Sunday, June 24, 2012
Nadal, Djokovic renew grand rivalry
By Kenton Wong, ESPN Stats & Information
Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have built up quite the rivalry in the last year. They have met up in the final of the last four Grand Slams with each match going at least four sets.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Feder are the favorites to win Wimbledon this year.
The last player to reach a Grand Slam final other than Djokovic and Nadal was Roger Federer at the 2011 French Open. Federer is also the last one other than the duo to win a Grand Slam, doing so at the 2010 Australian Open. Since then, Djokovic and Nadal have combined to win the last nine majors.
After going 0-6 against Djokovic in 2011, Nadal has turned the tables this year. Since losing at the Australian Open, Nadal has beaten the Serbian star three times – although each of those wins came on clay.
Whenever Nadal wins his next Grand Slam, he will tie Roy Emerson for third-most major titles in men’s tennis history with 12.
Federer meanwhile has been able to remain in contention, remarkably reaching the quarterfinals in an Open Era-record 32 straight Grand Slams. To put it in perspective, the last time Federer failed to reach the quarters at a slam (2004 French Open), Novak Djokovic was over half a year away from making his Grand Slam debut.
Of Federer’s 16 slams, six have come at Wimbledon. So although he arrives at the All England club as an underdog, Federer certainly has history on his side.
A win here for the Swiss great would tie Pete Sampras for the most Wimbledon titles in the Open Era. Federer would also jump both Djokovic and Nadal in the rankings and rise to No. 1 for the first time in over two years.
LADIES TOP RANKING NO SURE THING
The No. 1 ranking is also up for grabs on the women’s side. Maria Sharapova got back to the top spot for the first time since 2008 after her dominating win at the French Open. Her stay at the top could be short lived as she can only keep the top ranking with a win at Wimbledon.
Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska can each grab the top spot in the rankings by winning Wimbledon. Radwanska would also need Sharapova and Azarenka to get ousted before the final.
Serena and Venus Williams have each battled injury and illness in the last couple of years. Neither sister lasted long at Roland Garros. Venus lost in the second round and Serena was ousted in the first round – the first time that has ever happened to her at a Grand Slam.
But when it comes to Wimbledon, you can’t count out the Williams sisters. They have combined to win nine out of the last 12 Wimbledon titles.