Federer vs Nadal
It's the match up we all want to see heading into Wimbledon 2017 as the two great champions have returned to their dominant best this year.
After taking out the Australian Open there was no slowing down for Federer as he took out the title in both Indian Wells and Miami dropping just the 2 sets across both tournaments. He took the clay season off and missed Roland Garros to prepare himself for the grass court season and it appears to have paid off as he cruised through Halle winning the title without dropping a set and sending an ominous warning to the rest of the players with a dominant win in the final against young gun Alexander Zverev.
The season of Rafael Nadal has been just as impressive. After finishing runner up to Federer in an epic 5 set Australian Open Rafa went on to once again finish runner up to Federer in the final of Miami. Since then he has dominated the clay court season, winning the title in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid before topping it all off with his most impressive French Open win yet. He didn't drop a single set along the way and his opponents averaged just 1.75 points per set against him during the tournament. His inability to beat Federer this year though (record of 0-3) could end up being the difference should the Wimbledon promoters dream match up occur.
While these past champions have seen a resurgence in 2017, the same can't be said about the other two members of the ‘Big 4’ with both Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic suffering major form slumps in their careers.
After putting together one of the most successful periods of all time in 2015/16 where he took out 4 straight Grand Slams, Novak Djokovic looks a shadow of his former self in 2017. Amazingly he is yet to win a single title this season and his Grand Slam form has left a lot to be desired with a 2nd Round and Quarter Final exit on each occasion. There have been rumours that he has had problems with his personal life and struggled for motivation since his dominance in past seasons. His results this year would indicate his dedication might not be there at the moment, so is not worth backing until he starts to show some of his former form.
Unfortunately world #1 Andy Murray’s straight sets exit in Round 1 of London Queens Club doesn't come as a huge surprise. The Scot has been knocked out in his first or second match in 5 of his last 7 tournaments. With only the 1 title in 2017 his year has only been slightly better than Djokovic’s but it is still impossible to back him with any confidence especially as bookies have him marked as the second favourite in the market.
If you are looking for a roughie to back then Nick Kyrgios and Marin Cilic look the best of the rest. Both have a game which suits the grass courts and have the game to match it with the best on their day. Cilic has been in great form the last month with deep runs at both the French Open and London Queens Club. He should have plenty of confidence heading into Wimbledon as well after his epic Quarter Final loss to Roger Federer here last year.
Kyrgios hasn't had the same success in recent months with a 2nd Round exit at Roland Garros before pulling out in Round 1 of Queens Club with an injury scare. His game isn't suited to the clay though and we saw his best form earlier in the year on the faster hard courts with back to back victories over Djokovic and coming within a point of beating Federer in the Semi Final of Miami in what was one of the matches of the year.
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