The draw has been made and Wimbledon 2012 is underway with both the men’s and women’s events looking set to give us as much drama and excitement as ever before.
It’s always been the feeling that Andy Murray receives easier draws when he’s in his SW19 home.
Well that certainly isn’t the case this year…
The Scot will begin his campaign for a first Grand Slam with a tough looking match against Nikolay Davydenko. Considering the British no.1’s recent form it won’t be an easy opener, but should he come through that, he will then more than likely face big-serving Croat, Ivo Karlovic. Looking beyond those opening two matches, and Murray may have to face powerful Russian, Kevin Anderson and bright young Canadian prospect, Milos Raonic. A potential last eight meeting with Juan Martin Del Potro is then followed by the likelihood of Rafa in the semis and Novak or Roger in the final.
Not one single potential match looks easy for Murray and if somehow he does go on to win this event, it will more than likely need to be one of the greatest achievements in Wimbledon history.
Of course, the most likely occurrence in the men’s draw is that either Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal or Roger Federer will win the event. Intriguingly, there are permutations which could see any one of the three best players in the world, leaving London, not only with a Wimbledon Championship Trophy in their clutches but also the world no.1 ranking.
An appearance in the final will be enough for Novak to cling on to the top spot, but if Roger sees him off in the semis and goes on to lift a record equalling seventh Wimbledon title, he will sneak above both Novak and Rafa to become the top player in the world – again!
Despite a tremendous clay court season, which culminated in Rafa winning the French Open for a seventh time, the Spaniard does not arrive in London as the bookies favourite. Rafa has proved he can succeed on the grass and if it wasn’t for Novak Djokovic he would have won here last year. Nadal is still to prove that he can transfer the newly found momentum he gained on the clay over to the faster surfaces and with a tough looking draw looming, there’s little question that Novak Djokovic should be leading the pack in terms of the early odds.
Federer himself has made up some real ground since losing in the quarters here to Tsonga just 12 months ago. Victories in the Paris Masters, the O2 World Tour Finals, Indian Wells and Madrid have helped the world no.3 amass enough points to put him within reach of the top two once again. What will concern Federer fans the most is his inability to win a Grand Slam now for more than 2 years. Roger hasn’t tasted success in SW19 since defeating Andy Roddick in the epic final of 2009.
Other names to look out for in the men’s draw are, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin Del Potro. Although the big 3 have had a complete domination on the last 10 Slams, you just never know when that run will end. If it happens here at Wimbledon then the likelihood is it will be one of those three men who’ll achieve the seemingly impossible.
Canadian, Milos Raonic, Australian surprise package of Wimbledon 2011, Bernard Tomic and big serving American, John Isner, will all be names to avoid in the draw. Each could potentially cause a big upset, without really having the chance of actually winning it.
In the women’s draw, it all seems to be about Maria Sharapova at the moment. Sharapova was a beaten finalist at Wimbledon 12 months ago, but the confidence she has gained from a great clay court season and the collection of her first Grand Slam in four years, is making her look like an irresistible force ahead of this one.
The most likely immovable object to stand in front of Sharapova will be Serena Williams. The American will be disappointed at her inability to really make an impression on a Slam since returning from injury 12 months ago and the first round defeat in Paris a couple of weeks back will certainly be spurring her on here.
Last year’s Champion, Petra Kvitova is suffering a little with her confidence at the moment and was completely demolished by Sharapova in the French Open semis. However, she’s back on her favourite surface and may well rediscover her confidence on the court where she made such a huge breakthrough this time last year.
Lookout for Kim Clijsters and Venus Williams who are both returning from injuries and are looking to have one last crack at Wimbledon glory. Both women are unseeded and will therefore maraud around the draw like a couple of unexploded landmines. Unlucky no.3 seed, Agnieszka Radwanska looks like she’ll have to face Venus in the second round and Kim Clijsters is going to be the opponent of unfortunate Jelena Jankovic in the first round.
Pick of Round One Matches
Andy Murray v Nikolay Davydenko
Novak Djokovic v Juan Carlos Ferrero
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Lleyton Hewitt
Janko Tipsarevic v David Nalbandian
Kim Clijsters v Jelena Jankovic
Maria Sharapova v Anastasia Rodionova
Venus Williams v Elena Vesnina
Dominika Cibulkova v Klara Zakopalova