It’s Time. Wimbledon.
The French Open held relatively true to form on the men’s side, but will Wimbledon cooperate?
To answer this, we must analyze the draw (and make some lucky but ‘educated’ guesses).
It’s easy to say who will likely emerge from this grouping, and his name rhymes with Movak Smoshevidge. But his opponent in the quarterfinal is not so simple to predict. Tomas Berdych usually plays well at Wimbledon (made the Final in 2010), but his path to the quarters is not edged with roses. Potential opponents include Fernando Verdasco, Marin Cilic, Sergiy Stakhovsky (who beat Federer last year), and the always dangerous Ernests Gulbis.
Despite potential early round foes such as Radek Stepanek, Gilles Simon, and Vasek Pospisil, I expect Novak Djokovic (or Movak Smoshevidge) to emerge victorious.
Boy will this one be interesting. First off, this quarter is stacked with Americans. Anyone who is falling out of love with tennis due to the extinction of talented USAers will want to watch the early matches of this draw. There are youth aplenty, but one man worth watching is Steve Johnson. The USC grad is in his third professional season, and is starting to receive much better seeds in tournaments due to his improved performance. His first round match is against the same opponent he faced in both Indian Wells and Miami. Roberto Bautista-Agut is a talented player, but Johnson can take him. Also, Steve is similar to John Isner in his ability to serve and his inability to break serve so expect a long match here.
The king of this draw is Andy Murray. After winning Wimbledon last year, he has eased his nerves (at least a bit). And there is a chance he will repeat. His quarter is less than daunting, which means he can ostensibly reach the semifinals. Or further. The unknown variable regarding Andy (besides his mental state), is the fact that he’s hired a new coach, Amelie Mauresmo. Yes, it’s pretty unusual to have a female coach. Unless you are Andy. Lest not us forget, his mother taught him how to play tennis.
Variables aside, I’m giving Murray an excellent shot at winning Wimbledon yet again. Disclaimer: if he loses in the first round don’t hate mail me.
This is BY FAR the most intriguing section, mainly because of its end pieces. Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer are on a quarterfinal collision course. Enough said. I’d rather see that matchup than any potential finals combo. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Other people exist in this section. They aren’t all Swiss.
Who are the others? Well we’ve got a youngster named Jerzy Janowicz, who made the semifinals last year. He’s a dangerous player who’s booms are as loud as his busts. The tricky part for his opponents is that he’s capable of either. So expect the unexpected. The sports distinction of wildcard was invented for this guy. If he repeats his performance from last time then look out. Or he could lose in the first round. It remains to be seen.
For Federer, Janowicz is the least of his worries. There are multiple men in his section who have defeated him of late. They include: Lleyton Hewitt, Tommy Robredo, John Isner, and did I mention Stan Wawrinka?
I wouldn’t hold your breath for a Swiss quarterfinal but it would be a fascinating matchup to see. Two players will clinical, one-handed, powerful backhands that have a tendency to skid on the Wimbledon grass. Can you tell I’m excited?
Time for the 4th quarter. The clock is running low, but this is still a section worthy of analysis. After all, it contains another tennis legend.
Rafael Nadal headlines this grouping, but there are many other pieces who could cause damage. Sorry Rafa, we’re not in Paris anymore.
Kei Nishikori, Gael Monfils, Ivo Karlovic, Phillip Kohlschreiber, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, and Milos Raonic are the biggest threats to Rafa’s back to back slam bid. With the exception of Nishikori (who does other things well), these guys hit the ball hard and flat. While Nadal’s forehands cause ample damage on clay, their spin is a bit more muted on grass. And recent history isn’t on Nadal’s side either. He has lost in the first round in each of the past two Wimbledons. Needless to say, there is a great deal of concern as to how well he will do this time around.
Not saying he will lose in the first round, but the second round onwards will be a test. Who might he play in that second round match? The man he lost to two years ago. Lukas Rosol. Sorry Nadal fans, I know you projectile vomit whenever that name is mentioned. Just don’t do it on your computer screen, for clean-ups sake.