Wimbledon: In Pursuit of Greatness
Tennis fans around the world are in an emphatic mood as the 130th edition of The Wimbledon Championships are just around the corner! As the excitement builds up for the historical fortnight we are about to witness, the game of intelligent predictions has begun. Intellectuals and tennis buffs around the globe have picked up their big databases of records and past results and players’ forms and what not to make accurate predictions for the 128 players in the draw. I will try to do something similar but I will keep it short. Trust me.
So, here we go! Every year we are overwhelmed by the jaw-dropping clashes that await us and this year is no different. Since the release of the draw, I have been fidgeting to share with you the in-depth analysis of it and bring to light the most amazing clashes that will enthrall us this year. This table summarizes the potential matches of the Top 4 seeds:
Lets analyse the draws for the top 3 seeds till the Quarter-Finals stage as we will take up the semi-finals and finals separately in the end.
Novak Djokovic’s Draw
Novak Djokovic enters this year’s Wimbledon as a two-time defending champion. Last year, Novak held 8 Grand Slam titles as he kick-started his Wimbledon campaign. Who would have thought that the Serbian will go on to win the next four majors and enter through the gates of AELTC with 12 slams under his belt this year.
But such has been the impeccable run of the World Number 1. The sheer dominance of this man has compelled many to believe that the Calendar Slam is well in sight. The last man to achieve this feat, Rod Laver, had some special advise for Novak as he aims to win all four slams in a single year. Laver said:
“My advice to Novak before Wimbledon would be not to talk about the Grand Slam yet, or maybe even not to think about it. Just play the tournament. If you say that you’re going for the Grand Slam, you just put more pressure on yourself. And that pressure can build and build.”
Novak starts his campaign with opening match against the wildcard-entry and British number 5, James Ward. This will be the first meeting between the two and Novak is predicted to win the match comfortably.
The draw, on the whole, looks easy for Novak. The first real test comes from Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals. Statistics tell us it should be an easy win for Novak with the head to head of 7-0 heavily in favor of him. In fact, Raonic has only ever managed to win one set against Novak, and that was back in the 2014 Rome Masters. However, with McEnroe joining the coaching team of Milos, you never know what to expect.
Roger Federer’s Draw
The 7 time Wimbledon champion and the finalist of last two years, Roger Federer, will be all charged up to win this year’s Wimbledon. 2016 has been a difficult year for the World Number 3 but he would expect his fortunes to change at the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon as they did back in 2003.
Many have said that Federer’s dominance is a thing of the past and that the idea of Federer returning to top form seems iffy. Roger, a record 17 slam holder, will be eager to win the Championships and bring an end to such talks.
Roger faces Guido Pella of Argentina in his first round match. The Argentine is ranked 51 in the world. First round matches are always tricky and Federer would be looking to get the win as quickly as possible and build momentum for the rest of the tournament. In the second round he may face Ricardas Berankis, who is currently ranked 53 in the world. Another match to get a win and progress for Roger as the difficulty increases. A potential third round match against Alexandr Dolgopolov might worry a few Federer fans. Dolgopolov is not a top 10 player but his wide range of shots and eccentric style of play makes him a dangerous opponent.
The two big hurdles, however, come in the 4th round and quarter-finals. In the 4th round Roger may take on Gilles Simon. The Frenchman is famous for his physically draining matches and will be a major worry for the soon to be 35 year old. In the quarter-finals, Kei Nishikori is expected to meet Federer. The Japanese, seeded 5th this year, has a head to head record of 2-4 against Roger. Roger had won their only meeting on grass at Halle in 2014 but you can never count out the Japanese sensation.
Andy Murray’s Draw
The British Number 1 and the last man to win Wimbledon before Novak, Andy Murray comes into this year’s Championships seeded 2.
Andy Murray’s hopes of winning are at an all-time high with winning the Aegon Championships last week. He has been the lone man to give competition to Novak this year. Reaching finals in both of the first two slams of the year, Andy would be weighing in on his chances of finishing one better in the Championships.
The most intriguing part, however, is the return of Ivan Lendl in the Murray camp. It is undeniable that Andy had his best success under Lendl and with the pair joining hands once again, the hopes are sky-high.
In his first round encounter, Andy takes on fellow Brit Liam Broady. This will be the first time that Andy faces another Brit at the Wimbledon. Andy is expected to register a comfortable win and make his way to the second round. In second and third round, he may face Yen-hsun Lu and Benoit Paire respectively. The match against Paire might pose some challenge but the 2 time Grand Slam champion is expected to win.
Then comes the much awaited clash with the young gun Nick Kyrgios. This match promises to be a good one as Nick is expected to take Andy to a minimum of 4 sets if not 5. Experience might help Andy sail through and face Richard Gasquet in the quarter-finals. Richard Gasquet can be a tough opponent to beat. If you don’t believe me, watch the highlights of last year’s dramatic quarter-finals match between Gasquet and Wawrinka. Gasquet prevailed in that one with a score of 11-9 in the decider. Will Andy face a similar fate as Wawrinka did last year or will the ‘Lendl effect’ save him?
Andy Murray (2) Vs Stan Wawrinka (4)
Andy Murray has faced Wawrinka at 16 previous occasions and leads the head to head record with 9 wins under his belt. However, the two have contested only twice since 2013 U.S. Open with both man winning once. It is no surprise that Andy won against Wawrinka this year in French Open semi-finals. Wawrinka has been searching for form the entire first half of the year and Andy has been in the form of his life. I predict a comfortable win for Andy if Wawrinka’s groundstrokes are not firing on the day, or a 4 set win for Andy if Wawrinka’s backhand is able to do some damage.
Novak Djokovic (1) Vs. Roger Federer (3)
This is the match that every tennis fan will be waiting for. Roger Federer Vs Novak Djokovic, the blockbuster, the clash of titans, the match of the heavy-weights, the match which has a taste of revenge in it. This match, on paper, promises to be the biggest match of Wimbledon. These two are the finalists of last two editions of the Championships. For Novak it will be about beating his biggest rival. For Federer it will be about settling some old scores. You just cannot predict the outcome of this match. Just watch as history will be made.
Roger Federer/Novak Djokovic Vs. Andy Murray
As I mentioned above, picking one winner between Federer and Djokovic would be foolish. Yes, the records may favour Novak for Grand Slam matches but the overall head to head record is 22-23 . Even amidst Novak’s mind-boggling domination last year, Federer managed to squeeze in 3 victories against the Serb. This rivalry is so intense that picking a winner is nearly impossible. Therefore, I will stick with either of the two coming through and facing off against Andy.
So, the stage is set for another thrilling edition of The Championships. Even before the actual play starts on grass courts of SW19 the game has already begun. Who will reach the pinnacle of success in the world of tennis and achieve greatness this year: Roger, Novak, Andy or someone else? Well, there is only one way to find out. Let the Championships begin!
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