The Grass Court Season Is Here: Federer, Nadal, Serena, and Other Players

Michael CasentiCorrespondent IJune 12, 2011

Rafael Nadal
Rafael NadalJulian Finney/Getty Images

The grass court season is the shortest season of the year.  In fact, as it lasts only a few weeks, some do not even refer to this break from clay and hard court tennis as a season.  In any case, grass court tennis still marks one the favorite times of the year for tennis fans.  There are a few warm-up tournaments—Halle, Birmingham, Queen's Club, etc.—and, of course, the All England Club, Wimbledon.  

Rafael Nadal, the world No. 1 on the men's tour, was defeated at the Queen's Club Tournament, but who could blame him after two full weeks of play at the French Open?  Nadal is the favorite to win Wimbledon, though such a victory is far from certain.  Still, expect Nadal to at least make the semifinals, where he might get thwarted by Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, or Roger Federer.

Roger Federer decided not to play the grass court tournament in Halle.  He will lose a scant amount of ranking points; he reached the finals there last year, but the loss did not have affect his ranking at third in the world.  Federer should make his way to the semifinals at Wimbledon, where it is likely that only Nadal would have a chance at thwarting him (depending on the seedings).

On the women's side, Venus and Serena Williams have dropped to rankings of 32 and 25, respectively, as a result of injuries.  They will be entering the Eastbourne tournament in England to warm-up for Wimbledon.

Due to their long absences from tour, a quarterfinal or semifinal finish would normally do. However, Wimbledon is a different situation.  In 2007, Venus Williams won the Wimbledon Trophy as the world's No. 31, and as the No. 23 seed.  However, the 2007 did occur four years ago, since which Venus' level of play has diminished. Nonetheless, she is a champion and fights almost as hard as anyone.

Serena will be a definite dark horse at Wimbledon.  Her results at Eastbourne will give us a glimpse of what is in store, but only a glimpse.  Multiple times, Serena has come off injuries, only to win a grand slam.  This time may be no different.  Serena has four titles at the All England Club, compared with her sister's five, and she has the mental toughness, court play, and experience to win it all. 

Maria Sharapova will probably make it big at Wimbledon as she did at French Open.  There is a very real possibility that she will take the championship, especially if she receives an easier draw.  Kim Clijsters, Li Na, and Francesca Schiavone are not as comfortable on grass as on other surfaces. Fourth round results are likely for all of them.  However, Li Na may surprise us once again.  Who knew she would win this year's French Open?

The grass court season is now upon us.  Expect for the best!