Wimbledon Preview: The Seeds Announced
With the draw to be made later this week, the Wimbledon tournament will provide light relief for those wanting a break from the World Cup.
Today the top 32 seeds for the men’s and women’s game were announced ahead of the opening round on June 21.
So what do the rankings tell us about the grass court grand slam? Are we able to make plausible predictions from these and confirm the possible final fixtures in the singles events?
There are no surprises with the top two seeds for both the women's and men's game.
Venus and Serena Williams dominated Wimbledon in the 2000's. A series of consecutive ladies finals inclusive with at least one of the sisters became an expected occurrence.
This year they are seeded one and two and so are given the opportunity to avoid a clash on route to the final.
Something about the SW19 arena has boosted Venus to a magnitude higher than at any other tournament. Her name is forever written into the history books as she has become one of the most successful player in the women’s game.
Then you have Serena. The world number one will surely take no time to instate herself as the favourite. Providing she obliterates her early opponents she will appear unbeatable.
At some point though, the Williams stranglehold on Wimbledon will end. I can't help but think that this year, more than recent years, the pressure is more intense for both in their ambitions to reach another final.
Maybe with this year, as they are considered to be the best grass court players, rivals may use this to their advantage to attempt to spoil the party.
Venus this year has displayed moments of brilliance. Yet she has mixed these with various early exits. Sometimes these have come in major tournaments and cast doubts upon her possibly dwindling credentials.
Most notably she was unable to shine at Roland Garros. Her fourth round exit in the French Open to Petrova extended her drought of clay court titles.
Competitors such as Jankovic, seeded fourth, and French Open champion Schiavone, seeded fifth, will no doubt sense and relish the opportunistic prospects of ending the reign of team Williams.
Alongside resurgent heroines Justin Henin, seeded seventeenth and Kim Clijsters, seeded eighth, they are likely to tackle either of the sisters as the tournament progresses.
The women’s game portrays the greater chance of upset through such players. Henin with her seeding can end up in battles against more able seeds early on. Whilst many would predict her to reach the final few rounds, what is to stop the likes of Wozniacki, seeded third, halting her journey?
Consequentially we have a collection of seeded women all capable of causing a shock. Nothing in our predictions should therefore be taken for granted.
I do wonder however if those who have criticised this move have taken stock of both players grass court potential. Nadal would not be the number one in the world rankings if had not been for his clay court triumphs.
It is Federer who many still feel is the grass court champion. Nadal though has closed the gap on the Swiss superstar on grass.
The Spaniard sadly could not defend his 2008 Wimbledon title when injury forced him out last year. So this year will provide a more reliable glimpse of who the stronger grass court player is. For the time being we think Federer.
So with the grass season now under way will Roger reclaim his former No. 1 position? Possibly. If he does then his No. 1 seeding will have a back bone to stand up for itself.
As the rankings are based on grass court results from the previous twelve months Nadal does have the opportunity to overtake Federer completely. Next season we may have a switch therefore in the seeding.
The seeded men as a whole do look less enticing. The top two in being so far removed from the rest of the pack, force the remaining thirty seeds to constantly play catch up.
Despite recent defeats for both Nadal and Federer you do not expect them to lose at Wimbledon.
Djokovic is seeded third and will look to forge himself a remarkable run of confident results. Pessimistically his inconsistent form has plagued his career for too long and many expect that he may suffer an early exit before potential meetings in the semi finals with Nadal or Federer.
Then there is Andy Murray who is seeded fourth. Injury free, he would be considered a more enticing prospect for the title. Sadly, his knee injury has halted his pre-Wimbledon warm up, and his defeat in Queens last week sent a worrying fear to those who believe he can go one better than his previous Grand Slam best.
For both Djokovic and Murray their fate lies in their own hands. If they do reach the semi finals against Nadal or Federer your safe bet would be on the former champions to take the victory.
Of course before the semi final fixtures other seeded players could play a vital part. Andy Roddick, seeded fifth, is never out of focus. He can beat either of the top four when he is having a good day. We should therefore not be opposed to the idea that he could instill a quarter final defeat on any of his rivals.
Robin Soderling is another promising opponent, even despite his comfortable loss to Nadal in the French Open final. He is at his peak, though, so his licking of the wounds from that defeat will surely be short in their occurrence.
For the men’s side, the early rounds seem more accessible for the top two seeds. Players like Baghdatis, seeded 26th, can have their moments but are unlikely to seal the deal in the third and fourth rounds of the action.
So the draw to take place on Friday now has its seeds. The only thing left to do is acquire the qualifiers and slot them in amongst the rest of the unseeded opponents. Another fortnight of intense and inspired tennis is sure to emerge.
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