An Unexpected Wimbledon?
~ Amy Lignor
As all sports lovers – and even those who are not – will say, when it comes to tennis there are specific names that roll off the tongue when looking at a true champion that can go onto any court made of any substance and whip the tails of all the other players. For the women, of course, the name is Serena Williams. However, now that Wimbledon has begun there are many who state she will not win. And, let’s face it, her opening match, although victorious, was not exactly a shining example of the ‘best of the best.’
It’s possible she’s just getting her feet wet. When she met up with number 113 ranked, Margarita Gasparyan, perhaps she was still getting over the long flight to England. It certainly looked that way. This is the woman who wins easily – making the sport look as if she could lay down on a lounge chair and enjoy the sun, iced tea in one hand and tennis racket in the other, and beat anyone on the other side of the net without breaking a sweat. However, the first set played showed that even Serena can have a ‘bad day.’ The Russian competitor was playing her very first main draw match at Wimbledon, and actually got the crowd on her side when she led 3-1 in the first set. She was only a point away from a double-break lead, but…Serena woke up and realized that it was time to be herself once again. (Most likely she was angry at herself considering the early code violation she received for uttering an audible obscenity). The aggressive and impossible to beat Serena had a talk with herself and came back strong. She wants this. As everyone knows Serena has not won that Wimbledon title since 2012, and she is only two Grand Slam titles away from tying Steffi Graf’s career record and, undoubtedly, ending her own long tennis path being recognized as the best women’s player to ever hit the courts.
Williams has earned five titles at Wimbledon, but the past couple of years has shown that even she can lose. She states that Wimbledon “is the monkey on my back.” We will watch and see if the monkey is set free…or if it turns into King Kong.
For the men, the name Federer is on everyone’s lips. However, this year, there is some serious competition on the men’s side with four top contenders for the crown. Novak Djokovic has a bit of a sympathetic following after losing badly to Wawrinka in the French Open, but he still will not go down easily. In addition, he will not have to stand across from Federer, Murray or Nadal, the other contenders, until the finals. Djokovic is 41-3 this year thus far, but with his injuries and desperation/pain that you know he must be feeling over the French Open loss, it looks like an uphill battle for him.
Roger Federer has seven Wimbledon titles. And even though he may have crested the hill in his career, he certainly still has that passion and need (not to mention serious skill) to nab an eighth before the path to retirement is the one he chooses.
In other words…this is one Wimbledon that is not only offering big names, but a shot at glory and instant fame for a name you may never have heard before.