By Yassh Grover
When he lifted the trophy at the clay courts of Roland Garros, Novak Djokovic became the eighth player in history to complete a Career Grand Slam. And the third man to hold all major titles at once. Now popularly called as a Nole Slam.
So it’s no surprise the Serbian starts the Wimbledon Championship as a clear favourite to lift his fourth title. The World number one had got the better of Swiss king Roger Federer in last year’s final; a four-set encounter at the All England Tennis Club to defend his title.
Under the guidance of tennis great and coach Boris Becker, himself a three-time Wimbledon winner, Djokovic takes the grass courts on his super hot streak. But the defending champion will be under pressure; to defend his title and bag his fifth straight grand slam win. Since he entered Wimbledon last year, Novak is yet to lose a match in majors.
Among his challengers, Rafael Nadal is giving the grass court event a miss. Third seed Roger Federer is very much in the mix; and if he has any hope of adding to his tally of grand slam titles then this is the place to do it. Djokovic’s path through the draw looks easy enough before he runs into big serving Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals. Then Federer could be waiting for him in the last four stage.
But the toughest challenge for the Serbian could come from the local hero and 2013 champion Andy Murray. The second seed, despite a semi-final ouster last year, has been in devastating form in the majors. Murray comes into this year’s Wimbledon with two runner-up finishes in grand slams under his belt. The British is looking at a potential match against Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals on his side of the draw. The other Swiss great of tennis has added former champion Richard Krajicek to his coaching staff.
In the women’s section, top seed Serena Williams will have to shake off the humiliating French Open final loss to Garbine Muruguza. But the American will take heart from the fact that she had beaten Muruguza in the Wimbledon final last year to lift the crown. This year the defending champion is looking for her seventh Wimbledon title, while the French Open champion Muguruza will try to stop her her from doing that.
Petra Kvitova has had an inconsistent year but the two-time winner is at her very best on grass and could put in an impressive performance during the next fortnight.
In the top half of the draw, former finalist Agnieszka Radwanska is another player who is adept on grass-courts and could produce a deep run in the tournament. Similarly, Dominika Cibulkova has been in good form of late and the former Australian Open finalist could do some damage in the second week of the tournament.