Wimbledon 2016 - Analysing the top seeds' chances
Will Djokovic go one step ahead towards a Calendar Grand Slam or does a surprise await us? A preview of the Big 4's chances at Wimbledon.
Come Monday, and we will already be into the third Grand Slam of the year, and mid-way through the 2016 ATP season. And it's the biggest Slam of all too, the granddaddy of tennis tournaments if you will.
What makes Wimbledon so special? From the Royal stamp of approval to the all-whites attire and from the show-stopping rains to the strawberries and cream, it really is special – the mother of all Grand slams. When all other Majors crown the men’s singles champion, Wimbledon crowns the Gentlemen’s Singles Champion.
Power, stamina, shot-making, athleticism and above all, strength of character will determine who overpowers the rest and gets crowned this year on the grass courts of London’s All England Club.
The prospects at this year’s Championships seem to be exciting for the top seed Novak Djokovic. First and foremost, the tremendous level of consistency from the defending champion and World No. 1 is unreal. The ever-improving Serb has now reached a level where all of his rivals are struggling to catch up.
His ATP ranking points are almost double of Andy Murray, who is ranked second. Having been crowned at Roland-Garros earlier this month, he is now the defending champion at all four Majors, a feat not achieved by any player in the Open Era barring the great Rod Laver.
Having made an outright assessment in favor of the Serb, let us assess the prospects of the other possible title contenders.
Seven-time champion and crowd favourite Roger Federer comes to this year’s Wimbledon in the worst possible build up for many years. After running a continuous streak of 65 Slam appearances, the Swiss has finally shown signs of injuries getting the better of him and withdrew from the French Open.
While that gave him enough time to prepare for the grasscourt season, the preparatory tournaments in the lead up to Wimbledon have not turned out the way he would have wanted them to. He lost in the semi-finals at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart to Dominic Thiem, while German teenager Alexander Zverev stopped him in the semi-finals again at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle.
This could all change course when Federer steps in to Wimbledon, his favorite tournament, but advancement beyond the semifinals looks unlikely.
Andy Murray will have another go at the title this year to add to his tally of Grand Slams which has been stuck at two for a while now. Ivan Lendl is back in charge as coach, and that will only enhance his chances – it was Lendl who mentored him to his only two successes at Majors.
Murray's warm-up for this year’s tournament could not have been better. The title scalp at Queen’s Club – his fifth – can only boost the Scot’s odds of posing a real threat to Djokovic’s title defense. But having suffered the French Open final in which the Serb dominated the title clash, it is fair to predict that Murray will end up as the runner up yet again.
That said, the crowd rooting for Murray in a high-octane final against Djokovic will be a sight to behold – especially if the Scot can make it close.
Spare a thought for Rafael Nadal, who unfortunately had to pull out of this year’s tournament due to injury. Fans across the world will miss the Spaniard dearly.
While this year’s season has been eventful so far if somewhat predictable considering the way Djokovic has dominated the tour, we should still expect the unexpected to unfold. Who would have expected Nadal to be at the receiving end of a shock second-round defeat by Lukas Rosol in 2012, or Federer suffering another shock second-round exit the very next year to Sergiy Stakhovsky?
When it comes to previewing the event we cannot just sweep aside the potential of a few upsets either, considering the intriguing nature this game has known for years. From players outside the top five, the likes of Milos Raonic, Dominic Thiem, Nick Kyrgios or Alexander Zverev can topple our expectations and provide a surprise or two along the way.