Over the last six days, the home of tennis has again provided some gripping play. Sure, with the exception of a certain Scot, our British hopefuls have failed to reach the promised land of the second week, but hey, they gave it their best shot, right…? Out of curiosity, did anyone just feel their spidey senses tingling with déjà vu?
Once more, though, the traditional day of rest is upon us. Which gives fans and pundits that chance to take a deep breath and run the rule over this year’s contenders and pretenders, as the tournament begins to bubble.
The obvious place to start would be with world number 1 and number 1 seed, Caroline Wozniacki. The Danish star may still be waiting for her first grand slam title, but whereas some may point to this as discrediting to the ranking system, I think it proves just how strong the ladies’ tour is at present. Consistency is key and with five WTA titles already to her name this year, to my mind she’s more than deserving of her ranking. She’ll be a threat at the championships.
It’s also impossible to overlook the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus. Despite their recent injury problems on tour, these two know how to win the big one, (nine titles between them!) Having each been taken to three sets in the early rounds though, they are by no means at their imperious best. And their future opponents will snatch at any vulnerability. Although Serena is defending champion, I actually see Venus going further, after her annihilation of Sanchez in the third round.
Then there’s number 5 seed, Maria Sharapova, who plays conqueror of our own Laura Robson, Shuai Peng, in the fourth round. The Russian’s looked back to her best all week and will see this as her best chance of winning the tournament since her 2004 triumph.
My dark horse has to be the Bulgarian, Pironkova, who beat number 2 seed, Zvonareva in her last match. She’s broken serve an incredible 11 times in her opening three matches, so her next could be a doozy – watch out Venus…
And the men? :
Let’s get the obvious one out the way, shall we? Nadal. Not much else to say really is there? Although I think the champ does face his first potential banana skin in his last 16 match against Del Potro.
In fairness, old Twinkle Toes, Roger Federer, isn’t too far behind him either. What strikes me most is the fact the man no longer need prove anything to the world, yet still he finds the drive to win more grand slams and reach yet more finals, year upon year. Incredibly, the last time the ‘Big Two’ met at Wimbledon was in the 2008 final, when the pair gifted millions of tennis fans with the greatest battle to have taken place on a tennis court, Nadal eventually emerging on top. How dearly I’d like history to repeat itself.
The ‘man who was invincible but after the semi-finals of the French is now nearly invincible’, Novak Djokovic, will also have a big say in who becomes this year’s champion. And let’s be honest, if the guy’s only lost one match all year, that’s not exactly a big call. The Serb has undoubtedly upped his game over the last couple of years and with two grand slams already to his name, at the tender age of 24, he’ll be around for several more. My only concern for him is the psychological problem that seems to plague him at SW19 – he’s only reached the semis once since his first appearance in 2007.
Tomas Berdych is my ‘one to watch’ in the men’s draw. The media’s all gone rather quiet around last year’s runner up, but if he continues to put in the performances that have dazzled audiences this week, that won’t be the case for much longer. He hasn’t dropped a set yet.
Right, so that’s that then. There’re my runners and riders. I’m not forgetting anyone am I? Nooope, don’t think so. What, what was that? Oh, him. Yeah, we won’t go there. I’m not one for jinxing anything. We won’t mention a certain Fred Perry in 1936…
In any case, let’s hope the remainder of the championships can serve us up a classic (I know, sorry).