It’s been the year of the upset at the All England Club, with some of the best players in the world dropping out left and right at Wimbledon 2012.
While some of the underdogs deserve recognition for their great feats, other top players have left the All England Club simply because of their own terrible play.
With the first week behind us, let’s take a look at the best and worst performances of Wimbledon 2012 so far.
Venus Williams looked like a shadow of her former self during the first round of Wimbledon 2012.
At one time, the former world No. 1 and current No. 58 dominated the competition at the All England Club. She has won the Grand Slam tournament five times. However, in 2012, she fell to unseeded Elena Vesnina 1-6, 3-6.
In interviews after the match, Williams meekly answered that (via ESPN) “[she feels] like [she’s] a great player”—not too definitive from the former champ, raising the question as to how much longer she will play.
Although Williams announced in August at the U.S. Open that she has been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune condition that can cause fatigue and joint pain, her poor performance at Wimbledon this year seems more to do with a mental block.
In her match against Vesnina, Williams’ serve crumbled. She made only 38 percent of her first serves.
While she will definitely have to work on her service technique, Williams will also have to improve her confidence. She is set to play in the 2012 Summer Olympics for the U.S. later this month, and if she wants to be a contender for the gold, she’ll need to get over her mental block because her technique and strokes are waiting for her.
For the first time since World War II, Australia didn’t have a single man advance to the second round of Wimbledon.
The former No. 1 in the world lost in straight sets, 3-6, 4-6, 4-6. He didn’t put up a fight and his statistics prove it. Hewitt won zero percent of his break points.
That’s right, he went zero for eight.
Tsonga definitely deserves credit for his 21 aces to Hewitt’s one, and his 61 winners over Hewitt’s 12, but it was definitely an odd appearance by the Aussie.
Like Venus Williams, Hewitt seems to be stuck behind a mental block. He looked to have given up after the first set.
Hopefully, he can get over it soon, because I’m sure Australia won’t want another showing like this by their male tennis players any time soon.
Chances are, you’d never head of Tamira Paszek before Wimbledon 2012. However, after taking down top-ranked players like No. 7 Caroline Wozniacki, you’ll remember this name for a while.
The unseeded Austrian proved her longevity after taking down Yanina Wickmayer in a marathon match and advancing to the fourth round. Not only has Paszek proved that she is not a one-hit wonder, but she has also proved how well she plays under pressure. Despite dropping the first set to both Wozniacki and Wickmayer, Paszek pulled out wins.
Although Paszek has proved to be a little sporadic on the court (she often has the most winners and most unforced errors during her matches), what’s so impressive about her play is her mental tenacity. Paszek won 70 percent of her break points against Wozniacki, proving that she doesn’t buckle under the pressure.
With great mental strength like that, Paszek can afford to swing for the fences. When it comes to the important points, she always wins.
Xavier Malisse has been called the “seed-slayer” for a reason—the Belgian has taken down the top-ranked players of Wimbledon 2012 left and right.
It started with No. 13 Gilles Simon, and most recently he beat No. 17 Fernando Verdasco in a marathon match. Although he is set to play Roger Federer in the fourth round, he may stand a chance. After beating players of that stature, he is surely full of confidence and is clearly capable of playing precise strokes.
Although Malisse is now a little bit older (he’s 31-years-old) than when he was ranked in the top 20, his strokes have not changed much. He is very accurate with his groundstrokes, allowing only 15 unforced errors compared to Verdasco’s 46, and even has a bit of a net game.
With that precision and his passion to win, this underdog looks to have a good chance against Fed-Ex.