Wimbledon 2013: Early Predictions Post French Open

Lindsay Gibbs@linzsports Featured ColumnistJune 9, 2013

Wimbledon 2013: Early Predictions Post French Open

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    The French Open has ended, and Wimbledon is just around the corner!

    Grass season main draw play starts tomorrow in Queens and Halle, and in an incredibly short two weeks, all the top players will meet back at Wimbledon ready to fight it out for another Grand Slam title. 

    Wimbledon is one of the most historic tournaments in the world, and with its own set of rules and traditions, it always produces extremely high levels of drama and tennis. 

    Here's a look ahead at some of the things that might happen on the most famous lawns in tennis.

Prediction: Richard Gasquet Will Make the Fourth Round

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    Richard Gasquet has found impressive consistency over the past year and a half, making the fourth round of six consecutive majors.

    The problem? He hasn't made it past the fourth round at any of those. In fact, he's an abysmal 1-15 in Grand Slam fourth rounds in his career. 

    Still, it's a safe bet that he'll be able to get to the fourth round again, especially at a tournament such as Wimbledon that suits his game so well.

    It was at Wimbledon in 2007 that he won his only fourth-round match and made it all the way to the semifinals, upsetting Andy Roddick along the way. He won't make it past the fourth round this year, but at least he has some good memories to fall back on.

Prediction: A WTA Teenager Will Reach the Second Week

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    When it comes to the younger generations, the women are miles ahead of the men.

    The WTA has a really bright group of teens who have all had great results and are poised to do damage on the grass.

    Laura Robson, the 19-year-old Brit who made it to the fourth round of the U.S. Open last year, will be primed with pressure to go far in front of her home crowd.

    But there are plenty of other teens who could make a splash too. Keep an eye on 18-year-old American Madison Keys and 19-year-old Puerto Rican Monica Puig too. One of them will make it to the fourth round or beyond.

Prediction: The Weather Will Wreak Havoc

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    Oh, the storied Wimbledon traditions: strawberries and cream, Wimbledon whites and rain delays.

    Even with the addition of the roof, the first week of Wimbledon is so crowded on the outer courts that the schedule always gets incredibly backed up. This year will be no different.

    The weather in Paris this year was cloudy and overcast, and more than a few matches—including the men's final—played through drizzle that would turn Wimbledon into a slip-and-slide. 

    Get ready for complaints by the stars, a lot of matches on back-to-back days, constant controversy over when and why the roof is closing and some panicked headlines about play happening on Middle Sunday.

    Like every other year, Middle Sunday will remain sacred. But there will be a lot of weather delays. 

Prediction: Petra Kvitova Will Make a Run

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    It feels like it's been a lot longer than two years since Petra Kvitova went on her fabulous run to the Wimbledon title.

    Since then, the hard-hitting Czech has struggled with her consistency and form, and she has lost early in both Grand Slams so far in 2013.

    But Wimbledon is Kvitova's home, and it's often forgotten that she really pushed Serena Williams in the quarterfinals last year.

    I think she's still one of the top four players on grass, and as long as she doesn't draw Serena in the quarterfinals again, she'll be back to the semis at the very least.

Prediction: Andy Murray Will Lose Early

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    Oh Andy Murray.

    The Brit has been resting up and practicing on grass while his competitors have been grinding it out on the clay, so conventional wisdom might say that Murray is going to be in fine form for the most important two weeks of his calendar.

    But Murray's form during clay season was incredibly worrying, and even though a back injury played a part, I just don't think he's going to be able to find health or form in time to win a Grand Slam in front of his hometown crowd. It's just too much pressure. 

    He will win Wimbledon someday, but it won't be this year. In fact, I don't even see him making the second week. 

Prediction: Equal Pay Gripes Will Surface Again

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    What is it about the traditionalism of Wimbledon that always causes the equal pay issue to surface year after year? Something is definitely in the air.

    The tournament was the last Grand Slam to offer equal pay, and last year Gilles Simon started a firestorm that took center stage for a few days when he said that he didn't believe that equal pay was fair. 

    This year will be no different, as tabloid reporters will inevitably ask questions about the pay issue to create some headlines, and the male players will happily oblige.

    So buckle up for another round of ill-researched arguments and bitter debates. Fun!

Prediction: At Least One American Man Will Make the Second Week

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    That cheer you hear in the distance is the American men rejoicing that clay season is over.

    April and May are always rather barren months for the stars and stripes, but grass season usually brings a big sigh of relief.

    Sam Querrey has won the grass court tune-up in Queens before, Mardy Fish (who is still questionable for Wimbledon) has made the quarterfinals of The Championships, and John Isner played a little match that you may or may not remember versus a guy named Nicolas Mahut a few years ago.

    While making the quarterfinals is a tough task, I think that John Isner and Sam Querrey have decent shots at making the fourth round. They both made the third round of the French Open and pushed higher-ranked opponents to five sets on clay, so they are showing signs of life.

    Look for at least one of them to be in action on Manic Monday

Prediction: Lukas Rosol Will Lose in the First Round

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    The man who caused one of the greatest upsets in tennis history will not be able to recapture magic. 

    Lukas Rosol has done a decent job of backing up his victory over Nadal. The Czech won a title this year and has climbed up to No. 36 in the world, quite an impressive resume for a guy who was virtually unknown at this time last year.

    However, the pressure and attention he will receive at Wimbledon this year on the anniversary of his feat will cause too much of a ruckus for him to focus. You haven't heard the last of Rosol, but he won't be in London for long this year. 

Prediction: Serena Williams Will Defend Her Title

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    If Serena Williams was unstoppable on her worst surface, how dangerous will she be on her best?

    I just can't see anyone stopping her the way she is playing. She's got so much momentum and confidence right now that it's hard to see her stopping her domination anytime soon.

    Serena hasn't defended a Grand Slam title since the Australian Open in 2009-10, but that will all change in a month.

    We need to enjoy Serena's game for as long as she's around. It's a gift. 

Prediction: Novak Djokovic Will Win His Second Wimbledon Title

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    Rafael Nadal is back in the driver's seat of the men's tour, according to the ATP Race Rankings, and I am sure that Novak Djokovic doesn't like it.

    But the No. 1 Serb is going to be ready to reclaim his crown at Wimbledon, the Grand Slam that first brought him to No. 1 two years ago. 

    He will duel it out again with Nadal in either the semis or finals, but this time he will come out on top and get some French Open revenge.

    A career slam might not be in the cards right now, but a second Wimbledon title will be a cure-all and set up an intriguing remainder of 2013.