Wimbledon 2011: 10 Most Underrated Players at All England Club

Jack JohnsonCorrespondent IJune 24, 2011

Wimbledon 2011: 10 Most Underrated Players at All England Club

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    As in any sport there are always players who overshadow others.

    Whether that be natural beauty, obvious outstanding talent or a personality that will ignite a press conference this exists in sport but in tennis it is most dominant.

    A lot of tennis players have been underestimated since the start of Wimbledon. Admittedly there are those that recognise the talents of all of those who are in the main draw but the majority discard those who they have never heard of or who are lesser ranked.

    What follows are ten men and women, some who are ranked in the top 10, who are underrated.

1. Mardy Fish

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    Despite being the World No.9 Mardy Fish is constantly underrated.

    Being inside the top 10 does not constitute this but in reality Fish is still not regarded as the top American tennis player despite being ranked higher than Andy Roddick.

    Fish has had to work hard for where he is now. Being in Roddick's shadow has arguably led to this. Roddick has reached three Wimbledon finals whereas Fish's best appearance has been the third round in 2009.

    With five titles to his name Fish has not been particularly successful but he has worked hard to be where he is now. Fish has equalled his best appearance at Wimbledon as he has already made it to the third round this year and is expected to progress against Robin Hasse.

    Comments such as "Let's see. This guy hasn't made it past the 3rd round and he's seeded #10??????" on the Wimbledon website just shows how the public underrate him but it is a good job for his fellow players that they do not.

2. Daniela Hantuchova

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    For someone who has been ranked as high as No.5 in the world, Hantuchova is one of those players who has been forgotten about.

    Her recent loss in the third round of Wimbledon where she took Victoria Azarenka to three sets highlighted just how good she can be. Her form in 2011 has been rather impressive also.

    The World No.23 has won in Pattaya City, was a finalist in Birmingham, reached the quarterfinals in Doha and semifinals in Strasbourg and Eastbourne in 2011. Despite her impressive form on the grass, Hantuchova was rarely mentioned as a player who could progress through the draw.

    The Slovakian may now be out of Wimbledon but for someone who had a decent record on grass before SW19 she would have been disappointed with losing today.

3. Ivan Ljubicic

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    A consistent player who reached the heights of World No.3 in 2006, Ivan Ljubicic is still a dangerous lurker in the men's draw.

    Ljubicic has experience and to be fair was regarded as someone who could test Andy Murray in the third round of Wimbledon today.

    The World No.33 did not head into Wimbledon in the best of form and at the age of 32 and his powers on the court diminishing he is not going to win the tournament. However, the fact that he has been able to return to the top 40 even as he gets older deserves credit in its own right.

4. Dominika Cibulkova

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    In her five year career, Dominika Cibulkova has been a semifinalist at the French Open and a quarterfinalist at the US Open.

    A player who is rarely in the limelight, Cibulkova quietly progresses with her tennis and has the potential to make a good run at Wimbledon this year if she were to beat Julia Goerges in the third round.

    If Cibulkova was to make the fourth round she would be expected to play World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki. Many would not give her a chance and expect Wozniacki to brush aside the Slovakian.

    Underrated to the maximum, expect a good challenge this year and for Cibulkova to improve on her best ranking of 12 in years to come.

5. David Ferrer

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    Despite being the second best player in Spain, David Ferrer is rarely mentioned when it comes to who can challenge at Wimbledon.

    A main reason for this is that his game may not suit the grass and he has never been past the fourth round.

    Ferrer is fantastic on a clay court yet he was never classed as a threat at the French Open. That may have been proved with his fourth round exit this year but he is a player who no one in the top 10 would like to face.

    Ferrer can still be a danger at SW19 but there must be a defining reason why he has not even been considered as the 'best of the rest' behind the top four.

6. Yanina Wickmayer

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    Despite how open the women's draw is this year there has been no mention of the talents of Yanina Wickmayer and the possibility that she could make a run deep into the second week.

    Many were surprised that Wickmayer beat Svetlana Kuznetsova today and she will be a fierce competitor against Petra Kvitova in the fourth round.

    Wickmayer's absence from the pre-Wimbledon predictions was probably because she lost to Roberta Vinci at S-Hertogenbosch and she will be underestimated by many when she faces Kvitova in the fourth round.

7. Feliciano Lopez

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    The vast majority did not expect Feliciano Lopez to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon this year, let alone beat Andy Roddick in the process.

    Lopez is a very talented left-hander who like previous members of this list seems to be recapturing form once displayed earlier in his career.

    At 29 years of age Lopez is no spring chicken compared to the average age on the tour but the signs were there before Wimbledon that he could have a decent run this year. The problem was that no one expected him to do well.

    In fact it was against Roddick at Queens where Lopez showed how good he can be on grass. Although he lost that match his lefty serve to the backhand was causing problems and did so today.

    Lopez will face Gael Monfils or Lukasz Kubot in the fourth round and after beating Roddick many will now back him to make the quarterfinals.

8. Tsvetana Pironkova

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    The forgotten semifinalist of last year, Tsvetana Pironkova, was not even mentioned as a possible contender or even repeating last year's performance.

    Pironkova is currently the World No. 33 and showed why she should not be underestimated by beating Vera Zvonareva today.

    Due to her poor form this year Pironkova was not backed to reach the semifinals again but she has shown why she should not be underestimated so far in the Championships.

    She cruised past Camila Giorgi in the first round, crushed Petra Martic and then impressively beat Zvonareva 6-2, 6-3.

    Pironkova faces Venus Williams in the fourth round where again she will not be given much of a chance in the eyes of the public but she has the potential to beat the 23rd seed.

9. Gilles Simon

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    Gilles Simon is a talented Frenchman who is constantly overshadowed by his compatriots.

    The class and style of Richard Gasquet, Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have meant that no one tends to discuss the prospects of Simon heading into Wimbledon.

    Simon was once the World No.6 but has never been past the fourth round at Wimbledon. He is a dangerous player and if he faces Rafael Nadal in the fourth round he could pose the World No.1 a few problems.

10. Marion Bartoli

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    Marion Bartoli is rarely considered a contender at any grand slam let alone Wimbledon.

    The World No.9 uses a two handed forehand and is not blessed athletically but she has arguably the best hand-eye co-ordiantion in the game.

    Reaching the semifinals at the French Open was quite a feat for Bartoli and despite winning Eastbourne this year she has not really been considered as a possible contender until she has started to show shades of her talent.

    A finalist in 2007, Bartoli should not be as underrated as she is.