL!

The other 3 are – particularly borg and mcenroe brought the crowds flocking all over the world.

grendel Says:

Kvitova again throws it away. She needs to throw her dad away, so to speak. He’s a calming presence, I suppose, but I don’t think that’s what she needs. She needs somebody to energise her. As it is, she just gambles all the time. Mugs game. There are no short cuts, not in the long run.

grendel Says:

Talking of dads, it seems Tomic’s dad is at Eastbourne. He doesn’t get the official pass, so he just buys a ticket. So much for the law. Apparently, Wimbledon are not going to allow him in, period. Ho, ho. All he has to do is put on a moustache, a funny hat, and bob’s your uncle. For people like Tomic’s dad, what you need is an experienced bouncer who’ll take no nonsense and who knows all about funny hats.

Brando Says:

Great article on the sheer folly of seeding Rafa at 5 for Wimby. Personally, I do not mind the 5th seed of Rafa at all as a fan of his, but this article really does make a case as to why he should be a top 4 seed: http://tinyurl.com/n68sflr

Danny Morris Says:

” Old Sampras fans suddenly started to become Nadal fans. Now, I wonder why…..”

For the same reason why Federer fans support Djokovic. Sampras fans – not all, but a disgruntled lot, threw their lot behind nadal, way back in 2006 in the hope that he would derail Federer from overtaking sampras.

Now, Federer fans are on the Nole bandwagon to make sure Rafa does not overtake Roger in slam count and weeks at number 1. Nole has rewarded their faith with that 7-0 run in 2011-12 and another season or 2 like that means Nadal is surely out of contention from getting to 18.

Interesting times. We will see what the numbers are in 10 years.

Danny Morris Says:


Ferrer has earned his stripes and I am glad the seeding committee did not incur the conspiracy theorists’ claims that they are rigging things to suit murray. Let’s hope the draw doesn’t throw ferrer in murray’s half and Fedalovic in the top half. If the draw throws such a combination, the conspiracy theorists will have a field day.

Special ranking should only be for tragic circumstances like Monica Seles or a road/ski accident and the likes. Nadal/Murray/Delpotro injuries are directly related to their defensive playing skills [murray, nadal] and the absolutely inhuman ball-striking [delpotro]

Fair call by the wimbledon seeding committee in my book!

Brando Says:

@Danny Morris: Great post re bandwagon jumping, it is what it is. Re LBJ: to me the situation seems a case of: a billionaire wanting to amuse himself with his own little doll house like a little girl, hence he a buys a team, Miami Heat. But now he wants a Barbie doll, since you cannot have a doll house without a Barbie doll right? So enters: the Cleveland traitor.

Brando Says:

@Danny: I agree with you. Those are the rules they have and they stuck to them. Like I said: I’m more than fine with Rafa being seed 5. However, the case for him to be a top 4 seed is a good one, and seeing as Wimby like to have their own discretion regarding seeding, then maybe even a worthy one considering Rafa’s record there.

the DA Says:

“If the draw throws such a combination, the conspiracy theorists will have a field day”

You’ve got that right.

NachoF Says:

Djokovic didnt get flat. He got beaten fair and square. Let’s not try to minimize Federer’s last GREAT victory.

Ben Pronin Says:

I agree, NachoF. I thought they both played at a high level with a slight dip from Djokovic in the beginning of the 4th set. But that 3rd set was absolutely fantastic.

Danny Morris Says:

@Brando : I like that barbie doll take on LBJ. LOL

As for the seeding, well, the seeding committee got the formula because all the clay-courters were complaining about grass-courters having higher ranking.

I guess, maybe they can review the formula, but I don’t think it really makes a difference. The cream will rise to the top. I actually want a Fedal quarter or Rafole quarter. It’s too boring with top 4 making semis all the time. Need some change-ups.

It might even help Roger to play rafa in 1st week when rafa’s movement on grass is at it’s worst – because the grass is slick and the baseline is slippery. By the end of the tournament, the baseline is beyond gives you sure footing than compared to 1st week. The number of players who fall and slip on the grass during the 1st week is quite huge, i am thinking.

As I said, change is always welcome when things stagnate.

Danny Morris Says:

+1 to ben and nachoF

Federer played some mind-boggling tennis last year semis and finals of wimbledon. To do so at an age when sampras was being ushered out by George Bastl, is absolutely insane. He might still work some magic this year, but the fast surfaces like grass and indoors means, there are no guarantees and even karlovic or rosol can take out any of the top guns if they hit a zone for an hour. not so on clay or slow-hardcourts where rallies/matches last much longer for the nobodies to sustain their zone.

