Order and Chaos: Picking the Impossible.
I just can’t shake of this nasty feeling I have for Roger Federer this Wimbledon. Why? Roger Federer is majorly due for an early round upset, that’s why. That 20 consecutive semifinal streak is just a sitting duck, a gross statistical anomaly waiting to be snapped. It’s not rational of course for me to suppose this. This is Wimbledon after all – the slam where freak upsets and surprise runs are least likely to happen. The odds are stacked favorably for Federer. So let’s hope it’s my subconscious reverse psychology at work here.
Meanwhile, WTA picks are much less stressful where there’s no Potato Nose clouding my judgment. So here’s Team Dootsie – complete with fabulous glam shots, since you know, “sex sells” and all. We’re out to kick Wimbledon’s pompous ass.
Face it. She’s beautiful: Italian Marie Claire
Venus Williams: Here is when you say “duh Dootsie!?”
Does anyone else think Wimbledon should’ve chosen Venus instead of Roger to play first on centre court? Like Roger, she’s a five time champion at Wimbledon, but unlike Roger, she’s actually the defending champ. So why not give women’s tennis the limelight and get Venus to open play? I think it would’ve been more fitting and symbolic. It’s not like Roger is owed anything.
Venus had a strong start to the year despite her early exit from the Australian Open, but she’s looked very patchy during the clay season. That’s not so different to the usual however. As always, Venus makes it hard to pick her, or to pick against her coming into Wimbledon. I’d personally love to see her win, her grace, athleticism, and dominance on grass are a privilege to see. And there’s something about seeing Venus and Federer posing with their respective trophies that restores order in my tennis universe.
Serena Williams: assuming she’s injury free, I actually think Serena has a better chance of winning this year than Venus. Last year’s defeat did not go down well, nor did the loss of the top spot. I think Rena’s out for blood. Ironically, if she wins this, she’ll be the current title holder for three out of the four grand slams, but she still won’t be No 1 in the world.
Are there any other contenders apart from the Williams sisters?
Victoria Azarenka: At some point, the girl’s gotta be ready for her first slam. Why not at Wimbledon? Sharapova aside, Vika is the only player on tour who doesn’t suffer an inferiority complex when the player across the net goes by the surname Williams. And at the moment, she’s resembling a hungry pit bull more and more. It’s time.
It says something about the power dynamics of the WTA tour when I pick 3 past and present No 1’s as “outsiders” to win Wimbledon.
Gladiators gone wrong: The Sunday Times
Dinara Safina: I’d put her in the contenders for Wimbly as the No 1 seed, but her less-than-glamorous record on grass and the sting of her recent defeat in Paris suggest she’s better considered as an “outsider”. In theory, there’s nothing about Safina’s game that suggests she can’t be good on grass. In reality however, I don’t think she’s comfortable with the surface and the atmosphere of Wimbledon.
Maria Sharapova: I can’t believe so many commentators and writers out there are picking Sharapova to win. I’m still keeping my expectations low for Sharapova at Wimbledon. Her fight and will at Roland Garros were more impressive than the actual tennis she played. She’s very rusty and those double faults are still too Dementieva-like. This doesn’t say much of course, given Dementieva’s success last year. She’s in Azarenka’s eighth of the draw. Assuming she makes it past the first 3 rounds, that would be one hell of a match. I hope they put it on centre court … with the roof closed. It HAS to happen.
Agniewska Radwanska: I love Radwanska. I think the Hingis comparisons are overdone, but there’s something admirable about the way she constructs her points and how she handles the offence of players much bigger than her. She is in the top 10 now, but that doesn’t mean she qualifies as a “contender” yet. She certainly hasn’t performed to my expectations at the slam level. But if she were to have a breakthrough, it’s more likely to be at Wimbledon than any other slam. Radwanska won Eastbourne last year and was a semifinalist this year, not to mention a past junior Wimbledon champ. She moves well and looks comfortable on this surface and I’d love to see her make it happen with a good run in the next two weeks. If Bartoli and Zheng could do it, so can she.
