Players have a whole Sunday off of Wimbledon and in addition to resting, the top Gentlemen’s Singles players should take this time to think long and hard about Rafael Nadal.
While the other two top ranked Gentlemen’s contenders, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, have been cruising along and making their mark on the tournament, it’s Nadal’s frightening shot placement and returns percentages that should strike a lot of fear into a lot of hearts. While not impossible, contending with Nadal’s court vision will be a herculean task.
In his match against Mikhail Kukushkin, Nadal’s shot placement was nothing short of sadistic. Kukushkin was all over the court trying to contend with the surgical precision with which Nadal placed the ball across the court. In addition, there was nothing Kukushkin could put against Nadal that wasn’t crammed right back up his throat.
With 135 return points, Nadal was simply anticipating Kukushkin’s position before it happened. That happens with the elite players, but to see the deadly precision with which Nadal was able to execute is what should keep Murray and Djokovic awake Sunday night.
Roger Federer, who has refused to go away, faces a rematch with Tommy Robredo — an opponent he has faced 11 times in Grand Slam play.
With Robredo on the roll he’s on, Federer would be wise to don the blinders and focus on not getting eliminated. While he’s come away with the win 10-of-11 times, this is no cakewalk. Nadal is not going anywhere and Federer can worry about that later. A showdown between the two remains a distinct possibility, but that’s not what Federer needs to concentrate on.
Djokovic must face Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the next round, however, that should not be an issue — no matter the seeding. Djokovic has been dominant enough in early sets to dig Tsonga a hole that would be more than difficult to dig out of.
At this point in play, it’s not a matter of which one of the other top-seeded players will be dispatched by Nadal, it’s when.