While in its infancy, the 2014 Wimbledon schedule has led to some wildly entertaining matches in what are normally dull opening rounds.
It makes sense, as 2014 has not exactly been the usual shindig. The landscape of the sport is changing just enough to make every round must-see action, as the usual suspects are mostly not just dominating their way to victory.
The spectacle at All England Club is always circled on the calendar, but as the wealth of upsets on Day 1 foreshadow, this is especially the case this year. Let's take a look at how to catch each day of the opening rounds, followed by stars to home in on as the bracket progresses.
|Mon., June 23- Thur., June 26||7:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|11:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.||ESPNEWS||WatchESPN|
|2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.||ESPN2||WatchESPN|
|Fri., June 27||7 a.m. - 5 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Sat., June 28||8 a.m. - 4 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Mon., June 30||7 a.m. - 11:30 a..m||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|8 a.m. - 4 p.m.||ESPN2||WatchESPN|
|11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.||ESPNEWS||WatchESPN|
Wimbledon 2014 can be seen online at WatchESPN.com.
Players to Watch
It is not Rafal Nadal or Roger Federer who emerged victorious last year at Wimbledon, but Andy Murray—who was able to upend Novak Djokovic in the final.
That was quite the memorable run, but Murray is far from done attempting to write his legacy at the prestigious tournament.
Taking Centre Court on Monday, the No. 3 seed effortlessly moved past David Goffin, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5. Murray fired off eight aces, won 85 percent of his first serves and committed just 10 errors to Goffin's 28.
He said after the match it was nice to get back to business, as captured by Piers Newbery of BBC Sport:
"I was glad to finish it in three. Sometimes you can win in three sets and not play that well, but I'm pleased with the way I struck the ball. I was nervous this morning and I was nervous last night, but once you sit down on the chair it's time to get on with this year."
It is understandable why Murray was racked with nerves before the tournament, as noted by Wimbledon's Twitter account:
Unlike other top competitors (see Serena Williams' brutal draw), Murray got off to an easy start and the draw is not something that—at least on paper—massively deters his chances of going deep into the bracket.
A seemingly career-defining triumph is difficult to follow up on, but if Murray's first match is any indication, he has done away with the nerves and is in top form.
Normally highlighting top contenders is not a priority because fans already know the name and storylines, but Li Na is of particular interest given the circumstances around her past month of play.
In short, Li represents the current landscape quite well as a top name who may be bounced early if she does not play to form.
Li took 10 days off after being bounced in the first round at Roland Garros, and for a brief moment against Paula Kania, appeared to be in for a similar fate.
Kania, No. 185 in the world and making her main-draw Grand Slam debut, stormed out of the gates and gave the No. 2 player on the planet a run for her money thanks to a strong backhand.
Li eventually took control, but afterwards she spoke openly about her doubts on the grass surface, per Kate Battersby of Wimbledon's website:
“I never think I can play well on grass,” she said, with that disarming frankness. “The grass-court season is just one month out of the whole year. It’s tough to change from clay to the grass in such a short time.”
There is no doubt Li has the talent to win the whole thing over the course of the next two weeks, but her journey is a strange one. It also happens to be one of the most intriguing storylines of all in that span, so keep an eye out.