Caroline Wozniacki: she belongs in the same group of WTA surgers as Victoria Azarenka, but she’s probably the calmer but mentally more fragile one of the two. I love her solid tennis, her charisma and personality. Love that smile. But unfortunately, something about her is a little too ‘Kim Clijsters’ for me. I really hope she’ll win a slam soon, and winning Eastbourne is probably a nice way to start her Wimbledon campaign.
The Upset Squad
Tamarine Tanasugarn: I don’t get her. She’s invisible for the vast majority of the year, only to come out and shine during the grass season. I just don’t get it.
Sam Stosur: on paper, Stosur’s game looks good for grass. In reality I think her topspin forehand and kick serve would suit the red clay of Roland Garros a lot more than Wimbly grass. And just because she has a good serve, and volleys well doesn’t mean she serves and volleys – which she should.
Jelena Dokic: I don’t know if her back is still bothering her, and I don’t know about a second round clash with Stosur. I just don’t know. But she’s Jelena Dokic, and surely she deserves a smile from the Tennis Gods? I never liked her back in the day, but my heart breaks for this girl the way it breaks for Baghdatis.
Li Na: Li Li Na Na frustrates the hell out of me. The girl has so much game and personality that you just can’t help loving her, but she is also a complete headcase. Out of the “three gold flowers” – Zheng, Li and Peng (Shuai) – I do believe Li Na is the one with the most talent, but she is also the biggest mental mess out of those 3. I don’t see her ever going all the way, but pulling an upset? Quite probable.
Zheng Jie: everything about Zheng’s game is solid and compact like her build. She’s a lot calmer under pressure than Li. AND I just flove the girl okay? I want to fold her up and pop her in my handbag. She’s adorabubble.
Daniela Hantuchova: at the end of the day, Hantuchova is always going to have the game to do some damage, but she’ll never have the heart, the fight or the mind to sustain her throughout an entire slam. An upset? Yes. A run? No.
Errm … the spot is distracting. And not in a good way.
Ana Ivanovic: it’s a poor reflection on how far she’s fallen that I have Ana on the upset squad. Firing coaches at this stage of her career looks more like a denial of her problems than a change for the better. But I think she’s close to hitting rock bottom now, so surely the only way to go is up? She’s too talented to just keep slipping. Or are we looking at a Beta version of Nicole Vaidisova here?
Her first few rounds should be easy, and who knows, she might get a bit more confident by the time she plays Venus. All it takes is one off-day for Venus and a good day for Ivanovic.
So Not Happening
The antipicks and the prove-me-wrongs.
Oh no! JJ turned Transylvanian cosplayer: photo Tanjug/ STR
God gave me beautiful eyes, so I can roll them at slumping sisters:
- Jelena Jankovic: what’s your name? Who are you? If she doesn’t have the passion or motivation to play, there is no reason for her to make it far.
- Amelie Mauresmo: ex-believer, I love her. I wish her luck, but it’s not happening. You know it.
- Svetlana Kuznetsova: Sveta on grass is a bit like Davydenko on grass, theoretically there’s nothing stopping them, but again, it’s just not happenin’. Some players were never born to rule tennis’s Sacre Coeur.
- Elena Dementieva: Not a Lena D fan, but I really wish I could say she’s due for her first slam after years of frustration. She started her year fabulously, but just seemed to run out of gas completely by the American winter hard court season. I assumed she would rest, reboot and return strong, but it’s taken a bizarre Ivanovic-like turn ever since. Perhaps it’s time to look at getting a proper coach rather than an over-attentive mother.
- Vera Zvonareva: grass is not her surface, and she didn’t get enough match play coming into Wimbledon. But I look forward to seeing more from her in the summer hard court season.
Final Prediction: you know what would make my tournament? A Venus v Azarenka final, the regal Goddess v the adorable banshee, veteran v challenger, massive serves and heavy groundstrokes, going deep into the third set. That would really really make all this WTA love worthwhile. Going with Azarenka for the win.
Oh yes I am.
“That 20 consecutive semifinal streak is just a sitting duck, a gross statistical anomaly waiting to be snapped.”
very much agree. pre-sf GS elimination is just around the corner now, but hopefully it won’t happen in wimby and uso 09, maybe ao 2010. meanwhile, he can lose first round of rg 2010 for all i care.
^ what if even that is too greedy? Boy I am so paranoid.