Wimbledon Mens Preview: Federer-Nadal Again?
by Richard Vach | June 23rd, 2007, 10:47 pm

The Wimbledon Committee is known for being the only tournament in pro tennis with the cajones to go against the ATP Rankings when they devise their seedings. Many years their re-jiggering of the seedings brings the ire of media and fans — but where is the re-jiggering when it’s actually needed?

This year the Wimbledon Committee’s non-tampering at the top has produced one of the most unbalanced draws in Open Era history at the All England Club, paving the way for world No. 2 Rafael Nadal to reach a second consecutive final. Roger Federer’s quest for a fifth consecutive title, on the other hand, is all the more difficult. 

Federer and four-time Queen’s Club champion Andy Roddick are the hot favorites entering The Championships, but are both in the top half of the draw with a potential semifinal meeting looming. Also in the top half are contenders or potential spoilers Marat Safin, Tommy Haas, James Blake, Ivan Ljubicic, Richard Gasquet, and homecountry favorites Andy Murray and Tim Henman.

Contrast this with Nadal’s lower half of the draw, where former champ Lleyton Hewitt is the only standout threat, and you can possibly throw in the slumping former finalist David Nalbandian. Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych have some potential in the lower half, but these untested seeds are a coin flip on the same level with fellow unheralded yet unseeded bottom-halfers such as “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic and Aussie serving machine Chris “Penthouse” Guccione. “Bottom” half indeed.

Nadal opens against American Mardy Fish, whose net-rushing game has failed to earn him a win against the Spaniard in three meetings, one even on grass. Other openers of note in the bottom half are Guccione vs. Brit Alex “Boggy” Bogdanovic, Karlovic vs. Fabrice “The Magician” Santoro, and (11) Tommy Robredo up against it, facing American net-rusher Robert Kendrick (punter upset alert!). Hewitt and Djokovic could meet in the 4th round, while Nadal could avoid facing an opponent of note until Berdych in the quarterfinals.

In the top half Federer will have a chance to get a couple wins under his belt before he potentially runs into Safin in the 3rd round, Haas (if the dodgy shoulder holds up) in the 4th round, and Blake or Fernando Gonzalez in the quarters. Frenchmen Gasquet and Queen’s runner-up Nicolas Mahut are lined-up for a second-round meeting, and Murray and Henman could face off in an all-Brit third-round encounter.

Forty years ago was the first Wimbledon final of the Open Era, when Australia’s Rod Laver defeated countryman Tony Roche 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Federer is bidding to become only the second player in Open Era history to win five successive Wimbledon singles titles after Bjorn Borg. The Swiss skipped the Halle Wimbledon warm-up where he had won four consecutive titles, and will try and become the first man to win Wimbledon without playing a grasscourt warm-up event since Andre Agassi in 1992.

History however could be against Federer. Pete Sampras played grasscourt warm-ups before all seven of his Wimbledon wins, but failed to win in 1996, the only year he didn’t play a warm-up, losing in the quarterfinals to Richard Krajicek.

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24 Comments for Wimbledon Mens Preview: Federer-Nadal Again?

thereturnoftheking Says:

History isn’t against Roger. As a matter of fact, it’s with Federer. Borg never played a warm up, and I guess Roger wants to do it the Borg way in 2007 :)

grass is for cow shite Says:

Soooo bored of Federer winning wimbledon all the time. Zzzz.

So when does tennis-x plan to update their trunk/funk section? Does the idea of putting Andy Roddick in the top trunk for winning Queens scare the beejeesuz out of Richie Vacht? rotflmao.

Dan Martin Says:

I think Nadal’s draw is a bit tougher than the above analysis makes it out to be. First, Berdych is a guy who has had success vs. Rafa. Second, Youzhny in the round of 16 is not easy. He beat Rafa in NY and Dubai. Also, Fish in rd. 1 and perhaps Grosjean in rd. 3 are not push over wins. So, Rafa may have to win 4 potentially tough matches to reach the semifinals.

Christopher Says:

Dan Martin makes very good points. When I saw the draw those names jumped out at me as well. No one ever mentions Grosjean. He clearly is an older player but very crafty and experienced on grass. He along with Jonas Bjorkman can give any one trouble on any given day. Safin has never been good on grass. These days, Safin isn’t playing that well on any surface. Actually when I looked at the draw I thought Federer had the easier road to the final. Realistically I think Roddick is the only player to stand in Federers way. Although, Roddick has not proven he can beat Federer even on a good day. Hewitt played Nadal very tough on clay recently. I can only imagine what he will do to him on grass. Murray is coming off injury. Henman is way passed is prime. Gonzalez lost to Federer in straight sets at the Austraian open where Gonzalez was playing his best on that rubber surface. On grass Federer should mow him down. The only other wild card player who could cause an upset is last year’s semi-finalist Bagdatis. It will be fun to see how this all plays out. Good luck to all.

Name (required) Says:

keep an eye on tursunov.

forged safin, haas and gonzalez.

Christopher Says:

The one highly seeded player that really needs re-jiggering is Daveydanko. #6 , what a joke. This guy plays terrible on grass. He has won only one match in all the years he has played this tournament. First round exit after first round exit. He is a wonderful top 10 player every where else but Wimbledon. IMO, he should be seeded much lower if at all. Just a thought.

ChrisM Says:

Yup, I thought Nadal’s draw was tough when I saw it, and I thought Fed’s was easy, given that he has no trouble with any of those top-half names.

rjnick Says:

The Wimbledon draw is far more balanced than the French was — at least Nadal’s been in the Wimbledon final. I don’t recall Roddick ever being in the French final, but there he was, seeded third.

And for the past two years, Nadal is the far and away number 2 player in the world — you don’t get ranked like that by being a one-surface wonder. So it was unlikely they were ever going to seed him something other than 2.

