It’s Wimbledon Fortnight

Play!

It is that time of year again. No this has nothing to do with the umpteenth series of Big Brother (I’ve used celebrity quotes twice now, no more Gaffney, no more I tell you – and I’m talking to myself, which is a bad sign)

Anyway…I digress!

Get your strawberries and cream at the ready, paint your face with a Union Jack, order yourself a glass of Pimms and sit back to watch another in the long line of British treasures!

 

As the tournament is set to begin this coming Monday and optimism as per usual reaches its’ usual high in the UK, many players are dreaming of winning the most prestigious tournament in the sport of tennis.

Question is, who will win the mens’ singles and the ladies singles in 2009?

Who will win the mens singles with Rafael Nadals withdrawal? Does Serena have what it takes to defend her title? Is this finally the year for a Brit to win it?

I for one will enjoy watching in the next two weeks to find out who wins just maybe without the Pimms.

This as I mentioned earlier is one of Britain’s premier sporting events, one of the many aspects the rest of the world are jealous of – tradition. We should be very proud of the tradition our sporting events provide.

This is something the country has remained successful at despite our many faults (politics, alcoholic behaviour, drugs etc). We get a large proportion of stick from the rest of the world but when it comes to sporting events we hold an ace card in tradition.

This should be one of the most competitive tournaments in years and hopefully it won’t be the case of the usual suspects winning and hopefully we will see some of the wild card entrants (Ferrero – in the mens’, Sharapova – in the ladies) upset a couple of favourites and open up the draw.

As I write their is a fitness issue in the mens’ draw with Andy Roddick though Rafael Nadal has withdrawn due to tendinits in his knee. I expect Roddick to make the tournament.

The rankings for the mens’ and ladies draw are below; Who would your money be on?

Men’s seeds:

1. Rafael Nadal (Spa) – Withdrawn
2. Roger Federer (Swi)
3. Andy Murray (GB)
4. Novak Djokovic (Srb)
5. Juan Martin del Potro (Arg)
6. Andy Roddick (USA)
7. Fernando Verdasco (Spa)
8. Gilles Simon (Fra)
9. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra)
10. Fernando Gonzalez (Chl)
11. Marin Cilic (Cro)
12. Nikolay Davydenko (Rus)
13. Robin Soderling (Swe)
14. Gael Monfils (Fra)
15. Marat Safin (Rus)
16. Tommy Robredo (Spa)

Women’s seeds:

1. Dinara Safina (Rus)
2. Serena Williams (USA)
3. Venus Williams (USA)
4. Elena Dementieva (Rus)
5. Svetlana Kuznetsova (Rus)
6. Jelena Jankovic (Srb)
7. Vera Zvonareva (Rus)
8. Victoria Azarenka (Bls)
9. Caroline Wozniacki (Den)
10. Nadia Petrova, (Rus)
11. Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol)
12. Marion Bartoli (Fra)
13. Ana Ivanovic (Srb)
14. Dominika Cibulkova (Slo)
15. Flavia Pennetta (Ita)
16. Zheng Jie (Chi)

As you can tell by now I have a knowledge and love of sport but when it comes to tipping a winner in any sporting event, well, I am arguably the worst in the world.

With that in mind please take my tips for Wimbledon with a HUGE pinch of salt. Both draws should throw up the same scenario, with whoever beats Federer or one of the Williams sisters winning the tournament but here are my outside tips. Fingers crossed.

Mens draw

Robin Soderling, aged 24, Swedish, World Rank 13, Seeded 13, odds 33/1

Juan Martin Del Potro, aged 20, Argentine, World Rank 5, Seeded 5, odds 20/1

Juan Carlos Ferrero, aged 29, Spanish, World Rank 90, Unseeded, odds 500/1

Ladies Draw

Jelena Jankovic, aged 24, Serbian, World Rank 9, Seeded 6, odds 25/1

Maria Sharapova, aged 22, Russian, World Rank 59, Unseeded, odds 7/1

Anne Keothavong, aged 25, British, World Rank 46, Unseeded odds 1000/1

As usual we are pinning our British hopes on Mr Andy Murray and after his glowing performance at last weeks Queens club tournament, which he won minus the absence of Nadal, Federer and the retirement of Roddick. He is our only hope.

We don’t have the masses of top quality players like the Spanish, Russians, Americans and the French. Hopefully our men and women will cause a few upsets but other than Murray who should at least reach the semi-finals we have no majorly talented tennis stars.

Grass roots investment in tennis along with all other sports in the U.K. is a completely different blog so I will not digress too much but without this investment we will only ever have the occasional flash of genius and the success that goes with it.

Thankfully the BBC has the rights to show this prestigious tournament live and as per usual with the BBC it offers the highest quality of viewing and I am a huge fan of John McEnroe. They always seem to use the highest quality in commentators and pundits, though I have my doubts on Tim Henman as either.

I thoroughly enjoy the HawkEye technology and appeals system used in tennis and feel this has added to the excitement of the game.

Also with the new roof on Centre Court it should add a new never seen before dimension to the viewing as well as keeping Sir Cliff and his singing away from the sport (bless the lord!).

Game, Set and Match!

Thanks for reading.

I’m off for some much needed fruit, or at least that’s my excuse. 

 

Makes your mouth water doesn’t it?

Oh, check out arguably the finest tennis shot I have seen at http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8095777.stm

Cheers

Gaffers

P.s. Good luck to the British and Irish Lions in their first international test match of the series versus South Africa in Durban this afternoon.

If you have time I recommend you watch, what should be a gruelling encounter, kick off is 2pm.

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