Posted: Friday June 18, 2010 2:45PM ; Updated: Sunday June 20, 2010 9:34AM
Jon Wertheim
Jon Wertheim>INSIDE TENNIS

Wimbledon men's seed report

Story Highlights

Slumping Roger Federer again faces a moment of truth at Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal is riding a Wimbledon hot streak but has a brutal draw

Andy Roddick's game is on the upswing and he's in the conversation

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Rafael Nadal is eyeing his second Wimbledon title and second major of the year.
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

SI.com's Jon Wertheim breaks down the men's and women's seeds at Wimbledon. Read on for the top first-round matchups, dark horses to watch and his predicted winners.

Top 16 seeds

1. Roger Federer: Every year, Wimbledon is reduced to his "moment of truth." This is no different. Yes, he is the defending champion and has won -- get this -- 48 of his last 49 matches at AELTC. On the flip side, he hasn't won a tournament since Australia, he fell to Lleyton Hewitt in the tune-up and he is no longer ranked No. 1. Federer sure can't complain about his draw, but that Spanish guy lurks in the final.

2. Rafael Nadal: Easy to forget that Nadal is riding a seven-match Wimbledon winning streak and, of course, that he won the previous Grand Slam without doing much sweating. Just a brutal draw here: flashy Kei Nishikori followed, perhaps, by James Blake and Ernests Gulbis. But we'll take Nadal as the favorite with fingers crossed that there will be another final against Federer.

3. Novak Djokovic: He's athletic, still relatively young and he hits hard. But after his purported 2008 "breakthrough" in Australia, he hasn't progressed as hoped and now seems enveloped by doubt about his fitness over long matches. And his ability to close. And his ability to beat Federer-Nadal when it matters. It's at the point where the burden has shifted and it's now on Djokovic to prove that he belongs in the conversation.

4. Andy Murray: Like Djokovic, there's some regression here. He's not nearly in the position he was a year ago -- when he was a plausible favorite -- and he's having a mid-career crisis that recalls Aldous Snow. But Murray's dismal results, coupled with all the attention on the World Cup, may be a disguised blessing as they could reduce Murraymania to a mere fever.

5. Andy Roddick: After coming a few points shy of winning the title last year (maybe you heard about the match), Roddick was gutted for several months. But his play this spring on the U.S. hardcourts was superb and, provided that his body holds up, he's on the short list of contenders again.

6. Robin Soderling: The Swede has made the move from dangerous floater to outright contender. Coming off his takedown of Federer and run to the final in Paris, surely he's pleased with the state of his game. While his Wimbledon results have been unremarkable -- especially for a Swede, who in theory ought to thrive on fast courts -- he's very much in the conversation.

7. Nikolay Davydenko: Nice to see Kolya back in action. Remember, before he went on injured reserve, he was playing as well as anyone not named Federer. On the other hand, in addition to some inevitable rust that will accompany his return, Davydenko's results at Wimbledon have never been stellar.

8. Fernando Verdasco: Steadily proving that he's not just an underwear model. Overall, it's been a solid year and he may well break through before it's over. But the breakthrough is unlikely to be on grass.

9. David Ferrer: Surprised he is seeded this high given the Wimbledon formula. After Nadal, the next best Spaniard on grass is probably Feliciano Lopez.

10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: The gifted and fun-to-watch player never quite seems to be at full health. Same old: He can do it all, but can he do it all seven straight times? And stay at full health? Probably not.

11. Marin Cilic: The palindromic one is due for a big event, considering how quiet he's been in 2010. Tough first-rounder against Florian Mayer, though.

12. Tomas Berdych: Berd-man is shaking his reputation for wasted talent with dynamic play in 2010. Always dangerous, but until he becomes more of a "foxhole guy" and finds the will to match his game, it's hard to get overly optimistic about his chances.

13. Mikhail Youzhny: Intriguing prospects. A deceptively hard hitter and server who ought to do better on grass than he has in the past. He'll be challenged immediately by Dudi Sela.

14. Juan Carlos Ferrero: A top 16 seed? Really? All credit to JCF -- one of the good guys -- for a fine late-career revival. But even in the best of times, he was never an elite player come Wimbledon.

15. Lleyton Hewitt: Like Ferrero, all credit to him for getting back to an elite level. Unlike Ferrero, Hewitt -- the last champion before the Federer-Nadal blitz -- has a chance to inflict some real damage. His defeat of Federer in Halle has surely goosed his confidence.

16. Jurgen Melzer: On the heels of a fine French Open, the Austrian lefty will try to keep it going on grass. Keep an eye on his first opponent: Dustin Brown of Jamaica.

SI.com's men's Wimbledon predictions

Seeds 17-32

17. Ivan Ljubicic: Despite the big serve and big game, Ljubicic has underachieved at Wimbledon.

18. Sam Querrey: Inasmuch as an 18th seed can be a dark horse, Querrey fits the bill. When the mind is willing (and the serve is clicking), he can play with anyone, as he showed last week in winning at Queen's Club.

23. Feliciano Lopez: Temperamental lefty has already defeated Nadal on grass in 2010.

24. John Isner: The hononary Karlovic. Tall hard server whom no one will relish facing.

29. Ernests Gulbis: Not much of a track record, but he merits watching on recent form.

31. Philipp Kohlschreiber: German is always dangerous on faster courts.

Dark horse nation

Leonardo Mayer and Florian Mayer (unrelated): Two hard servers.

Taylor Dent: Qualified with ease and his serve-and-volley game goes well with grass.

Mardy Fish: The slimmed-down Fish is quietly playing some of the best tennis of his career.

Michael Llodra: Hard-serving lefty veteran looms for Roddick in second round.

Xavier Malisse: Former semifinalist is playing well again.

Dudi Sela: On the plus side, he beat Roddick last week. On the minus side, he drew Youzhny in the first round.

First-round matches to watch

Andy Roddick vs. Rajeev Ram: Roddick takes on the pride of Indiana tennis.

Mardy Fish vs. Bernie Tomic: Classic veteran vs. young buck matchup.

Robin Soderling vs. Robby Ginepri: The "All-Robby" special.

Blue-plate upset special: Malisse over Ferrero.

Doubles winners

Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic: The best until proved otherwise.

Semifinals

Federer vs. Roddick

Nadal vs. Murray

Final

Federer vs. Nadal

Champion

Rafael Nadal

Jon Wertheim's book Strokes of Genius: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and the 2008 Wimbledon final, is now out in paperback. To order, click here.

 
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