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Top three's dominance likely to continue at Wimbledon

Posted: June 12, 2012 3:39 p.m.
Updated: June 13, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Regardless of the outcome of Monday’s rain delayed French Open final, the record books were destined to change.

Either World No. 1 Novak Djokovic would be the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles or his opponent Rafael Nadal would be crowned the true “King of Clay” as the winner of the most championships ever at Roland Garros.

Despite Djokovic’s supremacy over the last 18 months, it seemed fitting that Nadal would be the one hoisting the trophy at the end of the tournament, capping off a record breaking seventh French Open crown.

With his four-set victory over Djokovic, Nadal eclipsed Bjorn Borg for the most titles ever in Paris, while also tying Borg and Laver with 11 Grand Slam victories overall.

Among active players, he now ranks second in career Grand Slams, six more than third place Djokovic’s mark of five and approaching Roger Federer’s record of 16.

Interestingly, among the top eight active players, no one outside of the top three has ever won a Grand Slam.

Other than Juan Martin Del Potro, who took home the 2009 U.S. Open., no other player in the top 30 has won a Grand Slam in the last eight years.

For any player not named Djokovic, Federer, or Nadal, it’s going to be an uphill battle to be crowned champion at the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, set to begin June 25.

Those players have combined to win the last nine championships held at Wimbledon. If Djokovic wins, he would have won back-to-back Australian Opens as well as Wimbledon titles.

If Nadal wins, he’ll be tied with Aussie great Roy Emerson for third most Grand Slams all-time. The most historic win would come from Roger Federer, who would not only increase his total Grand Slam victory list to 17, but would also tie Pete Sampras for the most wins ever at Wimbledon.

The fans in England are always pining for Scotland native Andy Murray, currently ranked fourth, to bring home the Wimbledon trophy.

The 25-year-old is winless in three grand slam finals overall and has never reached beyond the semifinals at the All England Club.

Despite winning in Brisbane and nearly beating Djokovic in a five hour match in the Australian Open semifinals, Murray’s 2012 season hasn’t been overly impressive.

Frenchman Jo-Wilfred Tsonga may be a contender this year in London, especially after his showing in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros against Djokovic.

 Tsonga held four match points in the fourth set against the World’s No. 1, but fell 7-6, 6-1 in the last two seats to lose out on a spot in the semifinals.

He also has played well at Wimbledon in 2011, handing six-time champion Federer his first loss in a Grand Slam after leading two sets to love.

World No. 6 David Ferrer and World No. 7 Thomas Berdych may also be stumbling blocks for continued success by one of the top three ranked players.

 Ferrer lost only 25 games in route to a quarterfinal matchup against Murray at this year’s French Open. Despite being steamrolled by Nadal in the semifinals, Ferrer is poised to go beyond his typical fourth round finish this year.

Berdych has had the most success of any of the top ten players at Wimbledon outside the top three. He reached the finals in 2010 after beating Federer in four sets.

He lost in straight sets to Nadal in the final that year, but with consistent play, he can be back in the finals again this year.

Several top ranked players have knocked on the door of Grand Slam success, but only three names have been able to get through in recent years. Unless someone ups the ante at Wimbledon, the streak wont’ be changing any time soon.

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