Another year has gone by and we are back on the courts of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for Wimbledon 2011. Since last year’s Wimbledon we’ve seen the continuous dominance of world number one Rafael Nadal, the emergence of Novak Djokovic, and a changing of the guard for Roger Federer. Nonetheless, these are the three names being talked about most coming into Wimbledon 2011, each for separate reasons. Can Nadal win back-to-back slams after just winning his sixth French Open? Can Djokovic off his remarkable 43 match winning streak keep the fire burning and win his first ever Wimbledon? Will Roger Federer reclaim his grass court kingdom for his seventh Wimbledon title?
While these are the favorites for this years Wimbledon, there are a few other players competing at this years Wimbledon that you should keep your eye on. First and foremost is Great Britain’s Andy Murray. Murray, who is just coming off a title at the AEGON Championships in London, is not only a crowd favorite but also looks to be playing some good tennis in recent weeks. His semifinal run to the French Open before falling to eventual champion Rafael Nadal was his best effort yet on the clay courts of Roland Garros. Perhaps this is the year Murray finally breaks through for his first ever slam.
Another player to keep your eye on is last year’s runner up Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. Although Berdych has failed to keep up his good play after last years Wimbledon, he is still a threat with his heavy strokes and monster serve. Keep a close watch on American Andy Roddick as well. Roddick who did not compete at this years French Open, is looking to make another run at Wimbledon where he has come up short three times in the championship match, all to Swiss foe Roger Federer.
As far as sleepers are concerned, there are a few in my mind that will be lurking around in the draw. First is David Ferrer of Spain. The Spanish warrior, who is a grinder on all surfaces, has never made it passed the fourth round. Next is France’s Gael Monfils. The young French sensation is definitely a crowd pleaser and a pleasure to watch given his unique athleticism. Monfils has only made it as far as the third round at Wimbledon, so look for him to surpass that this year. My last sleeper for the draw is Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina. The 2009 U.S. Open champ believe it or not has only made it as far as the second round at Wimbledon. Del Potro who had been sidelined for nearly a year with a wrist injury, looks to be almost back to form with more then a couple matches under his belt.
As far as disappointments go, I think it starts off with Robin Soderling of Sweden. Although the big Swede has made deep runs at Wimbledon in the past, he seems to have lost the edge he had last year going into Wimbledon. For the past two years, Soderling has gone into Wimbledon as French Open runner up, but this year there seems to be little talk about his game. Next is Fernando Verdaso of Spain. Verdasco, who in my opinion has the complete package, has disappointed in grand slams year after year. A huge lefty serve and forehand, along with a precision styled backhand, to go with cheetah-like speed should take the Spaniard to grand slam semis and finals. However, it is all mental for Verdasco and that is why I think he falls early again in a grand slam. Lastly is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France. Similar to Verdasco, Tsonga packs a huge serve and forehand. His explosiveness can’t be matched when he is on the top of his game. But of course, just like Verdasco again, Tsonga’s mental game is what will bring him down.