The 2012 edition of the Wimbledon Championships starts today and with the seeds announced , men’s singles and women’s singlesdraws released, all eyes will be on the hallowed turf at the All England Club. Before they redecorate the grounds for the Olympics, it’s two weeks of tradition at the oldest, most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. For the players, this is an interesting year at Wimbledon, too. They’ll be playing at the venue twice in a matter of a few weeks. For some, that’s a tremendous advantage heading into the Olympics. Others won’t have to wait a year to redeem themselves after a disappointing showing at Wimbledon. Then there are those who have no chance to win, but will still have the thrill of competing at Wimbledon twice in the same year.
The Men’s Singles
This years tournament will interest a few people for the simple reason that this could decide if Roger Federer can accomplish that 7th title at Wimbledon and join Pete Sampras at the top of the table for most weeks as Number 1 in the world and equal his record 7 Wimbledon titles. On the other hand, if Federer loses, then it may well spur him into retirement. Djokovic once again finds himself in the same half of the draw as Federer. This has happened for the 16th time during the past 21 majors. Murray and Nadal are seeded to meet each other in the semi-final. There are a lot of mouth-watering first round clashes.
One of the unique things about Wimbledon is that grass court tennis is completely different from the clay court tennis they all just finished playing. That doesn’t matter for the either Nadal, Djokovic or Federer, but a lot of guys who were out early at the French Open (Andy Roddick comes to mind) will threaten to make deep runs here, while the guys who went far in Paris are vulnerable to an early exit here.
I don’t really need to say it yet again but I will anyway: Djokovic or Nadal will win. Federer has an outside chance (always a better chance of beating the top 2 seeds on grass). Murray is a long shot (his form is poor and his draw is tough) but I would never discount him because he is good enough on his day. Berdych, Del Potro, Isner and Tsonga will all have a chance to reach the semis and may even cause an upset (remember Tsonga beat Federer last year).
The Women’s Singles
It’s always tricky to predict what will happen in the Women’s half of the tournament. Seedings are of no importance here as we saw at the French open. Rank outsiders have equal chances of getting to the finals as any of the seeded players.
Defending champion Petra Kvitova has the daunting task of trying to defend her title with 4-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams waiting in the quarterfinals. Happily for Kvitova, the only seed who might (but really shouldn’t) give the Czech lefty any trouble reaching the quarters is the diminutive Slovak Dominika Cibulkova. Serena, however, has some potentially tricky seeds, such as Lucie Safarova and Zie Jheng who could derail her.
Sharapova’s game is on a different level now. And she’s always played well at Wimbledon. It doesn’t matter who she plays. I’d be surprised if she doesn’t reach the semifinals. Third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska was the unfortunate soul to see Venus Williams’ name pop up (although, Radwanska has beaten Venus at Wimbeldon before).
Can anyone pose a serious threat as a dark-horse? Well, I believe so. Marion Bartoli absolutely loves grass and she looked in great nick at Eastbourne till she pulled out of her semi with an injury. Hopefully it’s not too bad because it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that she could win the thing.
012? For the Men’s singles I will go with Novak Djokovic (but will be rooting for Federer) and in the women’s singles, Maria Sharapova.