The mixed doubles draw for the 2014 Wimbledon Championships was released today. Something that many Indian fans would have been eagerly waiting for, the draw this time around has thrown up the possibility of some interesting matches which can pique the interest of tennis fans in the country.
Let’s start with the newcomer. Yes, India’s Divij Sharan will play his first mixed doubles event at the Championships this fortnight. Ranked 76, the 28-year-old Indian will debut with Shuko Ayoma in the draw. The Japanese woman is ranked No. 38 and reached the semifinal stage of the womens’ doubles event last year at Wimbledon. They play their opening match against Tomasz Bednarek of Poland and Vania King of USA. They could face 14th seeds Max Mirnyi and Hao-Ching Chan in the second round. Has Sharan hit the right chord by pairing up with a Japanese player?
Seeded sixth, Sania Mirza and Horia Tecau, the Australian Open finalists this year, also feature in the first quarter. They have a bye in the first round and could face top seeds Mike Bryan and Katarina Srebotnik in the quarterfinals. This duo also managed to make it to the quarterfinals last year before losing to the eventual winners.
The third quarter is led by Leander Paes and Cara Black as the fourth seeds. The two are coming together after a long time. They were a very successful mixed doubles pair with five finals and three titles from 2008 to 2010.
Their potential quarterfinal opponents are the seventh seeded duo of Rohan Bopanna and Andrea Hlavackova. Bopanna has made it to the quarters the last two years with Zheng Jie of China.
A notable omission will be Mahesh Bhupathi. The Indian legend had earlier stated that he would retire after playing Wimbledon, but he did not feature in the men’s doubles draw and now, he has not made it to the mixed doubles draw either.
The top seeds in the draw are Mike Bryan and Katarina Srebotnik while Bob Bryan and Kveta Peschke are seeded number two. Former World No. 1 Martina Hingis is playing with Brazilian Bruno Soares and the pair is seeded 13th. Meanwhile, defending champions and Australian Open champions Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic are seeded fifth. On the other hand, French Open titlists Jean-Julien Rojer and Anna-Lena Gronefeld are seeded eighth.
Another notable team is that of Martin Emmrich and Michaela Krajicek, who recently came to limelight with Emmrich’s on-court marriage proposal to Krajicek at the Rosmalen ATP/WTA event.