Gladiators ready for 2015 Wimbledon showdown

Serena Williams (left) and Novak Djokovic are the top seeds at the 2015 Wimbledon, which serves off…today.

Serena Williams (left) and Novak Djokovic are the top seeds at the 2015 Wimbledon, which serves off…today.

Djokovic-P.63-29-06-2015-CopyThe third grand slam of the year is upon the ATP and WTA World Tour calendar, and it would be pretty safe to throw all forms of prognosis out of the window right now.

This is because apart from Serena Williams and maybe Novak Djokovic, the respective world number ones, most of the other seeds have really not lived up to expectation so far.

The year started well enough for the Serbian champion, Djokovic, winning the first slam of the year and all the Masters’ titles that were up for grabs, save for the Madrid Masters where he didn’t play. Roland Garros, which was the Serb’s ultimate goal for the year, was still not achieved as he lost in a heart- breaking final to Wawrinka in four sets.

Djokovic hasn’t played any warm up tournaments leading to Wimbledon, so it is quite difficult to assess his grass court form before the ultimate grand slam where he is the defending champion.

Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, on the other hand, have been very busy, winning titles in Halle, Queen’s and Stuttgart respectively.

Rafael Nadal of Spain has dropped to his worst ranking since 2005. He is ranked and seeded tenth at this tournament and he would most likely have to face one of the other ‘Big threes,’ as early as the quarter finals. This was the exact situation that played out in Paris where he faced Djokovic in the quarterfinals and was promptly dumped from the tournament in straight sets.

Nadal has struggled on grass in the last six years and has never made it to the last eight here in recent times. He has been pretty vocal about his confidence crisis, and though he won a grass title a few days back in Stuttgart, he promptly lost his opening match at the Queens Championships, where he was beaten in straight sets by Alexandr Dolgopolov.

It would be interesting to see how Nadal would fare this year, as he suffered a shocking exit to a then 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round last year. He lost in the first round in 2013 to Steve Darcis.

Djokovic is way ahead of the pack, sitting very comfortably at the top of the rankings with almost 14000, points but he needs to defend his title here to preserve his revered spot.

He defeated Roger Federer last year in a five-set thriller where he promptly snatched the number one spot from Nadal and hasn’t relinquished it since then and if this is to remain so, he would need those 2,000 championship points.

Federer may have won the title here seven times, even coming very close last year in an epic five setter with Novak. However, recent slams have shown that he may most likely never win another slam, as he has not made the final of any since last year.

He lost to Marin Cilic in the US Open semifinal, Andreas Seppi in the fourth round of the Australian Open and to Stanislaus Wawrinka in Paris, who went on to win the French Open earlier this month. These are not bad showings and he has been consistent at least, but age is not on his side anymore and it shows.

Andy Murray is hoping to recreate his Wimbledon magic of 2013, where he upset Novak Djokovic to win his first Wimbledon title. Since then, he has been trying to capture the form that took him to that final but hasn’t been successful so far. He bowed out last year in the quarterfinals to Grigor Dimitrov and struggled for form for over a year.

However, all that seems to be a thing of the past now, as he has been on superb form, winning titles in Madrid (defeated Nadal) and Queens, where he is now a four-time winner. Murray has a relatively good game on grass and is looking to go deep in the draw.

Djokovic may be facing pressure to defend his points from last year, but Andy Murray seems to be under even more pressure from his home fans to lift the trophy again.

A win here for Djokovic would give him his third Wimbledon title and ninth overall slam. He would desperately need it, to wash away the bitter defeat he suffered earlier this month at the French Open and to again recreate his phenomenal run of 2011 where he won three grand slams.

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