So it’s that time of the year again. The sun is shining, exams are over and we have two weeks of fine tennis to feast our eyes on. Recently the Grand Slams have been dominated by the ‘Big Four’ of Djokovic, Murray, Federer and Nadal. This year seems no exception – outside the top four it’s difficult to see anyone really challenging for the title but several players may produce a surprise upset. Here’s a run-down on who to look out for at this years Wimbledon.
Andy Murray- World Number 2
Twelve months ago it looked like Britain could have its first Wimbledon champion in 76 years. After a crushing defeat by Federer we were left questioning would he ever win a grand slam. Three months later the same man was an Olympic and grand slam champion. With the ‘monkey off his back’ Murray comes to Wimbledon this year a different man. He now knows he can win, he’s beaten Federer at Wimbledon and he is a champion. He’s not had the greatest year and has recently suffered an injury forcing him to withdraw from the French Open but to take 3 sets off Murray on his own mound will take some doing this year.
Novak Djokovic- World Number 1
World number one and an absolute machine, Djokovic rarely misses, rarely loses and returns virtually everything. However, grass has never been his best surface and although he won Wimbledon in 2011 he doesn’t possess the same formidability he does on hard courts.
Roger Federer- World Number 3
You can never write Federer off – he is the king of the grass court, and arguably the best player ever. This time last year he produced his best to deny Murray his first Wimbledon crown. However, this year it would be very surprising if Federer wins again. He’s not won a tournament this year and is starting to show signs that he may be falling off the pace.
Prediction – Semi Final
Rafael Nadal- World number 5
After coming back from an almost year-long injury the question was would Nadal be the player we saw at the start of last year. By becoming the first man to qualify for this seasons ATP world tour finals and win 7 tournaments out of the 9 entered (he reached the final of Monte Carlo and Vin Del Mar) he couldn’t have dismissed doubters in a more brutal and brilliant way. However, clay is Nadal’s surface. Grass courts play completely differently and it’s like a whole different ball game. It is possible that Nadal may struggle to adapt quick enough (after being seeded number 5 with the possibility of drawing Murray in the Quarters) after several months on clay.
Prediction – Semi Final
Ones to watch
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – World Number 7
Under new coach Roger Rasheed, Tsonga seems to have a whole new focus. He’s always had the ability but now he also seems to have the mental fortitude to go with it. After beating Federer in Paris his confidence has to be sky high. Grass is his best and most favoured surface and if anyone will mount a challenge against the big four, Tsonga certainly seems the most likely.
Marin Cilic- World Number 12
Possess a huge serve and is always a danger on grass. After becoming the 2012 Queens champion and 2013 runner up, it seems like he’s never really achieved his potential on grass. This could be the year for him to produce a stellar performance.
Stanislas Wawrinka- World Number 10
It really depends which Wawrinka decides to turn up. The Swiss player can produce brilliant tennis and be a handful for anyone and he’s certainly had some great battles with Murray over the years. Certainly a threat to anyone on his day. However, he seems not to possess the same consistency as the big four.
Grigor Dmitrov- World number 31
Hailed as the next Federer, many pundits are talking about him as the next challenger and pretender. He is widely tipped to win several grand slams. No doubt he will be a real force in the mens game but this is unlikely to be his first grand slam. Expect him to really come on the scene this Wimbledon though.
Gael Monfils- World Number 62
This man is known to be the most athletic sportsmen in tennis. On his day he can give anyone a run for their money. After reaching the final in Nice and the round of 32 in Roland Garros the Frenchman is certainly working his way back up the rankings and could prove a tricky customer to beat.
Nicolas Mahut- World number 240
The marathon man will likely produce another great showing on grass, a surface he excels on. He’s had a poor year so far but grass is his best surface. His game centres around a serve and volley tactic which can be very difficult to deal with. This year he’s received a wildcard into the main draw but could cause an upset.
Kyle Edmund- World Number 442
At 18, Edmund had never entered a professional tournament until Queens Club this year. The young Brit possesses a very good serve and gave Giles Simon, world number 17, a real run for his money at Eastbourne. He looks really comfortable on the tour after playing only two tournaments prior to this. After registering his first tour win in Eastbourne it will be interesting to see how he performs on the big stage. Could he be the next Brit to burst onto the scene? One thing’s for sure, he’s certainly one for the future.
Other ones to watch include Del Potro, Baghdatis, Ferrer, Gasquet, Paire, Raonic and Nishikori.