A year without Wimbledon, is like an NFL season with no Super Bowl, wine without cheese or worst, sex without orgasm. It’s just not right. This may help you to understand how frustrated tennis players were last year when they found out that the British Grand Slam was cancelled.
There are those, such as Rafael Nadal who claim their love for Roland Garros for instance, but recognize of course the history and tradition of Wimbledon. Having said that, a vast majority of players place the London event at the top of the tennis pyramid, not hesitating to use words such as « the temple » or « the cathedral » of tennis to describe it.
So the bell’s of the mass have rung in SW19, where all players dressed in white will give their utter best in order to try and capture the trophy.
Fitness and motivation
In the women’s draw, just like in Roland-Garros, there is not one player that is clearly favorite over the other. Number 1 in the world Ashleigh Barty, is of course amongst those who can legitimately dream of the title. So can Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova and the eternal Serena Williams, whom, as long as she is on the starting line of a tournament can potentially be on the finishing one.
The key to the women’s draw will be fitness and motivation.
With regards to health, a player such as Barty will need to be very careful. Remember that she had to pull out of Roland-Garros with a hip injury, that was added on to a thigh and ankle issue. The world number 1 has not competed since that second round versus Magda Lynette of Poland. Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek will also need to be vigilant.
With regards to motivation, remains the ongoing saga of : number 24! Serena Williams is still running after that record. Problem is that time is also running, and out in this case. The seven time Wimbledon champ will not have many more opportunities. Another girl that will be motivated is Aryna Sabalenka. The Belarus is looking for her maiden title in a major. In Paris she was seeded 3 but with Naomi Osaka not in the mix this time, the heavy hitter from Minsk is the tournament second seed, and is, as she was in Paris, my favorite to lift the trophy.
On the men’s side, things are a lot clearer. With two Grand Slam titles under his belt in 2021, Novak Djokovic is on the fast lane to succeed in achieving what no one has done since Rod Laver in 1969 : the calendar Grand Slam. Djokovic is not only going for the Grand Slam, he wishes to make it golden by picking up that particular medal in the Tokyo Olympics. If he achieves this exploit, the Serb becomes automatically the GOAT. I’m sorry for members of Team Federer or Team Nadal (which I am part of), but with 21 Slams, and a calendar Golden Grand Slam who can argue his supremacy ? I spoke of motivation earlier, needless to say he will be as ever.
Will there be anyone to challenge him ?
Of course. The « nextgeners » will be here. Stefanos Tsitsipas will have revenge written all over his face, after his devastating loss in the Roland-Garros final versus the world number 1. Daniil Medvedev, picked up his first title on grass last week, becoming only the third Russian to be crowned on this surface (after Kafelnikov and Tursunov). The world number 2 seem’s a lot more comfortable on the grass than on the dirt. A close eye will be kept on Zverev of course, as well as Berrettini who also won on grass, by lifting the Queen’s trophy. However, my dark horse is Ugo Humbert, who produced an amazing week in Halle. If he manages to get by Nick Kyrgios in the first round (rematch of the Australian Open), as well as produce what he did in Germany 10 days ago, could, why not, make it to the business end of the tournament and reach the final.
Before signing out, I wanted to wish Jo-Wilfried Tsonga a great tournament. I hope he will get a great battle, on a great court with great support. And of course how could one not mention Roger Federer ? He came to Roland-Garros to prepare the grass season. His performance will be expected by many. Will he be able to get through the rounds? I must admit that seeing Adrian Mannarino beat him in the 1st round would make me smile. It is not at all an easy draw for the Swiss, however should he make it past the player who never want’s to know who he is facing (in this case it will be hard to not know), Federer could reach the quarters.
Have a great two weeks people and enjoy!
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