Linesmen ready. Ballkids ready. Players ready. Play.

24 Jun

Federer practices at Wimbledon

Roger Federer contemplates Wimbledon title #8.

With the countdown to Wimbledon entering the last few hours, it’s time to leave the ugly verbal jousting between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova aside, and focus on some really entertaining match ups the draw has thrown up. While many are distraught that Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal are in the same quarter (due to Rafa’s ranking of #5), it does remind us that tennis tournaments, despite allegations to the contrary by Damir Dokic, are subject to the vagaries of “the draw”.

Have at a look at these 1st round matches. In the women’s there are a couple of standouts. In a battle of emerging young USA talent Sloane Stephens (seeded 17) takes on in form Jamie Hampton. Hampton has risen from a ranking in the 50’s to sit inside the top 25 following her runner-up result at Eastbourne this week. A week earlier and that ranking would have had her also seeded at Wimbledon. Tough for Stephens. Tough for Hampton. My tip Hampton in 3 sets. And in a battle of big hitters – Angelique Kerber takes on Bethanie Mattek-Sands in what is sure to be a slug-fest or the diminutive fast feet of Maria Kirilenko against the hope of the British, lefty Laura Robson.

The men’s draw has thrown up some cracker match ups. Baghdatis versus Cilic, Lopez v. Simon, or the battle of the Serbs – Troicki v. Tipsarevic. All enticing for the fans – but the hottest 1 st round seats may well be at the Aussie matches. Perhaps we may learn something about the mental toughness of Bernard (sans Dad / coach John) Tomic. Tomic is already something of an enigma on tour – he challenges conventional thinking, appears to “coast”, and often leaves us with more questions than answers. In a defining moment in his fledgling career, Tomic plays big serving American Sam Querrey. Will Tomic’s guile and court craft be enough to get him across the line? Where is his head at?

THE match of the 1st round is undoubtedly Swiss ball striking maestro, Stan “The Man” Wawrinka against Little Lleyton Hewitt. These two have history, and a genuine respect for each other forged from their tie deciding Davis Cup battle on grass at Royal Sydney Golf Club. That particular match was an epic affair, where Wawrinka dragged himself across the line in 5 brutal sets. The match had to be stopped due to bad light, as neither player would wilt, and a broken Lleyton Hewitt – yes his BIG heart broke his little body – AGAIN – meekly surrendered his serve the next morning to lose the match. Hewitt has a long memory – and that match hurt. Hewitt in 4 for me.

The PRO.

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