2012 Wimbledon Preview: Novak Djokovic
Roland Garros may be the title Novak Djokovic covets the most, but Wimbledon is the championship he values the most. If you accept the premise that Roger Federer is tennis’ top offensive player and Nadal its best defensive player on grass, then consider that Djokovic brings the best blend of offense and defense to turf. Since Djokovic plays closer to the baseline than Nadal and his two-handed backhand return makes him a more lethal returner than Federer, he can transition from defense to offense faster, and unlike his fellow former champions he doesn’t run around his backhand nearly as often, which minimizes open space for opponents. The world No. 1 has reached the Wimbledon semifinals in three of the past five years and if he can cope with the pressure of defending at SW19 as well as he did in Melbourne, he may well play on the final Sunday again.
Why He’ll Win:
He is the most complete player and finds ways to win, as he did in saving match points vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Paris and scoring five-set victories over Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal in Melbourne.
Why He Won’t:
No man has successfully defended Wimbledon since Roger Federer in 2007, and the consistency Djokovic displayed in Melbourne has eluded him in recent events.
If he can handle the stress that comes with trying to defend the most prestigious title in tennis, Djokovic has the game, guile and desire to win it again.