Wimbledon Men - Ones to Watch

For the last few years there has been a lot more consistency in the men's game than the women's, with "The Big Four" combo of Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray dominating the grand slams - and the winner of this year's Wimbledon is likely to be one of them.
But as last year's championships showed, early upsets are possible and along with the usual suspects there will be a few more players whose progress will be worth keeping an eye on.

Roger Federer - It's easy to write off Federer's chances of winning another slam - he has tended to be outgunned by his rivals in recent years and suffered a shock second-round loss at Wimbledon last year. But he defeated Djokovic and then Berdych to win the title in Dubai earlier this year and has just won his seventh Halle title. Many were writing him off before he won Wimbledon again in 2012 and at 32 years old he is still an incredible athlete who might feel he has something to prove.

Rafael Nadal - Though he is world number one, Nadal's position as number one seed at Wimbledon has been usurped by Djokovic. And though the Spaniard has just won his record-breaking ninth French Open title, I can't see him winning at Wimbledon. He looked sluggish in a first-round loss last year and might come unstuck against a player whose game is more suited to grass.

Novak Djokovic - Probably a disappointing year by his standards, having lost in the quarter-finals to eventual champion Wawrinka at the Australian Open and failing to complete a "career slam" at the French Open). But Djokovic will be many people's favourite at Wimbledon. Despite being number two in the world, the Serbian will be the top seed and with his impressive athleticism, could certainly add to his 2011 title. 

Andy Murray -  All eyes will be on Murray to see if he can defend his Wimbledon title, though the pressure will surely be off now that he has actually won it and he might be able to enjoy the experience a little more. The 27-year-old did well to reach the semi-finals of the French Open but he was unable to defend his Queen's Club title, falling to Radek Stepanek in the second round. It will be interesting to see how Murray bounces back and what new coach - former Wimbledon champion and women's number one Amelie Mauresmo - will bring.

Grigor Dimitrov - The young Bulgarian has been touted as the future of the men's game and seems to be living up to that potential by winning the Queen's Club tournament last week. Often referred to as "Baby Federer," the 23-year-old has a similar all-court game to the Swiss legend and with a favourable draw (and perhaps some tips from girlfriend Maria Sharapova), Dimitrov could find himself in the later stages of Wimbledon this year.

Feliciano Lopez - Said to be one of the few Spaniards whose game is well-suited to the grass courts, Lopez has been in impressive form recently, having reached the final of the Queen's Club tournament (where he had a match point against Dimitrov). He also won the grass court tournament at Eastbourne last year. With a strong serve and deft volleying skills, Lopez could ruffle a few feathers at Wimbledon this year.
Let the games (and Pimms-drinking) begin!


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