Roger Federer begins his quest today for a modern-era record sixth consecutive Wimbledon title. Standing in his way are a formidable group of adversaries. Most notable are the obvious suspects – Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Nadal is on an incredible roll and playing with extreme confidence. The No. 2-ranked Spaniard absolutely destroyed Federer two weeks ago in the French Open final and the residue from that loss may still be playing with the Swiss Maestro’s mind. To add fuel to the fire, Nadal won his first grass-court title at Queen’s Club in London just a week after Paris. Victims along the way included Andy Roddick in the semis and Djokovic in the final. Impressive stuff for the Mallorcan. While Nadal was breezing through the draw at Queen’s, Federer was doing likewise at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany. The world No. 1 won his 10th career title and 59th consecutive match on grass. The previous four times Federer has won at Halle, he won Wimbledon three weeks later. “That’s exactly what I hope for this time,” said Federer. “That’s why I’m so satisfied. That’s why I will go to Wimbledon with a lot of hope.” Bjorn Borg, who also won five Wimbledon championships in a row, thinks this is Nadal’s year. “The way he played last year (at Wimbledon), it was an unbelievable final. He was very unfortunate not to win that particular match. He had chances,” Borg said. “And I’m sure after losing a match like that he wants to come back and try to win that championship.” Federer topped the Spaniard in the 2007 final 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2. Djokovic sees vulnerability in Federer’s game as well, especially after the lopsided French Open loss. “Some things are changing. I think he’s a little bit shaken with that loss and mentally he has been struggling in the last couple of months,” No. 3 Djokovic said. “It’s normal to have ups and downs after four years of absolute dominance on the men’s tour.” Nadal, as always ever modest and without braggadocio off the court, doesn’t see himself as top dog, yet. “No, no, no,” he said when asked if he thought he was the best player in the world. “I feel like No. 2, because I am. I am No. 2, and closer to the No. 3 than the No. 1.” His results of late would indicate otherwise, however. Others in the mix with an outside shot at the Wimbledon crown include Roddick, seeded sixth, No. 5 David Ferrer, fresh off a grass-court win at Den Bosch, No. 7 David Nalbandian, the always dangerous 2002 finalist, superb shot maker Richard Gasquet, the eighth seed, and No. 12 Andy Murray. Also in the draw and potential troublemakers are No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko, Ernests Gulbis, No. 30 Gael Monfils and No. 18 Ivo Karlovic, who extended Nadal to three tiebreakers in the quarterfinals at Queen’s. My crystal ball says Rafa.