The Wimbledon draws have been announced for both the men's and women's sides, which began Monday. The men’s draw was expected to see have some good first round matches and possible showdowns later on ... and did they ever hit the nail on the head!
First off, in what is the best case scenario for all tennis fans, world number one-ranked Rafael Nadal of Spain and world number three-ranked Roger Federer of Switzerland have been placed on opposite sides of the draw. Number four seed Andy Murray joins Nadal in the top section, while the number two seed Novak Djokovic sits at the bottom section.
Looking at this draw, I see something that I never thought I’d ever see. That would be a first round matchup up between John Isner of the United States and Nicholas Mahut of France. This is a rematch of last year's epic first round match, which took 11 hours, 5 min., played over the course of three days. You had a better chance of winning the lottery than seeing the same matchup from last year. Below are my first round matches to watch, my second, third, fourth round possible showdowns, and my quarterfinal, semifinal, finals picks. Keep an eye out for Long Island Tennis Magazine's daily picks as the days go by.
First round matches to watch:
►John Isner (USA) vs. Nicholas Mahut (FRA): These two warriors, who have now become the best of friends after last year's marathon, will duke it out one more time in what will hopefully be a shorter match this time around. Pick: Isner in four sets.
►Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs. Radek Stepanek (CZE): Upset alert! In my article previewing the men’s side of Wimbledon, I mentioned how Fernando Verdasco might disappoint this year at Wimbledon. Matched up against the feisty Czech Radek Stepanek, who has played some good grass court tennis in the Wimbledon tune-ups, it will be a tough match. Pick: Stepanek in five sets.
►Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) vs. James Blake (USA): This match should provide lots of entertainment as fan favorite Marcos Baghdatis will take on American James Blake who luckily was given a late entry in the main draw at Wimbledon. Blake, who has gone downhill in recent years, will look to come up big in the heavy-hitting match. Pick: Baghdatis in four sets.
Possible second round showdowns:
►Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Pablo Andjuar (ESP): Who is Pablo Andujar you say? He’s the guy who gave Rafael Nadal one of his toughest matches at this past French Open. Though Nadal won in straight sets, he struggled more than normal to get by.
►Mardy Fish (USA) vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER): This possible second round clash is one to watch as the German Kohlschreiber is just coming off a title win at the Gerry Weber Open, a tune-up tournament for Wimbledon. Fish, however, is looking to carry the Americans alongside Andy Roddick, far into the tournament.
Possible third round showdowns:
►Roger Federer (SUI) vs. David Nalbandian (ARG): These two players know each other well, as they’ve player many times throughout their careers. It was Nalbandian who held the edge over Federer early in their careers before Federer emerged as one of the most dominating players in tennis.
►Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) vs. Richard Gasquet (FRA): In a matchup of, in my opinion, the two most gorgeous one-handed backhands on tour, there would surely be a bunch of finesse on display.
Possible fourth round showdowns:
►Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Juan Martin del Potro (ARG): This mouthwatering showdown is something we’d all love to see, given how these two players have battled in the past. Del Potro embarrassed Nadal in their last match at a Grand Slam, but Nadal surely would not let that happen again.
►Andy Roddick (USA) vs. Gael Monfils (FRA): In what would be a matchup of almost the same exact serve, the fans would be treated to some high-quality and intense tennis. Monfils has dominated Roddick in their last two matches, so if these two should meet again we’ll see if Roddick can turn the tables.
►Nadal vs. Berych • Pick: Nadal
►Murray vs. Monfils • Pick: Murray
►Federer vs. Ferrer • Pick: Federer
►Djokovic vs. Soderling •Pick: Djokovic
►Nadal vs. Murray • Pick: Murray
►Djokovic vs. Federer • Pick: Djokovic
►Murray vs. Djokovic • Pick: Djokovic