Wimbledon 2014: Early Predictions Post-French Open
The dust has barely settled on the 2014 French Open, and already all eyes have shifted toward London and the All England Club.
The Championships, Wimbledon begin June 23. The short turnaround between tournaments leaves players little time to wallow in self pity or even savor victories.
Next year, players will have more time to regroup. In 2015 there will be three weeks between the French Open and Wimbledon. But for now, ready or not, Wimbledon is on its way and with it comes questions about how players will respond post-Roland Garros.
Last year several top-seeded players lost in early rounds. There were also a rash of retirements. The weird, wacky Wimbledon of 2013 proved anything is possible.
Grass Courts Will Be in Tip-Top Shape
Besides the many upsets, the biggest story early on at last year's tournament was the condition of the grass. Players seemed unable to keep their footing. A number of players complained about slippery conditions. Some blamed the soaked sod on their injuries and losses.
The outcry stirred such controversy that the All England Club felt a need to defend its lawn. You can bet that this year the grass will be in tip-top shape.
Venus Williams Will Advance Beyond the Second Round
Williams has not advanced beyond the second round in eight of her last nine Grand Slam appearances. That will change this year.
Despite her performance at the French Open, never her best surface, Williams has looked far better this year than she has since being diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome. Unlike last year, when Williams seemed out of breath and out of shape, this year Williams was just outplayed in her Grand Slam matches.
This will not be the case on grass.
Roger Federer Will Advance to the Quarterfinals
Wimbledon will be a welcomed sight for Federer. He's won the title seven times. Because of his second-round loss last year, Federer has few points to defend. There's really no pressure.
Reaching the quarterfinals may seem like a low bar to set for a 17-time Grand Slam champion. However, Federer has failed to reach the quarterfinals in three of the last four majors.
Maria Sharapova Will Suffer Shocking Early Exit
Maria Sharapova defended her points during the clay-court season. Besides capturing her second French Open title, she also climbed back to the Top Five.
She heads to Wimbledon with little to defend. Last year she lost in the second round. She played just one match after that before taking the rest of 2013 off to recuperate from a shoulder injury. That means any tournament she plays in through 2014 pads her points total.
However, there is so little time between the French Open and Wimbledon. The winners play longer and have added press and sponsorship obligations. It's probably why it's so difficult to win these tournaments back to back.
The demands and distractions will lead to another shocking early exit.
Simona Halep Will Back Up French Open Perfomance
Simona Halep moved up a notch to No. 3, a career-high ranking. Until she battled Sharapova to the brink at the French Open final, many considered her rise a fluke. Halep will solidify her standing as a top-tier player by moving into the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
Another WTA Rising Star Will Reach the Semifinals
Eugenie Bouchard advanced to the semifinals at the Australian Open and French Open. More experienced, Bouchard is poised to make it to a third straight semifinal. Even if she fails, another one of the young guns will have a breakthrough.
Andy Murray Will Fall Short of Defending His Title
Murray threw the monkey off his back last year when he won the Wimbledon title. He erased 77 years of frustration for British fans.
He will face less pressure when he tries to defend his title. But not that much less. Brits will crowd onto Henman Hill and cheer for their native son perhaps even more fervently. It will be a different kind of pressure.
If defending the title wasn't enough pressure, Murray hired a new coach, Amelie Mauresmo. Remember, he is still less than a year removed from back surgery. The totality of these issues will prove too heavy a burden and Murray will not defend his title.