At wimbledon and the fast courts that follow – montreal, cincinnati, USO and indoors – it really is about the big points. Check federer-haas or federer-youzhny or murray-cilic matches from last week. things turn in a matter of few points.

grendel Says:

Absorbing match between Robson and Wozniacki. We hoped the trouncing Woz gave Laura in Paris would not be repeated on the grass – and, despite it being the slowest grass surface I have ever seen, our hopes were partly justified. Robson stalked out of the arena following her loss, and I am sure she felt she threw the match away.

I don’t think so. Wozniacki’s defence was formidable and Robson can’t quite deal with it yet. Some of the unforced errors were semi-forced, with Woz pulling Laura about the court, exposing her movement. And some of the long shots I think were a result of overexcitement. It’s just a matter of time, being able to deal with that.

All the exciting shots came from Robson. Wozniacki will say, yes, but I can live with a few flashy shots, my consistency will see me through. That is correct, but I think the significance of the great shots, which Laura can pull off from both wings, is for the future. In time, Laura will learn how to be consistent and get a better feel for when to go for broke. The point is, she has the ability to do this – Wozniacki, apart from the occasional bh cross court, does not. That is why Laura’s future is potentially much brighter than Woz’s.

She said in a recent interview that Graf is her great idol: “I just love her. I was in Las Vegas last year and saw her hitting, and she didn’t miss a ball for 45 minutes. I think she’s watched me play but I didn’t talk to her about my game because I was too nervous to say anything except gush. I was like, “I love you so much, you’re my inspiration”. She probably thought I was very weird”.

Graf isn’t a bad role model for someone like Laura to have. Tempering aggression with solidity, a hallmark of Graf’s game, it would be great if that could rub off on Robson. Her serve, such a potentially potent weapon, is definitely improving – but it still let her down in the end, with two doubles in the break which clinched the match for her opponent.

All in all, disappointing, and yet in a way encouraging too. The wins against Clijsters and Li Na and Venus Williams were overhyped and for all kinds of reasons not typical. Getting close to Wozniacki today represents progress imo.

jane Says:

I would act the same if I saw Graf, lol. That’s cute from Laura.

grendel Says:

Obviously my query about why some ex-Sampras fans flocked to the Nadal banner was sarcastic. It is true that some Fed fans are doing the same w.r.t Djokovic. Although the situation is more nuanced than that. A Federer fan, I believe, is more likely to enjoy Djokovic’s tennis than Nadal’s, although there will be exceptions.

Of course, this hopping about could, in theory, backfire. What if Djokovic got onto a real roll and won, say 10 grand slams in the next 5 years. Unlikely, but not inconceivable. Nadal to the rescue?

Ben Pronin Says:

Grendel, no, then it’d be Murray’s turn to weather the storm :D

Danny Morris Says:

see, Ben is a master at the game. You grendel sadly lack the bandwagon-jumping skills.

grendel Says:

Ben – Murray, or more likely, by this time, A.N.Other. But, just suppose Djokovic is running Fed’s record close, and he’s in a final with Nadal – who, say, has been washed out over the last few years, and is no threat. Stuck on 12 or 13. Then we have the delicious irony of Fed fans gritting their teeth and praying for a Nadal victory. If you think about it, this is how politics works. Mind you, politics stinks!

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m not a bandwagonner, I’m a front runner.

Danny Morris Says:

“Mind you, politics stinks!”

I am sorry, but you should stick to tennis. Politics is what drives human life. It stinks because humans stink.

Danny Morris Says:


“I’m not a bandwagonner, I’m a front runner.”

You really live in your own little world. don’t you ben? j/k

What I explained was the general psychology of fans. As grendel mentioned, Djokovic’s game is more like federer’s – shot-making than murray or rafa. Ofcourse dimitrov/gasquet’s games are the most similar to fed’s but they are not top 4, no?

Inextirpable Says:

Nadal as Wimbledon favorite? Sean must be smoking some… some… grass!

Giles Says:

^^^ Maybe you think Tommy Robredo will win Wimbledon? Lol

grendel Says:

“Politics is what drives human life”

No, it’s not. But it does reflect people.

Okiegal Says:

Between Novak and Rafa, Fed hops on Rafa’s bsnd wagon…..I think.

Ben Pronin Says:

I do prefer the shot makers. Dimitrov, Gulbis, Safin. I used to like Gasquet and Berdych before they made a career out of being utter disappointments.

