It’s that time of year again, with football (the men’s game anyway) still languishing in the background, the sport of kings takes centre stage at its most prized of venues.
Before we look at the contenders of Wimbledon 2019, who has performed best on the purist’s surface?
Fresh from Ashleigh Barty’s shock Roland Garros triumph, the women show no signs of proving anywhere near predictable. A topsy turvy final in s-Hertogenbosch saw favourite Kiki Bertens scupper a 6-0 first set to eventually fall to veteran Alison Riske.
Caroline Garcia reminded us of her considerable talent on grass with victory over the similarly at home Vekic in Nottingham before Barty threatened to make things easy to predict with a fine week in Brimingham, downing the in form again Goerges in the final.
Then, in the summer showpiece in Eastbourne, it was Karolina Pliskova of all people who triumphed – fresh from losing to her sister the week before. Her victim? Wimbledon defending champ Kerber.
It has set things up nicely again for SW19, impossible to call.
The men, as ever, played things a little more safely; the grass court specialists came out to play and it was a familiar-ish roster of names. Novak and Rafa’s absence did of course help, they remain by far the cream of the crop at the ATP.
Still, the likes of Adrian Mannarino (s-Hertogenbosch), Berrettini (Stuttgart) and young Taylor Fritz (Eastbourne) can be pleased with their Wimbledon prep, snagging a title each.
Roger came through many a tough test at home in Halle to take his tenth victory there. But Feliciano Lopez then hogged alot of headlines with his victory at Queen’s, partnering with a certain Andy Murray to win the doubles probably had something to do with it.
The return of Murray means we are still not rid of the British Press’ embarrassing fawning, despite the Great Scot partaking only in the doubles at this time in his on/off career.
The hip looks good and Murray clearly still has alot to offer the game, it’s a shame that we still have to deal with all the other gumph that accompanies him on tour.
The Nadal camp really need to like and lump the Wimbledon seeding structure. True, Rafa needs all the help he can get on a surface that shouldn’t take kindly to his harsh and ugly play style but then we all know how the green stuff has changed over the years to be much kinder to brutishness. Still, there is something quite romantic and fitting of the traditions at SW19 that it continues to be unique and honour those who have triumphed most within its hallowed grounds.
For what it’s worth, I fancy Kvitova to be a dark horse again and get quite far, but I think Kerber will triumph once more. Barty will run out of steam and Pliskova will choke once more I’m afraid. The less said about Osaka on grass and Simona in general the better!
Many are tipping Federer, but I see nothing but a Nadal Djokovic finale and have prepared myself for the 7 hours it will take to watch. Tsitsipas still has work to do on grass and there isn’t a whole lot elsewhere apart from maybe Cilic or Anderson who could rediscover his form here again.
Day 1 Ones to Watch
Djokovic Vs Kohlschreiber
Anderson Vs Herbert
Rybarikova Vs Sabalenka
Cornet Vs Azarenka
Hsieh Vs Ostapenko