It's almost that magical time of summer that features the greatest tournament in all of tennis: Wimbledon. The best of men's and women's tennis will come from all over the globe to don their white uniforms and take the grass court at the All England Club.
As players take to the grass for practice in the coming days to prepare for Monday, a few storylines will continue to build and develop now all the way through the tournament.
Here are three of the biggest storylines as the next two weeks of great tennis plays out before our very eyes in London.
Rafael Nadal's Tough Track
Rafael Nadal has won at Wimbledon twice in his career and has momentum on his side coming off of a victory at the French Open. While momentum is good, Nadal won't have an easy go in London. Grass isn't Nadal's best surface, and he's got one doozy of a draw.
If seeding holds, Nadal is looking at a potential quarterfinal meeting with Roger Federer. Let's say he gets by Federer. Smooth sailing, right? Wrong. If Nadal beat Federer, he could then possibly take on Andy Murray in the semifinals and could potentially have Novak Djokovic in the finals.
Nadal has been successful at Wimbledon in the past, but throwing in his knee issues with the grass court and a ridiculous path to another championship makes things look a little dicey for this superstar.
Rafael #Nadal on his knee: "I don't plan on having any injections for the pain in order to play in London."— Rafael Nadal Fans (@RafaelNadalFC) June 15, 2013
Tennis isn't necessarily a sport that you associate trash talk with. Every once in a while you have a blow-up during a match or some words exchanged across the net, but what's going on between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova is taking it to a whole new level.
If you can't beat her on the court, beat her in the British tabs. Maria Sharapova takes it there w/ Serena Williams: http://t.co/sTooFRJJpq— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) June 22, 2013
In this interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Williams said the following of a top-five women's player, without specifying who she was talking about:
"There are people who live, breathe and dress tennis. I mean, seriously, give it a rest. She begins every interview with ‘I’m so happy. I’m so lucky’—it’s so boring. She’s still not going to be invited to the cool parties. And hey, if she wants to be with the guy with a black heart, go for it."
Williams would go on to comment on a number of things, but must have hit a nerve with Sharapova, who had the following to say about Williams in an interview with ESPN:
"At the end of the day, we have a tremendous amount of respect for what we do on the court. I just think she should be talking about her accomplishments, her achievements, rather than everything else that’s just getting attention and controversy.
If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids. Talk about other things, but not draw attention to other things. She has so much in her life, many positives, and I think that’s what it should be about."
Yikes. The claws are out in London, and it should be interesting to see how these two comment throughout the tournament.
The best part of the whole thing? They aren't even scheduled to meet for at least two weeks. If they met, it would be in the finals. Imagine if this continued to boil up until an explosion in the finals of Wimbledon...
Great Potential Matchups
One of the best things about Wimbledon this year is the potential matchups. As noted above, Rafael Nadal's potential meetings with Federer, Murray and Djokovic (in that order) are enough to sell tickets alone.
Toss in one of the best rivalries in tennis, and you've got an awesome tournament.
The other great potential matchup at the All England Club is a possible meeting between Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka. Sharapova and Azarenka have one of the best rivalries in tennis and are on track to collide in the semifinals. Azarenka holds a 2-1 advantage over Sharapova in major matches, but Sharapova got a win over her rival at the French Open.
Azarenka has a 7-6 advantage over Sharapova in head-to-head meetings, but Sharapova has a little momentum and success at Wimbledon on her side.
With Nadal's tough track and possible meetings between Azarenka and Sharapova and a finals meeting between Sharapova and Williams, it looks like Wimbledon 2013 is going to live up to the hype.