I already started a discussion on my last post about Wimbledon and it continued in the comment section. But since this is the most important tournament in the world and the draw won’t be out for a few days yet(comes out on Friday) I thought I’d make a post exclusively in preview of Wimbledon where we can continue the discussion. It certainly promises to be another two mesmerizing weeks and I am looking forward to watching the action and blog about it again.
So what are the main ‘themes’ of the upcoming Wimbledon?
- Possibly Federer’s Last Chance to Win a Slam
I think realistically speaking it is coming close to the end for Federer as far as winning slams go. He won his last slam just about three years ago at the All England Club. Since then he slumped in 2013 and made a very respectable return to form after making changes to his coaching staff, equipment, and playing style. It was a legitimate revival because he made a Wimbledon final, a World Tour finals final, won the Davis Cup, won two Masters and several other tournaments, and returned to #2 in the rankings.
I therefore, dubbed him Fed 4.0. The one thing that Fed 4.0 lacked though was a slam title and, of course, that meant no return to #1 either. The Wimbledon 2014 final was the pivotal match of the season. Had Federer won that match he would have his elusive 18th slam title and he would have returned to #1. But as fate would have it Federer lost 6-4 in the fifth set to Djokovic in an epic match which saw Federer come back from the dead in the fourth set to force a decider.
I now have the feeling that loss could well have been Federer’s last shot at a slam title. I think is would be harder to win Wimbledon now anyway. If you look at his results they seem to have improved from last year, but the tournaments he won were ATP 500 and ATP 250. He lost before the semis of the in Melbourne for the first time in eleven years and he didn’t do that well in the Masters either. In the Indian Wells final he did better against Djokovic in the final of 2014 too.
At least he had a better clay court season and improved his French Open result. But with the seasons Djokovic and Murray are having his task becomes harder this year too. Both of them are having outstanding seasons and they look primed to take over the mantle once and for all from Fedal. Nadal has already been slain at the French and could well be done winning slams. If Federer gets defeated at Wimbledon this year I find it very hard to believe he can rise from the ashes again to win a slam.
- Djokovic Looking to Avenge his French Open Loss
As I already made abundantly clear, the odds were once again heavily stacked against Djokovic at the French Open this year and knowing him, he won’t let that bother him for very long. It’s once thing if he chokes like he did in 2013, but there is nothing to regret if you destroyed the beast in straight sets, defeated another rising clay star in the semis, and lost to the Stanimal in the final after playing three days in a row. To make a long story short, he has one thing on his mind only.
And that is to quickly put that disappointment behind him with a third Wimbledon title and to resume his dominance of the tennis world. And who would bet against him doing it? Some gamblers would, but since when did gamblers have any rationality? You would think Murray is the favorite for Wimbledon now after the year he’s had. I did anyway. Until I remembered that the Djoker has a trump card. Two in fact. And that is his improved serve and volleys which will be best utilized on grass.
Those are two things Becker would have had an impact on I’m sure and who better than the three-time Wimbledon legend to help him prepare for a third Wimbledon title? Djokovic’s serve has become a serious weapon recently. There is just an extra edge to it. He hits more aces and gets more free points off it. That will be huge at Wimbledon and so will his improved net game. And then of course he has the best returns and backhand in the business. Even his forehand may have improved.
He seems to be more aggressive on it, which I personally feel is crucial for him. At Wimbledon especially aggression pays off which is why he must rely more on his offense. But of course returning, passing shots, defense, and movement is all very important on grass. And he is great in all these areas. Even his movement looks improved on grass. He is probably still the favorite in all honesty. He is still the best player in the world. He knows he can beat Federer on grass and he is 6-2 against Murray in slams.
- Murray Primed for Another Slam Title
Given Murray’s consistency this year and his relentless pushing forward despite disappointments he must be another huge favorite for the title. He and Djokovic are about equal favorites, although I guess I can give Djokovic just a slight edge simply because he is the best player in the world right now. But there is no doubt that Murray can defeat Djokovic at Wimbledon and make his own claim to being the best player in the world. The two have met twice on grass and Murray won in straight sets both times.
That was at the 2012 Olympics and Wimbledon 2013. Actually those are pretty telling results should they come up against each other at Wimbledon again this year. Certainly I would think the best chance Murray has of beating Djokovic is on grass because of its speed. Just as important it will be for Djokovic to be offensive on his forehand, it will be important for Murray to be offensive on his backhand. Especially that cross court one. That is a shot he hits with a lot of pace and it can do a lot of damage on grass.
I think Murray is more likely to lose to someone else than Djokovic, but if they meet he is the favorite given their past record on grass. But Djokovic’s serve and volleys have improved since then so there is that to keep in mind too.
- Dark Horses
I think most people would agree that Djokovic and Murray are the main favorites with Federer somewhat further back. Federer would need some luck with the draw to win it probably. After those three come the dark horses which to me are basically Stan and Nadal. I don’t think either of them will win the title, but both are unpredictable and dangerous. Stan can start blasting guys off the court again with his serve and groundstrokes while Nadal could develop a big serve again.
I’m sure they can cause possible upsets. Nadal could, for instance, meet Federer in the quarter-finals which is in the second week already and the grass will be worn out and slower. Having gotten that far, he could actually make life difficult for Federer again. A lot will depend on his draw too, but if he gets that far he can cause upsets. Not against Djokovic or Murray probably, but against Federer or Stan. Personally I don’t think Stan’s groundstrokes work that well on grass.
But who knows what he can do if he makes semis. Maybe he can smash one of the favorites off the court.
- The Draw
The draw will be important because whoever gets Murray in their half between Djokovic and Federer will be at a disadvantage. In fact, it is not impossible that Federer could defeat Murray if they are in the same half. And that would greatly help Djokovic’s as I am not sure he can defeat Murray on grass, and a match with Murray could well tire 33-year old Federer out in the semis. If Murray is in Djokovic’s half that would play into Federer’s hands because beating Murray and Djokovic in succession would be a very tall order.
I almost want to say for Federer to have a shot at the title Murray and Djokovic must be in the same half. Then they could possibly have a long match which would favor Federer in the final. I still think he’d prefer to face Murray over Djokovic in the final. I think those are the main themes of the draw. I don’t want to speculate too much about Stan and Nadal because like I said they are very unpredictable. They can lose in the first two rounds or go to the final. Who knows.
I think the winner will be Djokovic, Murray, or Roger. If there is a surprise winner it would be Stan I think. I can’t see anyone else doing it unless Cilic has another US Open-like run perhaps.
It promises to be another very interesting two weeks anyway and now I’d like to hear what you think.
The is in your court.