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DISSECTING THE 2008 WIMBLEDON DRAW - MEN


It's not often so much is at stake at a Grand Slam tournament ... but if you're into drama, then this is your year. Will Roger Federer win his sixth straight Wimbledon title? Can Rafael Nadal break through and win a slam on a surface other than his beloved clay? Is Novak Djokovic ready to win his second slam of the year? All huge questions ... and here are you answers, from the greatest prognosticator since Nostradamus, Me.

TOP QUARTER
Winner: Roger Federer

Roger FedererAt the top we have the greatest player in the world, Roger Federer. That's right, he's still the man despite the pasting he received in the French at the hands of his top rival, Rafael Nadal. Red clay, my friends, is not slick grass. And he will make it through this quarter despite some uncomfortable match-ups. His first round match against Dominik Hrbaty is no picnic, tho if it is, I'd love to come - I'll bring chips. Gael Monfil gave him a great match in the semis of the French Open, and he could be a worthy third round opponent. Never mind Lleyton Hewitt, Fernando Gonzalez and Tomas Berdych also lay in wait ... it's an ugly quarter. Despite that, I think Federer gets through easily, maybe losing one set along the way. Maybe. 

SECOND QUARTER 
Winner: Novak Djokovic


This is flashback 1979, when John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors were making the semifinals at every Slam. I think it's great for tennis ... and Djokovic has turned this two horse town into a three horse uh ... city. Novak's been talking more than a little smack of late, and he really does have the game to back it up. He has a tasty second round match up with the dangerous dark horse Marat Safin. After that it should be smooth sailing until he hits Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round. Note his quarterfinal match up with Marcos Baghdatis, Ivo Karlovic or David Nalbandian could be difficult. I think the towering Ivo Karlovic is finally going to show the world what 6'10 can do for you on grass ... and he will be a formidable quarterfinal obstacle. It will be a battle of who blinks first - and Novak, to quote Creed, has his eyes wide open. Until he gets punked in the semis. But more on that later.

THIRD QUARTER
Winner: Jarkko Nieminen

What? Who? Why? Yes, Nokia fans are going wild. To spell that one out, Nokia is based in Finland, and the Finnish Nieminen is about to have the tournament of his life. Believe me, it surprises me as much as anyone. He gets there through luck as much as pluck, and here's why.

The top seed in this quarter is Nikolay Davydenko. And while he has an extraordinary baseline game, his soft serve and questionable net game will earn him an early exit. Andy Roddick is also in this quarter ... and frankly could have a great run. But his second round match-up with Janko Tipsarevic worries me, as does his third round clash with Dmitry Tursonov - who has great Wimbledon results. James Blake and Andy are on a collision course in the fourth round ... But James path is much easier. At any rate, I'm taking the lefty Nieminen to make it through, after winning two five setters. Call me nuts? Call me crazy? Just call me, sheesh ... here's my email: amcclay@tennischannel.com.

FOURTH QUARTER
Winner: Rafael Nadal

That's right. The top three seeds and Jarkko Nieminen. Rafa is coming off a Stella Artois win, Rafael Nadalbecoming the first Spaniard in more than 30 years to win a grass court title. I have railed against his ability to win on grass in each of the last two years, and both times I've been humbled by the guy. He should make it through, but not without some drama.

His second round match is absolutely miserable. He plays the winner of 6'9 John Isner or the streaking Latvian Ernests Gulbis. These are two shot makers that you absolutely do NOT want to play on grass. And yet that is what waits for Rafa ... could be interesting. The fourth round will present either Radek Stepanek or Mikhail Youzhny, two very accomplished grass court players. Then of course lurks the great British hope, Andy Murray. Nadal will be playing the crowd and Murray in that one ... and I think he'll crush the spirits of both. Nadal gets through ... but loses 3 sets along the way.


SEMIFINALS: Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic

Federer beats him down. Fed is healthy, hungry and dominant on this surface. Forget Federer's serve and forehand ... his one handed backhand is so brutally effective on grass. I just don't think Novak will have an answer when that vicious slice is kissing his shoes. Federer in straight sets.

SEMIFINALS: Rafael Nadal vs. Jarkko Nieminen

The lefty battle turns into a complete crush ... Rafa waltzes into the finals so easily he practices for an hour after the match to stay sharp.


FINALS: Federer vs. Rafa

We get the final we want ... and Fed gets the match he wants. Less than a month after getting laminated in France, Fed returns the favor - playing perfect grass court tennis and winning in four close sets. Don't worry Rafa fans, Nadal gets the title next year. Then in 2010 Federer takes it back one last time. That's right, I just blew your mind and projected 3 years into the future. Deal with it.

You've read this far ... you have officially qualified for the Complete Tennis Geek Club, of which I'm the president. I applaud you for that. Please send me your comments or emails - if I get some good ones we'll post them after the tournament.

Comments

  1. Scrampson (6/23/2008 1:44:48 PM) 

    Jarkko? Would you place that bet in Vegas? Your supposed to be helping people with their bracket not leading them astray! I guess Wimbledon always has its upsets... but Jarkko to the semi's? I think this is Andy Murray's year to crack through to the semi's, he will beat Rafa but he will lose to rodxxx (who has made the finals twice, just like Rafa. Federer will make it 65 grass court matches in a row, by beating rodxxx in 5 sets.

  2. Carlos (6/22/2008 6:45:00 PM) 

    I respectfully disagree with you on the results of the tournament, I believe Nadal will win it in either 4 or 5 sets...The level of confidence that Rafa got after crushing Federer in Paris, will play in Federer's mind even 1 month later, therefore, mental strenght more than anything will give Rafa the xxxle...besides .... nobody should break the 5 consecutive Wimbledons, and/or 6 Roland Garros records which only Borg, (the best of all times for me) will hold...Would love to read your reply...Carlos

  3. janni (6/21/2008 4:56:20 PM) 

    Tones, I agree with you again on the men's final. I think Andy will beat Rafa, but lose to Fed in the final.

  4. Bob - O (6/21/2008 12:43:57 PM) 

    Rafa is so crazy this year, he is going to scratch his ears with his hinde leg, then eat Federer's second place trophy.

  5. bigbaby (6/21/2008 1:10:13 AM) 

    It's Rafa's year...he is playing the best tennis he has ever played. In any surface. He beats Roger in the final 5 sets!!!



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