2009 Wimbledon – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Round 1
Every day throughout Wimbledon Nick’s Picks will bring you the latest analysis and predictions. We are also teaming up with The Independent Newspaper in London to cover the event. For the first week, we are coming to you live from Wimbledon so be sure to check our twitter page for information!
Tommy Haas (GER) vs. Alexander Peya (AUT)
This is Tommy’s 11th appearance at SW19 and in his previous 10 showings, he has never been past the fourth round. He comes into the tournament as one of the hottest players on tour, having reached the fourth round of the French Open and then winning the title in Halle on grass. I feel like he could do some damage here.
Peya qualified for the tournament and comes in ranked #203 in the world. Back in 2007, he was #92 in the world and in 2004 he did get to the third round of the US Open. This is his second appearance at Wimbledon, and he is looking to get past the opening round for the first time.
This is the first career match between Peya and Haas. Peya is a tough guy who will not go down quickly. He prefers the faster court, has a very good one-handed backhand, and doesn’t mind coming into the net. Since Haas came to the NBTA as a boy, his biggest problem has been the mental game. When he is confident, he is extremely difficult to beat. Right now, he has regained his confidence and also is healthy. Haas plays an all-around game, has one of the best one-handed backhands on the tour, and serves well. I feel he can make some noise at the tournament, but he must come in towards the net more often than usual to have a real chance at beating the top guys.
Nick’s Pick – Haas in 3 sets
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) vs. Lukas Lacko (SVK)
Karlovic has had a disappointing year, as he comes in with a 14-13 record in 2009. He spent time at the Academy in December and I thought he was primed for a big year, but it hasn’t played out that way. He reached the quarters at Queen’s Club before falling to Andy Roddick in two tiebreak sets.
Lacko is a 21-year old Slovak, who is ranked #206 in the world. He qualified for the tournament and has won five Futures tournaments already this year. He did play in Halle on the grass just a couple of weeks ago, qualifying and winning his first round match before losing to Andreas Beck.
This is the first career match between Karlovic and Lacko. Like I said above, Karlovic hasn’t had a year to remember, but that can all change with one tournament. He has a good draw and playing on grass (his best surface) should be a big plus for him. In other tournaments, players pick on his slice backhand, but at Wimbledon that can be a very dangerous shot, especially during the first week. He has got to get into the net and put his first volley away, otherwise he will find himself getting passed constantly. If he serves well and gets into a groove then watch out because he can beat anyone!
Nick’s Pick – Karlovic in 3 sets
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) vs. Arnaud Clement (FRA)
Del Potro was moved onto the top line of the draw after Nadal withdrew because of the knee injury. In theory this would give him a better draw, but Clement is a tough opponent and he could face another good player in the second round in Lleyton Hewitt. He lost in the second round here last year, but I would be very surprised to see him go out this early in 2009.
Clement is a veteran of many battles, but he never won the big prize. The 31-year old Frenchman made a surprise run to the quarterfinals here last year, but that is going to be a very difficult feat to repeat this year. He is also an excellent doubles player, having won the Wimbledon title in doubles back in 2007.
Del Potro is 2-0 against Clement, with one of those wins coming on grass last year. Clement is extremely competitive and can do a little bit of everything. He moves well and will try to keep Del Potro off balance throughout the match. Look for Del Potro to control the points with his big serve, spectacular groundstrokes and superb movement for a tall guy. This should be a very interesting match to watch, but Del Potro just has too much firepower.
Nick’s Pick – Del Potro in 4 sets
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Robbie Kendrick (USA)
It’s Murray Mania all over Great Britain as everyone is looking to their top player to bring home the title. In my opinion, the more media hype he gets the more difficult it becomes to win the title. Murray just needs to focus on the match at hand and he cannot worry about all the other stuff that is going on.
Kendrick had Nadal on the ropes at Wimbledon back in 2006, as he was up two sets to none but he couldn’t close it out and ended up losing in five sets. He didn’t play in last year’s Wimbledon and comes in this year ranked #76 in the world.
Murray is 3-0 against Kendrick and actually “double-bageled” him on grass in Newport back in 2006. Kendrick has a big serve and solid groundstrokes, but to me he needs to come forward more and attack. He stands on the baseline too much and this hurts him against the top players. There is no doubt that Murray will have some jitters before this match as the whole country will be watching him. The best way to control these nerves is to take charge from the outset and never look back. Sometimes Murray can play a little too defensive, but recently he seems to be attacking more. I like this style of play from him and if he continues to do that he will be in good shape throughout the tournament. My biggest worry for Murray is the return of serve. He is going to need to get this going to have a chance to win the title.
Nick’s Pick – Murray in 3 sets