When it comes to tennis, three players have been battling at the top for over a decade.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic have planted themselves as fierce competitors making for a very entertaining rivalry in the tennis world.
Regardless of their current ranking, when playing at their best, they are each others most challenging enemy. They have now set their sights on Wimbledon.
Wimbledon’s importance for top 3
Currently sitting happily in the world No. 1 spot, Rafael Nadal is entering Wimbledon fresh off of a championship title, winning his ninth Roland Garros.
There is no arguing that no one is better than Nadal when it comes to playing on clay.
But how will he do on grass?
The left-hander will be feeling confident from his recent win with a healthy body but his previous performances on grass call for some doubt.
Nadal won the tournament back in 2008 and 2010 in addition to losing in the finals in 2006, 2007, and 2011.
But 2012 and 2013 were shocking years for Nadal on grass, losing second round to Lukas Rosol in 2012 and first round to Belgian Steve Darcis in the first round.
It has been noted that his consistent nature is tested when he plays on grass.
His performance on grass for the past two years has been so below his standards that he will seeded No. 2 in the 2014 Wimbledon following Novak Djokovic at No. 1.
Unlike the other three grand slams, Wimbledon has a different way of ranking their players that is not based off of ATP rankings but rather based off of performance in addition to ranking.
In the recent grass tournament leading up to Wimbledon, Gerry Webber, Nadal got taken out in the second round in straight sets by No. 85 player in the world Dustin Brown.
For Nadal’s sake, hopefully it was grass jitters that can hopefully be shaken off before the start of the upcoming grand slam.
On the other hand, world No. 2 player and No. 1 seed at Wimbledon this year, Djokovic, has managed to stay rather consistent when it comes to grass or any surface for that matter.
He won the title back in 2011 and lost in the finals in 2013 but to many people’s surprise, the Serbian has not played a grass court warm-up tournament since 2010.
Surface doesn’t seem to be an issue for the 27-year-old but his mentality has caused some struggle.
Djokovic has lost five of his last six grand slam finals including his recent loss to Nadal at the French Open final.
Not sinking under pressure will be his biggest challenge this year.
Apart from Federer, Djokovic is the only player to have ten match wins against Nadal.
He is also the only person to defeat Nadal seven straight times and two consecutive times on clay.
If Djokovic stays mentally strong, there is no reason why the 2014 Wimbledon trophy won’t be in his hands.
Roger Federer; possibly the greatest tennis player of all time?
The 32-year-old has had an impressive career thus far.
There has been much talk about it being over for him but just when everyone starts to lose faith, Federer jumps in and wins his seventh Gerry Weber Open Title in Halle beating Colombian Alejandro Falla.
The father of four has will be looking at winning his eight Wimbledon title this year.
The rivalry between Federer and Nadal will be one of the greatest to ever go down in history.
Even though Nadal leads in the rivalry on clay, Federer is still in the lead when it comes to grass, statistically his best surface.
Last year’s second round Wimbledon loss for Federer against the world’s No. 116 player left everyone in a state of shock.
Like Djokovic, Federer needs to come into the tournament feeling mentally strong with nothing holding him back from playing his best tennis, including his confidence.
With his latest win in Halle, Federer benefits from a shot of confidence a week before the grand slam.
Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and English top 10 player Andy Murray, who will be seeded No. 3, combined have won 35 of the last 37 majors and are still the top 4 players to enter Wimbledon.
This can only mean great tennis.
Wimbledon begins on June 23, who will take the championship?