Wimbledon men's seed report
Top-seeded Rafael Nadal has won the last two Wimbledons that he's entered
No one is dimissing Roger Federer's chances after his stirring French Open run
Looking for a dark horse? Try one of the Philipps: Kohlschreiber or Petzschner
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 and predictions.
1. Rafael Nadal: No sooner have we anointed him the all-time King of Roland Garros that we trot out this stat: he hasn't lost at Wimbledon since 2007 and is riding a 14-match win streak at the AELTC. There are various reasons he could lose, starting with fatigue. But it's hard to pick against the best competitor in sports today.
2. Novak Djokovic: The buzz has subsided considerably since the streak ended. Now he heads to a Slam where he's had only modest success -- without having played a tune-up. The guy has lost one (1) match since Thanksgiving weekend. There's no reason he can't win here. But suddenly, it's hard to pick against him beating Nadal.
3. Roger Federer: The skeptics have been shooed aside. After his performance in Paris it hardly strains reason to envision him winning another major. And you pick against a six-time champ at your peril. But at this stage, it's still hard to pick him to get past Nadal, especially in a major final. Can we all agree on this: as has been the case since, oh, 2007 or so, it would be astonishing if someone outside the top three won the title?
4. Andy Murray: It always adds a fun dimension to the event when Murray comes in playing well, as is the case right now. (Interested in what "Muzzah" listened to on his iPhone as he picked up his chicken sandwich? The tabloids are on it!) Still, we invoke the Mats Wilander rule: you can't be favored to win a Slam until you've won a Slam. Murray ought to reach the semis. Then Nadal awaits.
5. Robin Soderling: Holy plateau! Robin has settled into a sidekick role. A fine player, but, as the rankings perfectly indicate, he's a peg down from the top four. Tough first-rounder against Philipp Petzschner.
6. Tomas Berdych: A finalist last year, the Berd has since migrated south. Obviously he can play on the surface -- how quickly we forget, his run last year included wins over both Federer AND Djokovic. But if the mind isn't willing, what hope is there?
7. David Ferrer: The fittest player in tennis deserves high praise for elevating his game to this level. But grass hardly suits his ground-and-pound style. And watch those prams!
8. Andy Roddick: It was two years ago that Roddick came within a few points of winning the title. And we're more optimistic than former coach Jimmy Connors, who basically dismissed Roddick's chances. But you wish he had more robust health and momentum coming in. Plus, Murray, who dismissed Roddick at Queens Club, awaits in the quarters.
9. Gael Monfils: Warning: we will be beating the "tennis' Dwight Howard" comparison to death. An exceptional athlete. A fun personality. A second-tier competitor. Can beat anyone on any surface. But lacks the ... je ne sais qois, if you will, to string together seven matches.
10. Mardy Fish: Congrats to Fish for achieving a career-high ranking at this stage in his career. You wish his track record at majors were stronger. Don't like the looks of his likely second-round match against Kohlschreiber.
11. Jurgen Melzer: Look for a middle-weekend showing, no more, no less.
12. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Beating Nadal (even an exhausted Nadal) at Queen's Club ought to fire him with confidence. But it's been too long since this immensely talented player has brought the goods in a major.
13. Viktor Troicki: Knock, knock. Who's there? Interrupting ball kid. Troicki is ascending player still under the radar. But his grass skills are an unknown quantity.
14. Stan Wawrinka: A fine player, but he seems to have settled in as a 10-16 guy who reaches the fourth round and then dutifully falls to the first opponent ranked higher. (But this doesn't diminish our love for the backhand.)
15. Gilles Simon: Simple Simon is a fun player to watch, a minimalist who plays without any superfluous movement or motion. But, not unlike Wawrinka, he often lives up to his seeding then becomes fodder for the Big Dogs in week two.
16. Nicolas Almagro: Abs Almagro looks like he carved out of a marble, all that corded, defined muscle. But he's a minimal threat on grass.
17. Richard Gasquet: Mercurial Frenchman is playing well again. And his track record at Wimbledon portends a run to the semis.
20. Florian Mayer: Like so many Germans, his game is well-suited to grass.
21. Michael Llodra: Lefty + (quasi) serve-and-volleyer = potential trouble.
24. Juan Martin del Potro: Even on his weakest surface, he's dangerous.
31. Milos Raonic: Wish there more data points (and he's unfortunately in Nadal's neighborhood of the draw), but there are high hopes for the Canadian. Big serve augurs well.
Philipp Kohlschreiber: Winner of the Halle tune-up comes in on a nice roll.
Philipp Petzschner: German is dangerous in a given match.
John Isner: Provided he can keep his first match under three days.
Ivo Karlovic: Haven't heard much from the big guy in a while.
Isner v. Mahut II: Insert joke here.
Ivan Ljubcic v. Marin Cilic: Two Croatians, two former top-10 players, two guys who are not at their best on grass.
Ivo Karlovic v. Janko Tipsarevic: If nothing else, the match bound to generate the best tweets.
James Blake v. Marcos Baghdatis: 2006 wants its draw back.
Alex Dolgopolov v. Fernando Gonzalez: Classic new guard-old guard.
Petzschner def. Soderling
Daniel Nestor and Max Mirnyi: Nestor has been overshadowed by the Bryans' storyline, but he's gunning for an eighth major in doubles.
Nadal def. Murray
Federer def. Djokovic
Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim is co-author of the forthcoming book Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports are Played and Games Are Won now available for pre-order.
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