Despite the fact that Rafael Nadal just ended his 27-match Grand Slam winning streak in the championship of the French Open, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic is the 7-4 favorite at Bovada to repeat as the Wimbledon champion over Nadal.
The 2012 grass-court tournament and third Grand Slam event of the season begins in England on Monday. Last year in the final of Wimbledon, Djokovic beat then-defending champion Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 for not just his first Wimbledon title, but his first in any grass-court event. Djokovic would also supplant Nadal as the world’s top-ranked player the next day and has remained there since.
Djokovic dominated Nadal and the rest of the field a year ago, going on to win the U.S. Open last September and then the Australian Open to begin the 2012 Grand Slam season. He beat Nadal in the finals of those two tournaments as well.
But things have changed in 2012. Since that Australian Open victory over Nadal, Djokovic is 0-3 vs. the Spaniard this year. In the French final, Djokovic was looking to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles concurrently. In fairness, all three of the 2012 losses to Nadal have come on clay, and Nadal is considered the best clay-court player in history.
Nadal (2-1 to win Wimbledon) won his record seventh French Open title in Roland Garros last month to improve to 52-1 there all-time. He also now has 11 career Grand Slams. Two of those wins came at Wimbledon, in 2010 and 2008. Nadal has reached the final of the past five Slams.
Roger Federer (7-2) is considered one of the best grass-court players of all-time. He has six Wimbledon titles, including five straight from 2003-07. Pete Sampras holds the record with seven Wimbledon crowns. However, Federer, who holds the record with 16 total Grand Slam titles, hasn't even reached the Wimbledon final since his last title in 2009 after being was upset in the quarterfinals the last two years.
In fact, the world No. 3 has only reached one final of any Grand Slam tournament since winning the 2010 Australian Open. Federer was upset in the final of the grass-court warm-up Gerry Weber Open on June 18 by 87th-ranked Tommy Haas. Federer had won that tournament five times and hadn't lost to Haas in more than a decade.
The Swiss star also was dispatched in three sets in the semifinals of the French Open by Djokovic and is 0-2 against him this year. There would be a nationwide celebration in Great Britain if Scotland's Andy Murray (13-2) could bring home the Wimbledon title.
A Brit man hasn't won England's biggest championship since Fred Perry in 1936, and that was the last year a Brit male won any Grand Slam championship. Murray, ranked No. 4 in the world, is easily the best active player not to have won a Slam and has yet to reach a Wimbledon final. Murray has reached the semifinals each of the past three years, only to run into Nadal and lose the past two. Murray didn't start the grass-court season well, losing to Nicolas Mahut in his opening match at the AEGON Championships last week.
No American man has won Wimbledon since Sampras won his seventh and final title in 2000. Andy Roddick (66-1) reached the final in 2004-05 and 2009 but lost to Federer each time. Roddick is struggling big-time with his game this year. The former world No. 1 is down to No. 32 and, hampered by ankle and hamstring injuries, has won just seven of 17 singles matches this year as of this writing.
The top American hope appears to be John Isner at 33-1. But he has yet to advance past the second round in two previous Wimbledons and has never reached a semifinal of any Grand Slam event. Back in 2010, Isner made Wimbledon history by beating Mahut in the first round by the unfathomable score of 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68. The fifth set alone took 8 hours and 11 minutes and the match in total was just over 11 hours long. There were 980 points overall.