It has been an incredible first week at the All England Club, despite the poor British weather. For only the fourth time in history, Wimbledon was played over the middle Sunday to ensure the championships can go ahead as scheduled. However, the weather has been far from a major talking point considering the amazing quality of tennis on offer.
The biggest shock of them all is the loss of Novak Djokovic to Sam Querrey in the third round. The Serbian has been in sublime form, at this point he holds all Grand Slam titles and had won 30 games in a row in the Majors, this all before facing the 6ft 6 American. Querrey played the tennis of his life, using his big serve to dominate his service games and taking massive risks from the baseline which paid off time and time again. Djokovic was clearly not 100% fit and healthy, but chose not to go into that in the post match interview, taking nothing away from Querrey in what is his biggest win to date. With the World No.1 out, the Men’s draw now looks considerably easier.
Another great story came in the second round match of the cool, calm Roger Federer. Walking out into centre court and for once, the Swiss champion was not the crowd favourite. This was because he was playing the British Marcus Willis who is ranked 772nd in the world. Despite a straight sets loss the massive underdog played well, being harshly done by to lose the first set 6-0 and then taking 7 games off the highly decorated champion in the next two. Playing for the first time on a major court, Willis made a great name for himself and gained many fans and plaudits for his performance. His journey has made for a great story and is one of the highlights so far of this years championship.
A real feel good story of the tournament so far featured in the match between Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin Del Potro on Centre Court. On the face of it, this match looked to higher profile to happen in the Second round, with both players having won Grand Slams in the past and spending much of their careers in the global top 10. However, Del Potro has had a horrible time with injuries since his US Open victory in 2009. The problems with his wrist have massively hindered his progress and he entered Wimbledon unseeded. It was the first time Del Potro had played Wimbledon since 2013 yet, despite everything, he looked like he had never been away. The high, powerful serve and massive forehand was too much for Wawrinka as Del Potro won in four sets. He is quoted in saying “It was really tough to come back on the sport after my third (surgery),” he said. “But now I’m enjoying tennis again” (Source USA Today). Even though he lost in the following round seeing the big man win again on the famous grass court was brilliant to watch.
In the most unsurprising news of the tournament Nick Kyrgios clashed with the umpire in his first round match and was given a code violation for bad language. Ignoring this, he has undoubtedly been the best player to watch all tournament. The Australian has played some fantastic tennis playing what I believe to be the shot of the championships so far with an incredible through the legs lob of his opponent on his way to a simple victory in round one (see above). Since then it has not been so easy, he beat the tricky, unique Dustin Brown in the second round and played incredibly to beat Feliciano López in a stop start match due to rain. Kyrgios was superb, serving 125+ second serve aces and showing no fear at all to play his own tennis. He has been a constant feature in the championships and will be again today as he plays Andy Murray in another massive match. The Scotsman has been quietly going about his business extremely successfully and will feel he can beat his opponent who has had very little time to recover due to the constant rain delays. This is sure to be a great match with two of the games most watchable players facing each other on the grandest stage of them all.
On the woman’s side of the draw, Johanna Konta entered Wimbledon being the first British woman seeded since 1984. She got off to a great start in the tournament, wasting no time in dispatching her first round opponent in straight sets. Unfortunately, she left the competition in the next contest, playing a tough well-fought match against the 2014 finalist, Eugenie Bouchard. Going into the second week one key absentee on the woman’s side is the Spaniard Garbine Mugurauza. She was last years finalist at Wimbledon against Serena and recently beat her at the French Open to gain her maiden Grand Slam victory. However, the 22 year old lost convincingly in the second round, blaming tiredness for her early exit as a result of a heavy schedule. Despite this there are still 4 of the top 5 into the fourth round so it is all to play for in the ladies draw.
As is so often the case at this tournament, one name is dominating the Woman’s competition, Williams. Even though she struggled slightly in her second round match against fellow American Christina McHale, Serena Williams is looking very strong going into week two and if she performs like she did against Annika Beck, there will be no stopping her. She only lost 3 games all match and in the last set, did not lose a point on her serve, cruising to an easy victory. Her older sister Venus could also cause a big story in the competition. Despite several health problems throughout her career, Venus is once again through to the latter stages of Wimbledon battling in some tough matches to make it to the fourth round. A veteran at 36, the crowd would love for the 5 time champion to keep progressing and winning matches and do as well as she can do.
As for my predictions for the tournament I cannot see Serena Williams faltering in the pursuit to match the record of Steffi Graf of 22 Grand Slam titles. She failed to capitalise on being in the final of the Australian and French Open, losing on both occasions but I do not see that being a problem again. Against her mostly younger rivals she has the power of experience as she has now recorded an astounding 82 victories at Wimbledon. The comfort of her surroundings should spur the American on and, in her favourite competition of the year, it will take some great tennis to stop her.
On the Men’s side of the draw I can see Andy Murray winning again. Being the second seed, he is now presumed favorite due to the shock loss of Djokovic and has played text book tennis so far. However, the draw is now wide open and many players like Nishikori, Raonic and Gasquet all having the belief they can cause an upset and win their first ever Grand Slam. Federer is always adored at Wimbledon and will definitely not be ruled out as he certainly still has the game to win on the famous centre court. One thing that has changed is the level of expectation weighing on Murray now. If he had won while Djokovic was in the final with him, it would be seen as an amazing victory. With him now removed, it is seen by many to be a golden opportunity missed if he cannot lift the famous trophy. I still think he will triumph but it will not be easy in front of his home crowd
One thing is for certain, it is shaping up to be a great week of tennis ahead.
Do you think Andy and Serena will lift the titles? If not who will beat them? Let me know in the comments below and thank you for reading!