Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic
Sunday, July 3rd 2011, 15.00 CET
Wimbledon so far
The great Wimbledon 2011 tennis tournament is finally coming to an end this Sunday, with the clash between the two giants of world tennis: spaniard Rafael Nadal, rated 1st, and serbian Novak Djokovic rated 2nd. Both players have had a great run in their season this year, with Nadal winning the Roland Garros earlier this year, while Djokovic suffered his first defeat against Roger Federer in the Roland Garros semi-finals.
At this point, Djokovic managed to secure the second place in the world ATP rankings, also due to Federer’s (the former #2) unexpected exit from Wimbledon in the quarter finals at the hands of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Frenchman gave Djokovic quite a headache in the semi-finals, when the game had to be decided in the 4th set.
Nadal, on the other hand, saw Murray challenging him in the semi-finals, just like he did in Roland Garros. As then, Nadal won, but it was a hard-fought victory, with the Englishman clearly improving his performance since earlier this year. It was a disappointment for the English crowd at Wimbledon, but it definitely gave Nadal his well-deserved recognition.
The two contenders
Rafael Nadal, the world’s best tennis player at the moment, is clearly enjoying one of his best seasons yet. He’s has a flawless performance throughout the year, with 3 Grand Slam titles won this year: Roland Garros, the Open in Barcelona and the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo. He’s clearly having a great time on clay, but so far in Wimbledon he’s proven that grass is no match for his quick moves either.
For Nadal, this is his fifth consecutive Wimbledon final this year, and he hasn’t lost a match in the tennis world’s most famous tournament since his 2007 defeat in the finals. Winning this year would bring him his third Wimbledon title, and his 11th Grand Slam.
Novak Djokovic, regardless of this afternoon’s result, will become ATP’s number one tennisman, replacing Rafael Nadal. That’s because once the points from Wimbledon get added, Nadal will be slightly behind Djokovic even if the latter loses this afternoon. And it’s only fair that Djokovic outrank Nadal: they met 4 times this year already, each time in a Masters final, and Djokovic won each time! Twice on clay and in straight sets! So that should tell you something about his adaptability. Plus, Djokovic only lost once this year: against Federer in Roland Garros.
This year it’s going to be a special one: the first time a player other than Nadal or Federer receives the #1 award. This only confirms Djokovic’s outstanding form, with seven titles won in six months and with a blatantly confident attitude ahead of today’s game.
Ahead of today’s game, both players seem fit and share a lot of strengths. They both have great stamina and mental resilience, especially Djokovic who clearly improved these skills this year. Other than that, their serves are excellent and they both are very comfortable in their forward and sideward movements. Among these similarities, some differences (definitely key differences ahead of today’s game) are hidden: Djokovic’s drop shot and acute-angled touch volley will be powerful weapons should he decide to come closer to the net. Other than that, Djokovic has great precision in finding the corners, even with the fastest shots. This will surely make Nadal run endlessly to keep his ground.
Nadal has his strengths too. His left-hand game forever worked in his favour in the form of cross-field forehand missles. Here however, Djokovic’s powerful backhand might come in handy for the Serbian, so it will be interesting to see these balls play out. Just like Djokovic, or actually more than him, Nadal impresses with his precision of shots. Statistically he is superior, but take net points played for instance: 146 to 144 is way too small a difference to give an accurate decision on who is more precise.
Taking in all the points made in the article, this tennis game will be very tight and a tennis betting prediction is hard to make. All of you sports bettors should know that tennis is often more unpredictable than football betting, and sports tips in tennis should not be taken for granted. Saying that, I predict a victory for Djokovic in the 4th or 5th set. First of all because they play on grass, and second because Nadal suffers from a (slight) injury since Friday, and that will make him less agile towards the end of the game, when I feel Djokovic will take the lead and eventually win.
My prediction therefore is for Djokovic to win. He has 2.15 odds on Bwin, and it’s a good score for a 3 unit stake.
Prediction: Djokovic to win for 3 units