Nadal Not Playing Wimbledon

22:19 Fri 19 Jun 2009
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Three days before the tournament begins, defending champion Rafael Nadal withdraws. This isn’t too much of a surprise given that he skipped Queen’s, but it’s definitely bad news.

Like many tennis fans, I was hoping for another Federer/Nadal final, as last year’s was amazing.

I already considered Federer to be the favorite, and this doesn’t change that. According to how the seeding goes now, he’s set up to play Andy Murray in the final, which would be another matchup where Federer has poor head-to-head results. However, Federer is just different at Grand Slams, and while Nadal has beaten him at Slams rather a lot, Murray never has, and in fact went down in straight sets at the US Open. Incidentally, going into the US Open last year Murray had beaten Federer the last two times they’d played; going into this year’s Wimbledon he has a streak of four straight matches over Federer.

However, Federer is in my view a lot more likely to get to the final than Murray, just because he’s far more consistent, has a much better record on grass, and seems like he’ll be riding a lot of confidence after the French Open win. Murray has to deal with all the British hype, too.

I think that Roddick could do well, especially since he’s on the opposite side of the draw from Federer, assuming his ankle injury isn’t hampering him. I’m quite curious about how Robin Soderling, Fernando Verdasco, Fernando Gonzalez, and Juan Martin Del Potro do at it; Verdasco because I wonder if he can recover his early-season form on a faster surface, and the others because I wonder if they can build on their strong French Open results.

On the women’s side, I have a hard time seeing someone other than one of the Williams sisters winning it. Sharapova seems like she’s still struggling with her comeback a little too much, Kuznetsova hasn’t been great on grass in her career, and Safina has also been poor on grass and seems shaky. Dementieva could do well, but beating Serena or Venus seems unlikely. Ivanovic and Jankovic seem to be in free-fall, and it seems like outside of the Williams sisters it’s really unpredictable.

I don’t like grass court tennis as much as clay court tennis, but I’ll still be watching as much of this one as I can… of course, that’s true of all the Grand Slams at this point.

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