by Paddy Wilson
Wimbledon 2014 was always going to have a difficult task of living up to the events that happened last year after Andy Murray’s wimbledon triumph. However, this championship has already got the looks of a classic after the first week, with the return of the old guard and the younger generation starting to make themselves known (especially in the women’s competition!).
In the men’s draw, the ‘Big Four’ had little problems going through to the second week. Number one seed Novak Djokovic has progressed steadily apart from a minor speed bump against Radek Stepanek and a serious injury scare. Rafael Nadal has had to come back from a set down on three occasions in the early rounds but has looked quietly confident and is renowned for his performances in the later stages of the slams. Andy Murray has made significant light work of his first rounds and there is much evidence that the reigning champion is only going to get better alongside new coach Amelie Mauresmo. As for the unofficial king of centre court, Roger Federer is looking like a duck to water as he returns to the grass. He will be hoping for another tournament like that of 2012 and is always a constant threat.
As for the women’s competition, it looks as if the shocks from last years tournament are not finished. Most notably was Serena William’s early exit to France’s Alize Cornet. Many have begun to question William’s hunger for more titles and whether she can continue at the highest level. Li Na’s early exit has also blown the competition wide open, allowing the younger generation including Eugenie Bouchard and Madison Keys to challenge the top players. This was also good news for Maria Sharapova as she has made significant progress to the second week and many are believing that it is now hers to lose. As for the others, third seed Halep is rapidly becoming one of the world’s best and many wouldn’t disagree that she is the tournament’s dark horse.
The final week of Wimbledon will surely be an absolute cracker. The women’s competition will surely be interesting and the focus will be on Sharapova as she tries to reclaim the prize she won in 2004 as a teenager. Yet, on the men’s side of events, it is very likely that we will see a ‘Big Four’ reunion in the semi finals unless there is an upset by the younger generation (Kei Nishokori, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov). Many are saying it is lining up for a Rafa- Murray final with many edging Nadal to claim his third title at SW19. However, Murray will be confident and with home support….. well we know what happened last time!