It is no longer 77 years since a British man has lifted the Wimbledon trophy but that does not mean that Andy Murray has relieved the pressure of playing before a home crowd. Murray begins his defence against David Goffin of Belgium and all eyes will be watching to see what sort of immediate impact the appointment of Coach Amelie Mauresmo will have on his game. His early rounds are not looking too troublesome until the quarters in which he could David Ferrer or Aegon Champion Grigor Dimitrov which would potentially set up a repeat of last year’s final against Novak Djokovic.
Murray is not the only Brit that will have the eyes of the home crowd on him today as five of Britain’s six men will take to the courts today. Like every year there will be cheerful optimism for home success other than that coming from the world number five, but expectation must be moderated as the Brits face some fierce foreign competition from those who know their way around the courts as well if not better than they do.
Maria Sharapova will be keen to regain the title she won ten years ago at SW19 after a strong showing at Roland Garros where she captured her fifth grand slam title. Her road to the final will be challenging to say the least with a potential battle with Serena Williams in the last eight and a repeat of the French Open final with Simona Halep in the semis. The second seed Li Na, who is the most successful Asian tennis player in history, will be looking for her third grand slam title and will be up on Centre Court after Murray today against Paula Kania of Poland.
Other players to watch out for are Eugenie Bouchard who had impressive semi-final runs at the Australian and French Open this year, Madison Keys who dominated the Aegon International last week in Eastbourne and former world number one Carolina Wozniacki who is looking to revitalize her career after a very public break up with golfer Rory Mcllroy. On the mens side of the draw, 19th seed Feliciano Lopez will be looking to carry momentum from his Aegon International title last week as well as Sharapova’s boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov who is having his best year yet with titles at the Queen’s Club and a career high ranking of 13.
Predicting the champion of the biggest tennis event of the year is a fool’s game. The odds are with Djokovic and Williams but with the men’s second seed and the fifteenth women’s seed lifting the title last year it’s anyone’s game.
Image Rights; Rian (Ree) Saunders