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Wimbledon 2011: Rafael Nadal Gets Easy Wimbledon Draw

Fresh off of his win at the 2011 French Open, Rafael Nadal should have an easy go of it in the first round after his draw was announced -- facing American Michael Russell in the the opening round of the 2011 Wimbledon Championships. Then again, nearly any opponent would be considered easy against the No. 1 ranked player in the world.

Nadal comes back to Wimbledon as the defending champ from 2010, but that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface on his dominance at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. He won the overall men's singles titles in both 2008 and 2010 and knee troubles forced him to back out in 2009, a decision he said was the most difficult of his career at the time. In both 2006 and 2007, Nadal lost in the men's finals to Roger Federer. In other words, Nadal seems a near-lock to already place in the finals. 

Russell should be an easy victory in the first round. He's currently ranked No. 91 in the world and at age 33, that's going to trend downward. He was ranked as high as No. 60 back in 2007, but he's 6-10 this year and a straight-sets victory should be expected here. In fact, there's no real challenge until perhaps meeting Czech star Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals, but even those odds would overwhelmingly favor Nadal. It seems Wimbledon has set up Nadal to cruise straight through to the finals by stacking most of the higher seeds in the lower half of the bracket. In the end, Nadal should be fresh and ready for whoever faces him.