Its time to order some strawberries and cream and wash it down with a Pimms and Lemonade, for no other reason that the great big ‘W’ is just days away. Whilst we’re at it lets climb to the top of ‘Murray Mountain’ and long for the day when it used to be called ‘Henman Hill, who always seemed to lose in the semi’s to somebody.
Oh yes, I can smell the grass as I write this, not sure that came out right but what many consider the premier tournament of the year holds significant status for two players, for vastly different reasons. Serena Williams will be desperate to get her Grand Slam year back on track and Novak Djokovic is halfway to what would be an historic Calendar year Grand Slam, which hasn’t been done since everyone’s favorite redhead, Rod Laver accomplished it in 1969.
As always, lets start with the Ladies. Serena has lost back-to-back Grand Slam finals in Melbourne and a few weeks ago in Paris to Garbine Muguruza, its left her stuck on 21 Slams, still one behind that backhand slicer living in Vegas, German wunderkind Steffi Graf.
Whilst Serena would never say the clay of Roland Garros was her preferred surface, the lush green of Wimbledon could turn out to be her savior, considering the American has won the event 6 times and is the current defending Champion. Her game suits the quickish surface and when serving well Williams is almost impossible to beat.
Past history suggests the players that could threaten her are Petra Kvitova who has won the event twice in the last five years but has had a pedestrian year with a 14-13-match record and the Paris winner Muguruza who finished runner up to Serena in last years’ Wimbledon final. Also, watch out for big hitting Americans Coco Vandeweghe and Madison Keys who have both won lead up events on the grass.
This is a tough one to pick, as always with Serena if she plays up to her level nobody can beat her, especially on grass, but in the last 3 Grand Slams she has lost winnable matches and other players in the locker-room must be emboldened by that. For no other reason than the grass will help her serve immensely and if she improves her footwork which looked ‘sluggish’ in Paris, I’ll predict Serena will win Wimbledon and tie the great Steffi Graf.
Lets head over to the Men. Purely looking at the statistics Novak Djokovic is getting into historic numbers, he has won 6 of the past 8 Slams, and 11 of the past 22. Only Roger Federer can compare in recent years when the Swiss was in full domination mode and won 13 of 22 Slams from 2004-2009. Djokovic is now tied with the great Roy Emerson on 12 Slams, 2 behind Sampras and Nadal and 5 shy of Federer’s magical 17. At 29 years of age if Novak keeps up this pace the unthinkable could be in jeopardy that Rogers’ 17 Slams would be under threat.
At this point it would be a brave man to pick against Novak winning Wimbledon, I may have chosen Andy Murray to win in Paris a few weeks back but now that Novak has won the career Grand Slam by winning Roland Garros I think the pressure may subside for him a little which the rest of the field does not want to hear. For an absolutely crazy statistic you have to go all the way back to Lleyton Hewitt winning Wimbledon in 2002 for a player not named Federer, Nadal, Murray or Djokovic to have won on the hallowed lawns of the All England Club.
As much as I would love to see Federer win another Slam, it would take an almighty effort from any player to beat Djokovic right now, he has won the last 2 Wimbledon’s, 4 Grand Slams in a row, 6 titles this year already and a 44-3 match record, I just can’t see him losing during the next 2 weeks. I’m picking Novak to win his 4th Wimbledon and get to 13 Slams.