Wimbledon 2009 Preview – Men

 

Wimbledon is the most storied tennis tournament of them all.  Center court at the Old England Club has given us many famous moments in tennis history.  This year the chances of history being made in London have increased because the defending champion, Rafael Nadal, is missing from the field due to injury.  The draw of 120 is exciting, as every year seems to offer an underdog who makes a run deep into the tournament.
With that, here are the predictions:

Top 4 contenders:
Roger Federer: The Tiger Woods of tennis, Federer is currently tied for the most grand slam titles all-time.  He’s already taken down the second grand slam tournament of the year, the French Open, which had eluded him his entire career.  With archrival and good friend Nadal out of the tournament due to knee tendinitis, Federer is everyone’s pick to win it all.  He’s got ice water running through his veins and never lets the big moments overwhelm him.  He’s calm, cool and collected in all high-pressure situations.  He’s been there, done that, when it comes to pressure.  He’s got the perfect demeanor to win the tournament that has all eyes on him.  Fans, commentators, sponsors; everyone is rooting for Federer to make history and break his tie with Pete Sampras for the record of most grand slam titles.

Federer rarely disappoints.

Andy Murray: All aboard the Murray train!  Every commentator is picking Murray as the 2nd favorite to win this tournament.  He’s on a tear this year, winning 4 tournaments and appearing in a 5th final.
Ranked third in the world, he’s now the second seed in the tournament with Rafa out.  He’s got the weight of a country on his back, as the UK’s great hope for keeping the title at home.  But will Tim Henman’s ghost be enough to overwhelm the young Scot?  It wasn’t too long ago that Henman was serving the role of England’s best shot at winning, and he caved each and every time under the mounting pressure of a nation of hope.  Can Murray overcome and deliver?

Andy Roddick: USA’s best hope to break a 22 Major tournament winless streak, Roddick has the game to succeed at this year’s Wimbledon.  He has pure power and has been playing at a high level this year.  There are only two questions about him that raise doubt: Is he healthy? Can he keep his head on straight?  After retiring from his last tournament due to a rolled ankle, he’s got to be healthy or this pick is wasted.

As far as keeping his cool, think of Roddick as more Djokavic than Federer.  He thinks he can berate the umpire and line judges because he’s a top-1o player.  But too often, fighting with the judges takes over his game and he can’t focus enough on the match at hand.

Tommy Haas: The aging German still has the game needed to win.  At 31, he’s one of the older players in the draw, but he’s also got the game that can win.  He’s only the 34th ranked player in the world, but this is the men’s game: rankings don’t indicate just how good these guys are.  That said, he is not a trendy pick to advance very far in the draw.  With only the hot-headed Novak Djokavic in his quarter, the veteran has a good shot at seeing semifinal action here in London.
Sleeper:
Lleyton Hewitt:  He’s been here, done that.  He’s on a renaissance of sorts, returning from near-retirement to make the fourth round of 4 of his last 8 majors.  Sure, he was eliminated day one in Australia, and in the third in France, but he’s won this one before.  He knows how to play and win on grass.  He definitely has the talent, but Ferrer stands in his way in round three, with Roddick a potential matchup in round four.

My Prediction:
I’m not going out on a limb here with the pick of the Swiss tennis god, Roger Federer.  You cannot deny his obvious talent, determination, and experience.  A former 5-time Wimbledon winner, and runner-up last year, Federer will make history by bagging his 15th Grand Slam title.  While the Murray story will be nice, Federer is destined to steam roll through this tournament to make the Grand Slam record his own.

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