Seth Says:

Nadal to win his third Wimby title? God, I sure hope not.

Seth Says:

I loved every single second of the fifth set of the Rosol beatdown last year. Here’s hoping the karmic chickens come home to roost again this year and Nadal suffers another early loss. God knows he’s somehow Houdini-ed his way out of some first week losses in the past at SW19.

TennisZod Says:

I love every time Nadal lose. But he not lose many this year. Sad for real tennis fans. C’mon Nole! Beat Nadal seven straight times again.

Humble Rafa Says:


Are you related to Skeezer?

skeezer Says:

^no Seth is not. Not like you being the same aka as RFF.


rafaeli Says:

With Ferrer seeded 4 and Roger 5, it means that they can’t meet until the final so Federer can’t even hope for a gimme against Ferrer in the Qtrs or SF.

The 5th seeding will work well for Rafa. If he does get to the Qtrs he’ll have run himself in well and truly and I don’t see any of the top 3 troubling him too much, let alone Ferrer.

rafaeli Says:

With Ferrer seeded 4 and Roger 3, it means that they can’t meet until the final so Federer can’t even hope for a gimme against Ferrer in the Qtrs or SF.

The 5th seeding will work well for Rafa. If he does get to the Qtrs he’ll have run himself in well and truly and I don’t see any of the top 3 troubling him too much, let alone Ferrer.

rafaeli Says:

Michael Says:
I wish the Sean jinx doesn’t hit Nadal.

Sean picked Nadal to win the FO.

gonzalowski Says:

Maybe being #5 is not too bad for Rafa, generally grass matches are not as long as they are on clay, and beating his #1-4 QF oponent would give him more confidence, without big fatigue.

It’s the advantage of playing grass, with short points… The real tennis, with more variety, tactics…is that played on HC, but above all on clay; that’s the tennis loved by real tennis fans.
The other is more like baseball, one beat and it’s all over… it’s more ‘north-american’ fireworks

Go Spurs!

Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Seth Rafa has had some close shaves granted,however he isnt the 1st and he wont be the last,Novak has,Andy has,Roger did once in the opening round against Falla at Wimbledon in 2010,thats what they are supposed to do try to win matches its their job,nothing to do with bad karma or anything,which is an imaginary concept you make your own luck in this world.

Micky Says:

I hope the 2013 Wimbledon draw be;

Possible Quater-Finals;

1)Djokovic vs Del Potro
2)Murray vs Tsonga
3)Federer vs Berdych
4)Ferrer vs Nadal

Possible Semi-Finals;

1) Djokovic vs Nadal
2) Murray vs Federer

Possible Match Made In Heaven Fial;

‘Federer vs Nadal’

I know its wishful thinking, but this would be an absolute EPIC DRAW!

metan Says:

@Alison, leave alone those haters. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to present the facts. They still can’t see it. It is like ask blind man to comment how beautiful rainbow is?

I assume there are plenty of fair posters that you can engage ie TV, Michael, …

Giles Says:

@Micky. Looks good to me. Lol

rafaeli Says:

Micky, that would indeed be a draw made in heaven. The key would be Nadal vs Ferrer in the Qtrs and any combination of the rest just to balance thing out.

metan Says:

@Micky.lol and @ Giles. Thanks! That’s good chance for practising on grass court before wimby imo.

rafaeli Says:

Thanks, Giles.

Paradox Says:

Ha ha,what a tenniszombie zod aka seth.Must be really eating sour grapes in their stinking den filled with frustrations.Anyway good entertainment.

nadalista Says:

Thanks @Giles. I love that Rafa will be busy with his preparations playing Nishi at Hurlingham while the blogosphere will be in a frenzy analysing the draw and its permutations…..

metan Says:

Thanks @Giles. Glad that Rafa recovered pretty well.

Nadalista Says:

Thanks @Giles. Nice to hear medical pros complimenting Rafa like this.


rafaeli Says:

Roger will potentially play Rafa in the Qtrs. Murray, Rafa and Roger in bottom half.

Micky Says:

Roger got landed the worst draw,

1) potentially play Rafa at quarters
2) potentially play Murray at semis
3) potentially play Djokovic at final
Tough luck!

metan Says:

It isn’t easy task to become a king nowadays no. Poor Roger.

humansecurity2009.com Says:

Yesterday, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad
and tested to see if it can survive a forty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.
My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views.
I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

Top story: Djokovic Saves MPs In Thrilling 5-Set Win Over Federer In Wimbledon Final