The first thing that struck me about this year's Wimbledon men's single seedings was that the top four seeds were the last four year's winners of the tournament, which I think must be something of a rarity in modern times. The reason for this is that Wimbledon seems to breed multiple title winners.
There have been just 21 winners of the tournament in the 46 years of the open era - less than any of the other Grand Slam events; and an analysis of the winners shows a history of dominance by single players or sometiimes two outstanding talents in competition. Four players - Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg and Boris Becker - alone account for 22 titles; almost half the total.
The beginning of the open era coincided with the end of careers for two tennis greats, Rod Laver and John Newcombe. They shared the first four open titles equally between them setting the pattern for following years. The next few years might have tended towards disproving the theory with four different winners (though one of them, Jimmy Connors, did go on to win a second). But it was just the lull before the storm that was Bjorn Borg, winning the next five on the bounce - an almost unheard of feat.
This was followed by John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg winning seven of the next nine titles, another two year breather and then - Pete Sampras. Pistol Pete won seven of the next eight Wimbledon titles all by himself. Only Richard Krajicek in 1996 punctuated his reign as king of Wimbledon. Surely no-one could dominate the tournament to this extent again. But it only took two more years for Roger Federer to start gathering titles like picking daisies as he emulated Borg's feat of five consecutive wins plus a further two later on for good measure.
The last six years have been more competitive with this year's top four seeds all picking up titles. To be honest it would be a surprise if Roger Federer were to win again, but he has been written off before and you ignore him at your peril. Nadal has struggled here in recent seasons but probably wasn't 100% fit then and certainly not in the form he has shown recently.
Andy Murray is something of a conundrum. He didn't look too sparkling in the preceding rounds last year but then demolished Novak Djokovoc in the final. And this is grass - certainly Murray's favoured surface while Nadal is much more comfortable on clay and Djokovic does better on hard courts (though his game is dangerous on any surface).
Logically you would think a repeat of last year's final a distinct possibility - though the set score is unlikely to be repeated. But Nadal and Federer are such doughty fighters and Murray has had a rough time recently; so who knows?
If Federer doesn't win though it might herald the start of another era of one-player dominance of the tournament. If I was a betting man I think my money would be on Djokovic.
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