2012 Wimbledon Preview: Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal has got to be feeling great going into Wimbledon, despite having fallen victim to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the quarterfinals of the grass-court tune-up at Halle. Those who remember that Nadal was unable to defend his hard-earned Wimbledon title in 2009 because of a flare-up of his recurring tendinitis (in the knees) can breathe easily; Nadal has been pain- and injury-free through the clay-court season. Djokovic stripped Nadal of his Wimbledon title last year, but Nadal seems to have overcome the doubts Djokovic planted in his head in 2011, and he has every reason to go into Wimbledon feeling confident that he can avenge another Grand Slam loss to his main rival—much like he did in Paris a few weeks ago.
Why He’ll Win:
The great Wimbledon champs were first and foremost great athletes. Nadal has no peer when it comes to navigating on the grass courts, especially when he can bring that big topspin forehand into play.
Why He Won’t:
Nadal has a history of struggling against players who can rock the serve and attack behind it. That’s especially if those players are able to find Nadal’s backhand and smother his passing shots with the volley.
The hotter and drier the conditions, the more they will favor Nadal; dry conditions yield greater ball speed and a higher bounce, valuable assets to a player like Nadal, who can do so much damage with his topspin.