It's an exciting time to be a tennis fanJune 13, 2016
Gray sky didn't dampen the mood of spectators on Court Philippe Chatrier during the final day of the French Open. It was a cold Sunday, a result of rainfall that washed out the matches the weekend before. Some believed it to be a good sign, which pointed to Novak Djokovic. He achieved something that Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, and John McEnroe were unable to do (during their heyday). He became the first player to surpass the $100 million mark in prize money after beating TomÃ¡Å¡ Berdych in the quarterfinals. He also completed a non-calendar Grand Slam. The Serb could have retired, as his place in the sports was secured. But there was no denying of a rivalry. (And it won't be Djokovic's head-to-head matches with Andy Murray.)
Rafael Nadal had his chance five years ago when he was the top seed at the 2011 Australian Open. Alas, David Ferrer beat him in the quarterfinals in straight sets. Thus, Rod Laver remained to be the only man to complete a Grand Slam during the Open Era. (The Aussie legend did it twice, as he achieved his first in 1962.) Wimbledon is three weeks away, which will give the likes of Djokovic the much-needed rest. As for Federer, this is his favourite surface.
If you happen to be a tennis fan, then this is an exciting time. Let's have a look:
Will Novak Djokovic complete a calendar Grand Slam? It seems so. Older fans might have a dÃ©jÃ vu moment as it seemed like 1988. Steffi Graf achieved a calendar Grand Slam during that year, also won the gold medal at the Seoul Olympics. And Gabriela Sabatini was the perpetual bridesmaid. Murray was thinking of hiring Lendl again. Being a finalist in all four major events won't be a lesser feat, but the Scotsman deserves to lift more Grand Slam trophies. Fans are also looking at a hectic summer, so expect an injury or two. Luck would play a part, which happened in Paris. Let's see if Djokovic's winning streak continues at the All England Club.
Who can stop Djokovic at Wimbledon? McEnroe will coach Milos Raonic during the Wimbledon Championships, and this latest super coach-top player partnership intrigues fans. What can the seven-time Grand Slam champion do to make Canada's top-ranked player a threat to Djokovic? McEnroe's experience on the big stage will help Raonic, and the American will surely look at the other aspects of Raonic's game. The Canadian reached the semifinals at Wimbledon two years ago. He might do it again, but it will depend on the draw.
Can Roger Federer win a Grand Slam title? It seems to be a trite question, as not a few fans (of the sports) think that the Swiss would end his career with 17 major titles. Both Federer and Djokovic try to play down their rivalry, but their (respective) fans think otherwise. There's no doubt that Federer is Djokovic's main reason to strive harder. As for Federer, he can still compete against the best players in the tour. He will turn 35 this August, an old age in sports. But the former number one managed to stay longer. And it seemed to inspire the others. (Twenty players in the Top 50 are in their 30s.) There's no doubt that Federer needs luck. Perhaps lots of it.
How about the young guns? Dominic Thiem's semifinal run at Roland Garros resulted to a career-high seven (in the ATP rankings). The Austrian won six titles, but they were all played on the clay courts. The 22-year old didn't progress beyond the second round at Wimbledon, and it's likely that he'll be heading home before Middle Sunday. On the other hand, Nick Kyrgios is in his element on grass. He reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon two years ago, upsetting Nadal in the fourth round. He could go further as he had better results this season. The All-England Club might give him a higher seeding. It seems right that Djokovic and Kyrgios should meet for the first time. A fourth-round encounter perhaps.
Who will win the men's doubles at Wimbledon? Feliciano LÃ³pez and Marc LÃ³pez denied Bob and Mike Bryan their third French Open title, a first for this Spanish pair. The siblings have a chance to complete a calendar Grand Slam at the 2013 US Open, but Leander Paes and Radek Å tÄ›pÃ¡nek beat them in the semifinals. They won the title, and it was the beginning of an unusual streak in men's doubles. Eleven different teams have won the last eleven major tournaments. The Bryan Brothers have a slight edge over the rest of the field, but a fourth Wimbledon title might be a long shot. Jamie Murray would love to win this year after losing in the finals last year. Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia TecÄƒu are the defending champions, and they are expected to make a deep run in the tournament. And Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut might regain their winning form again. Murray and Bruno Soares may be the last men standing.
Who are your bets to win at the All-England Club?
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