Christopher Says:

rjnick, Yes Nadal both should and does deserve to be seeded at #2. He was a suprise finalist last year. He even took a set off a Federer. He has proven he can play on any surface. Nadal could be the next Bjorn Borg type of rare talent that can win both on slow red clay and lightning fast grass. No one since Bjorn Borg has been able to capture the French open and Wimbledon in the same year. Borg did it 1978,1979,and 1980. He almost did it again in 1981 before John Mcenroe stopped him in that great final at Wimbledon. Some people forget how great Borg was. IMO, Roddick was seeded to high at the French open. He will never win that tournament. His game is not suited to slow red clay. His only hope at Wimbledon is that Federer gets upset early and the Gods are smiling on him!

JC Says:

Hmmm…don’t see how you figure the top half is so tough. Roddick aside (and who has he beaten this year, anyway?) you list Safin, Haas, Blake, Ljubicic and Gasquet as big threats. Between them they have fewer 4th round appearances at Wimbledon than Mikhail Youzhny. Safin’s the only one to make it past the fourth round and that was six years ago. Murray hasn’t played in months and Henman hasn’t played well in months (years?).

On the bottom half we have both last year’s losing semifinalists, the only former champion in the draw coming off the best clay court season of his career, a former finalist. Throw in Tomas Berdych and Djokovic (who have at least made the 4th round here) and Ivo Karlovic playing the best tennis of his life and I’d say the bottom of the draw is much stronger than the top.

JCF Says:

Richard, Wimbledon still does tamper with the seedings based on grass court performannce this year and last year. It’s just that Nadal’s lead at #2 is so far ahead of #3 that no one can bump him off the #2 spot. As it was last year. It also helps Rafa’s case that he was the Wimbledon runner up last year, so that adds points to his modified seeding.

Michael Says:

Great points from both Dan Martin and Christopher. I agree with Christopher that if the odds on Daveydanko’s opposition are good then bet against Daveydanko – his ranking is far too high!

With regard to Raphael, at 6/1 it’s a great each way bet on 3/1 payout for the final! Look at the payout if Federer has a bad day and somebody can take him out!

Also, put some money on Karlovic in the early rounds (I agree JC) – he’s playing out of his skin compared to hid odds!

Good luck all

funches Says:

Wimbledon has a set formula for changing the seeds. It no longer can do what it wants. Davydenko is seeded sixth because no one else ranked below him had done enough on grass to earn enough points to pass him.

This system has been in place for at least three years but because tennis gets so little media coverage, no one seems to be aware of it.

Samprazzz Says:

Obviously the commentators on this site have not been watching tennis for the last 4 months: Djokovic a “coin flip” with Guccione????? Hasn’t anybody seen this Djokovic guy play recently? He’s a serious threat.

Richard Vach Says:

Have, you, my friend, seen The Gooch play on grass? And who is this “Djokovic” you speak of? I’ll have to check the media guide.

girl Says:

I want Nadal to win, he is sooooooo cooooooool!!!!
You can just feel his passion for the game. I think he is the next Bjorn Borg. Vamos Rafa!!!!

zola Says:

***This year the Wimbledon Committee’s non-tampering at the top has produced one of the most unbalanced draws in Open Era history at the All England Club, paving the way for world No. 2 Rafael Nadal to reach a second consecutive final. Roger Federer’s quest for a fifth consecutive title, on the other hand, is all the more difficult. ****

Richard, I know you are pro-Fed. But this is too much. So, you think Soderling, Youzhny, Berdych, Djokovic and Hewitt are no threat to Nadal ? So the road is paved for him by Wimbledon?
And who is the threat for Fed? Roddick? Safin ( we saw Safin today!)…

As a writer, you have to be beleivable. this was just ridiculusly biased.

Richard Vach Says:

Oh zola, unwad your undergarments, if you truly read the piece and weren’t blinded by your bias, you’d see it is pro-Rafa. In my opinion Federer was/is posed a threat by opponents such as the explosive former No. 1 Safin, the dangerous former No. 2 Haas and Roddick in the semis, while I don’t see such a threat by Slam faders such as Soderling and Berdych, and Youzhny who I would be surprised if he got that far (from what I hear he is dealing with). Hewitt had a hot couple weeks but he has a lot to prove still…How is it pro-Fed to say these players don’t pose that greta a threat to Nadal? I think Nadal, even as a grasscourt neophyte, is too good for such opponents, too strong on the high-bouncing lawns. So gaze up lovingly at your Rafa poster and go back to bed, all is well in the world.

Michael Says:

I am with you; I have good money riding on Nedal each way! I just can’t see any reasonable threat bar Hewitt or Djokovic in the semi? Thoughts anybody?

Vamos Rafa!

raj from india Says:

Richard vach has confirmed that he is indeed a paranoid.He is soo blind a devotee of federer, that he has gone crazy out of his devotion.

zola Says:


***Oh zola, unwad your undergarments***
***gaze up lovingly at your Rafa poster and go back to bed, all is well in the world. ***

Should I even answer to something like that? Do these words come from a “writer”, or a “tennis analyst”?

If you can write and get away with things like this, I guess you can also get away with such a lousy analysis of the Wimlbedon draw.

Richard Vach Says:

Raj from India, “paranoid” about what?

Samprazzz Says:

You might want to check your media guide, Vachy, “Djokovic” is in the semis. Where are Guccione and Karlovic whom you put him on par with?

Christopher Says:

What happened to Roddick today? He was up two sets to love and looked to be cruising. Roddick needs Brad Gilbert back. Connors was a great player but maybe he’s not such a great Xs and Os coach. Something is wrong in Roddick country. I smell another coaching change.

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