By Christopher Phililps
For Wimbledon, our resident bracketologist, Chris Phillips, takes a look at both the men’s and women’s draws and breaks down who he thinks are going to be the winners — and losers — in the London this year. -NM
Rafael Nadal, above, practicing yesterday at Wimbledon: Ripped and ready. (Getty Images)
Last year’s champion had a surprising QF loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga two weeks ago, but I think after a long clay court season and successful French Open, the extra days off will have served him better than the match play — even on grass. | More: The men’s draw
Nole is on his first losing streak of the year — one match. A two-time semifinalist here, including last year, his form this year should carry him through any problems he may have had in the past adjusting to the lawn. But a title? Not yet in London for Novak.
Roger’s six titles here speak for themselves. Even though he lost at Roland Garros to Nadal in the final, his quality of play there should keep him playing to the best of his ability. And everyone knows: Wimbledon is Roger’s favorite tournament of the year. | TSF Vault: Roger at Wimbledon
This year’s AEGON champion made quick work of the field in London with wins over Tsonga, Andy Roddick, Marin Cilic and Janko Tipsarevic. I’m sure the British press doesn’t know how much extra weight they can put on their own man again. The quieter they keep, the better the Brit will do. But are we kidding ourselves? Andy-mania has already hit the entire country! Here’s to two weeks of painful and pressure-building headlines in the morning papers. All the same, Murray will do what he usually does in London — make it to the semifinals.
Soderling’s best result here was the QFs last year. You’d think the big man would do better on the lawns with that serve of his. By skipping all the warmup tournaments, his first couple matches could be difficult. The Sod has Halle finalist Philipp Petzschner in the first round, then either Kei Neishikori (Eastbourne semifinalist) or Lleyton Hewitt (2002 Wimby champion) in the second.
Last year’s surprise finalist has a relatively easy draw until he runs into unseeded German and this year’s Halle champion Philipp Kohlschreiber or no. 10 seed Mardy Fish in the fourth round. Has anyone else suffered more of a muted last 12 months than Berdych? His first-round loss at the French only punctuated what has been a disappointing spell for the Czech.
The seventh-seeded Spaniard has never had his best results on the grass, only reaching the fourth here twice (including last year). He’ll most likely run into this year’s AEGON finalist Tsonga in that same stage this year.
The American’s best days are behind him and Murray’s rather swift dismantling of Roddick in the AEGON QFs still has to be hurting. Having skipped most of the clay court season, I think Roddick would’ve been better off to get some extra match play and confidence-building wins in this past week rather than take more time off.
The Frenchman has underperformed here in the past, only going as far as the third round in four appearances. Monfils’ first formidable opponent would be no. 23 seed Janko Tipsarevic, with the winner most likely facing Roddick in the fourth round. Tipsarevic is questionable after an injury over the weekend in Eastbourne, and if Monfils can get through his first few rounds unscathed, the athletic speedster could pick up steam and surprise a few in the second week.
Of the leading Americans, Fish has the toughest draw. He could face Kohlschreiber in second round, then Fernando Verdasco, Radek Stepanek or Robin Haase in the third round, the furthest he’s previously gone at Wimbledon. The streaky German will get the best of the American, we think, in the round of 64.
Read Chris’ “Best of the Rest” as well as the most anticipated first-round match-ups after the cut.
A second helping: Isner and Mahut are set to battle in the first round, again. (Getty)
This year, the contingent from Germany will enjoy its best Wimbledon since the days of Steffi Graf and Boris Becker. This year’s Halle champion shares the same section of the draw with Fish, his likely second round opponent. The winner of that match makes it to the QF. I’m putting my money on the German.
Juan Martin del Potro
Strangely, the Argentinean has never gone past the second round here. Standing in his way of bettering that this year are two qualifiers — Flavio Cipolla and Kenny De Schepper — as well as the always dangerous and diminutive Olivier Rochus. del Potro could meet Gilles Simon in the third round and Rafa in the fourth. | More: The men’s draw
The 2007 semifinalist hasn’t played here since a fourth-round loss in 2008. To equal that result he’ll need to get past the 14th seed Stanislas Wawrinka, which could be a tough one for the streaky “Baby Fed.”
If anyone’s capable of a surprising upset and deep run it’s the shaded Serb. Monfils and Roddick would have to be his victims if he’s to reach the QFs, and his injury in the Eastbourne final puts everything in question. But Janko has had a couple of runs here in the past, and the London crowd loves a bright personality in all white.
The coachless Frenchman looked impressive in his run to the AEGON finals in London a couple weeks ago and gave Murray a good run for his money in the finals. He shouldn’t be too concerned about his second round loss to Stepanek at Eastbourne. The extra few days rest will be good for him and there’s no reason why he can’t challenge Federer for a spot in the semifinals. | More JWT: The Frenchman goes bare (we mean bare!) for a good cause
The Crown is conspiring against the Americans again as Isner draws last year’s marathon competitor Nicolas Mahut in the first round. Despite winning that battle, Isner’s ranking has dropped since last year and Mahut’s has risen. That being said, don’t expect a repeat of last year. Should Isner win (and we think he will), his biggest challenge to a fourth round match with Federer should be the winner of Nicolas Almagro and Jarkko Nieminen’s first round meeting and Mikhail Youzhny lurking in the third round. Isner needs confidence from his serve, and a five-set first rounder against Nadal in Paris can only help as a pick-me-up for the American.
The no. 11 seed shouldn’t have too much trouble living up to his placement against s’Hertogenbosch champion and testy Russian Dmitry Tursunov or former Wimbledon semifinalist Xavier Malisse are in his section, both dangerous players, but not as consistent as the Austrian.
Destined to be another Djokovic victim, he’ll have to get past Michael Llodra in the third round, as well as Yen-Hsun Lu (who upset Roddick here last year) and this year’s surprise AEGON British semifinalist upstart James Ward to make it to the middle Monday.
Interesting R1 Matches (any or all of these could be upsets):
No. 21 Verdasco vs. Stepanek
No. 27 Cilic vs. Ivan Ljubicic
No. 23 Tipsarevic vs. Ivo Karlovic
No. 30 Tomas Bellucci vs. Rainier Schuettler
No. 22 Alex Dolgopolov vs. Fernando Gonzalez
No. 16 Almagro vs. Nieminen
Isner vs. Mahut
Nishikori vs. Hewitt
Ernests Gulbis vs. Tursunov
More: The men’s draw