With 28 of the last 29 Grand Slam titles divided between them, it would be foolhardy to pick anyone other than Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer to win the 2012 edition of Wimbledon. The Championships begin tomorrow at the All England Club. Andy Murray, the fourth member of the Top Four, has fallen a bit behind his fellow brethren of late. I’ve gotten caught up in Murray Mania before and picked the Scot to win his initial major and become the first Brit since Fred Perry in 1936 to hoist the crown at SW19. Yeah, it would prove a nice bookend to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, but I don’t see it happening this year. One of the triumphant trio is almost a slam dunk to prevail. As to why, it’s fairly simple. “Because they are too good,” said Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. “That’s it. They’re just too good.” World No. 1 Djokovic, who had his 27-match winning streak at Grand Slams stopped by Nadal in the final of the French Open two weeks ago, is the top seed and defending champion. A look at the draw shows Nole’s path to a repeat is fairly smooth, until projected matchups with No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych in the quarters and No. 3 seed Federer in the semis. Parked at the top of the draw, Djokovic opens First Quarter play against Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero. Berdych faces the mercurial, but unpredictable, Ernests Gulbis in his opener. Federer should have smooth sailing in the Second Quarter. He’s slotted to meet No. 8 seed Janko Tipsarevic in the quarterfinal. Tipsarevic’s path is a little more dicey. He meets former world No. 3 David Nalbandian, a finalist at Queen’s Club last week, in a challenging first-round matchup, and possibly John Isner in the fourth round. In the bottom half, No. 7 seed David Ferrer is scheduled to battle No. 4 seed Murray for Third Quarter bragging rights. Speed bumps for the Spaniard could be Andy Roddick in the third round and No. 9 seed Juan Martin del Potro — I’ve got a hunch about this guy — in the fourth. Murray’s road is also difficult. Nikolay Davydenko in the first round, maybe big-serving Ivo Karlovic in the second and then Kevin Anderson in the third. No. 16 seed Marin Cilic looms in the fourth round. Or perhaps No. 21 seed Milos Raonic. Clearly, this is the toughest quarter in the draw. Nadal, seeded No. 2, stands atop the Fourth Quarter. Rafa meets crafty Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil in the opening round and most likely Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third. Kohlschreiber defeated the Spaniard in the quarterfinals at Halle last week. Fellow countryman Feliciano Lopez could be waiting in the fourth round. Lopez defeated Rafa in their only meeting on grass two years ago at Queen’s Club. Projected to be Rafa’s opponent in the quarterfinal is the always dangerous Tsonga, seeded No. 5. So there’s the draw and now the semifinalists. The triumphant trio advance along with my sleeper, the Tower of Tandil. Djokovic versus Federer and Nadal against Del Potro.
Triumphant Trio Loom Large at Wimbledon
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