When Wimbledon, the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament, starts on July 3, who are the players to watch? Here are five of them
The 18-time major champion has adopted a very similar approach to this year’s Wimbledon to the one that brought him his astonishing success last year. This year too Roger Federer skipped the French Open. His note read: “…I feel it’s best to skip the clay court season this year and prepare for the grass and hard court seasons.” So the Swiss maestro is focusing diligently on Wimbledon and he really believes that he can win Wimbledon again this summer.
The World No 1 has returned from Paris and now he will be playing in front of his home crowd. The 30-year-old Scotsman has not lost on grass since 2015, and his two previous wins show he has learnt to deal with the pressure. Losing to Stan Wawrinka in Roland Garros in five sets states that Andy Murray is coming into Wimbledon in good form and will be the man to beat.
Since coming back from an injury in May this year, Milos Raonic has been part of few heavy duty matches. The big-serving Canadian, who is yet to win his first major title, suffered heartbreak in last year’s Melbourne semi-finals when a groin injury ended his chances against Murray. However, a 22-7 record has made this a solid year so far. If we follow Nadal, “He (Raonic) has a big chance to become the future world no. 1 … if he’s able to keep improving the way that he’s doing” and with Raonic’s 22-7 record this year, this might be his big chance.
With two sensations – Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova – not playing Wimbledon 2017, the one who can take advantage is Petra Kvitova, twice Wimbledon champion. Kvitova made an amazing comeback at the French Open after she had recovered quicker than expected from a knife attack in December last year at her residence. Though she lost in the second round of French Open, there were plenty of good moments in the game. It was a classic Kvitova match with some stunning winners, a reminder of the shot-making that has helped her lift two Grand Slam titles.
In April this year, Johanna Konta claimed the biggest title by any British woman for 40 years, as she defeated Caroline Wozniacki in the final of the Miami Open. No British woman had even made the quarter-finals here until Konta did it in 2016, and now she has won the title. It is quite a feat, especially for a player who is playing in Crandon Park just for the second time. She has learnt well how to handle the pressures of the elite-level sport.
Words: Elizabeth McGraw