|DISSECTING THE 2007 WIMBLEDON DRAW - MEN|
Recently, I debated a friend of mine on who is more dominant -- Rafael Nadal on clay, or Roger Federer on grass. An interesting question ... but in the end we both concluded that Rafa had the edge on clay. This is remarkable when you think about it ... Federer has been positively unbeatable on the blades, currently riding a 48 match win streak. He is an overwhelming favorite to win this year, and he may. But I think one thing's for sure - he won't be able to avenge his Roland Garros loss ... Because there's no way Rafa makes it to the finals this year. Let's go to the tape.
Roger Federer's game is huge on any surface, but it's uniquely suited to the grass. The variety on his backhand, the big serve, crisp volleys ... he's clearly the favorite to make it out of his quarter and win the tournament. Marat Safin could be a tricky third round match, and Dmitry Tursonov got some wins in a Wimbledon tune up tournament. But in the end, to steal a phrase from Richard Williams, this is Federer's party and no one else is invited.
Other Players to watch: Blake, Zack Fleishman, Robby Ginepri
Pick: Roger Federer
Andy Murray's wrist is the biggest question mark in this quarter. He had to drop out of the French and all tournaments leading up to Wimbledon. If it holds up, he may make it through. But if not ... you gotta go with Andy Roddick. For the last several years Roddick has been the most consistent grass court player outside of Switzerland. He has a nasty potential fourth round match with Ivan Ljubicic, who is in the finals of a grass court tournament, Ordina, as this goes to press. Nonetheless, Roddick rides his big serve into the semis.
Other players to watch: Arnaud Clement, Nicholas Mahut, Tim Henman
American watch: Roddick, Justin Gimelstob, Vince Spadea, Bobby Reynolds
Pick: Andy Roddick
An odd quarter ... could have a real surprise break through here. Novak Djokovic would be the favorite, but what favorite wants to stare up at Ivo Karlovic in the third round? That's Djokovic's fate if all goes to plan. 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt could do some damage, though a third round matchup with Federer Kryptonite Guillermo Canas is less than tasty. And then there's former Wimby finalist David Nalbandian lurking ... a very tough quarter indeed. But Ace is never wrong, even when I am. And that's what gives me the courage to go with the giant, Ivo Karlovic to shock the world and reach the semifinals of Wimbledon. Don't know Karlovic? You will in a couple weeks.
Other players to watch: Nikolay Davydenko, Max Mirnyi
American watch: Amer Delic
Pick: Ivo Karlovic
Rafael Nadal is a remarkable tennis talent. Despite his impressive run to the final round last year, I just can't see him repeating that this year. He'll have his hands full in the first round with the huge serving American, Mardy Fish. Sebastien Grosjean is a two time semifinalist at Wimbledon, and could be Nadal's third round opponent. Jonas Bjorkman is playing great tennis and reached last year's semis. And then there's the little known but far from little 7th seed, Tomas Berdych. He has an incredibly soft draw leading up to Nadal, and I see him making it safely through to the semis.
Players to watch: Wayne Arthurs, Jarkko Nieminen
American watch: Robert Kendrick, Sam Warburg, Michael Russell
Pick: Tomas Berdych
Roger Federer vs Andy Roddick
Tomas Berdych vs Ivo Karlovic
Roger Federer vs. Tomas Berdych
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