Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Storylines at Wimbledon

The qualifying rounds are already happening at Wimbledon, but the official start of the third and most prestigious Grand Slam of the year is only a few days away. Let's look at some of the storylines to look out for this year...

- Can the relatively out-of-form top seeds and defending champions re-capture their mojos? Both Serena Williams and Roger Federer are seeded as number one, but neither of them have won a title since capturing the Australian Open back in January. Serena essentially didn't play for three months and when she did, most of her success came in doubles with her sister. Roger, in the meantime, had a forgettable spring hard court season and a somber looking clay season, reaching only one final at Madrid. He recently reached the final at Halle, but he unexpectedly lost to Lleyton Hewitt. Both Serena and Roger reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros both losing to the eventual losing finalist. With all of that said, how can one bet against 27 Grand Slam titles?

- Who are the next best bets? Well there's Venus Williams who did better than expected the past few weeks on clay, her worst surface. Last year's finalist and now up to #2 in the world and in her best surface, she will be nearly impossible to beat. The same could be said about former Wimbledon and now 5-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal. He was unable to defend his Wimbledon title last year and you know he's hungry to get a chance of the title again especially with some much needed momentum from his latest French Open win.

- Can the Andys meet expectations? Last year, Andy Murray came into Wimbledon with high aspirations of being Great Britain's first homegrown champion in what seems like forever. He was one match away from reaching the finals and having the Queen on Centre Court, but he was blindsided by a resurgent Andy Roddick who put up more than a fight against Federer losing 14-16 in the final set. Despite some encouraging results earlier this year with Murray reaching the Australian Open finals and Roddick winning Miami, both have floundered including shocking losses in the early rounds of the AEGON Championships in Queens, London.

- How will other former Grand Slam champions fare? Justine Henin more or less declared that the reason for her comeback is to try and win the one Grand Slam that has alluded her for the career Grand Slam. She even tweaked her game to be more effective on the grass. Her Belgian compatriot, Kim Clijsters, makes her Grand Slam comeback at Wimbledon after withdrawing from the French Open after some injuries. Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic, and former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova will also look to gain some form on the grass.

- Is that Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova? According to some, these two will reunite in Wimbledon to play legends' doubles. For Hingis, this might be the first step in re-joining the tour, if only to be a doubles specialist.

Can't wait! A look into the men's and women's draw to come later this weekend.

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