It’s that time of the year when Wimbledon opens its gates to the masses and everyone gets excited when a Brit manages to win a single point. The strawberries and cream are consumed in their thousands and the champagne flows freely. Everyone loves the grass court season and the inevitable rain delays have been neutralised somewhat by the roof on Centre Court! So apart from the obvious, here are the ones to keep an eye on at Wimbledon 2012:
Five to keep an eye on
Marin Cilic – The Queens Club winner (albeit by default) should stand a decent chance of reaching the latter rounds at SW19 this year. He only stands at 18 in the world, but his game is well suited to grass and he’s reached the fourth round before. The Croat offers a danger to anyone who meets him and his draw first up has been quite kind.
Grigor Dimitrov – He may be unseeded and faces a tough opening match with big serving Kevin Anderson, but the 21-year-old is a former Wimbledon Junior Champion and is rising through the world rankings fairly rapidly, indeed he stands at 65 currently. He only reached the second round here last year, but he could potentially cause a first round upset which would put him on collision course with Andy Murray.
Bernard Tomic – The 19-year-old Australian sensation caused a stir at Wimbledon when he reached the quarter finals last time around before he lost to Novak Djokovic. His energy on court is similar to that of another Aussie favourite at Wimbledon, Lleyton Hewitt and with the attributes Tomic possesses, he can expect to go far in the game. Seeded 20 for this tournament, the draw has also been kind first up, so watch out for him to make another decent run this year.
Tomas Berdych – The sixth seed has been impressive in recent years, really pushing the established top four hard. He reached the 2010 final at the All-England club as well, so he has the necessary experience to handle the big match pressure. Ernests Gulbis isn’t an easy first round opponent, but Berdych should overcome that challenge and go onto tougher assignments later on in the competition.
Tommy Haas – If you want a real wildcard, Haas is probably your best bet. The German may be 34 now, but he still has all the tricks in the book and is a dangerous person to play on grass. A semi finalist at Wimbledon in 2009, Haas shocked Roger Federer at the Gerry Weber Open this month to win the title. Nadal awaits in his half of the draw, but Haas will be looking to finish his career with a bang.
And five potential flops
Juan Martin Del Potro – The Argentinean has been something of a disappointment when playing at Wimbledon before. He’s only reached the fourth round once and that was last year. For some reason, he seems to really struggle on grass and hasn’t quite adapted his game to win on this surface. Robin Haase is first up for him, but players further down the line will identify Del Potro as a potential upset.
Andy Murray – Controversial yes, but Murray has not exactly enjoyed the perfect build up to Wimbledon this year. Losing at the first round of Queens was a shock and injuries still continue to niggle him. The draw has complied his misery, in fact it’s the stuff of nightmares. Davydenko will be difficult enough first up, but lying in wait are the big serving Ivo Karlovic, Kevin Anderson with David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal further down the line. Murray has been consistent in the Slams in recent years, but this time, the banana skins are plentiful if he wants to end the British hoodoo at SW19.
David Ferrer – The Spaniard showed his quality at the French Open in May, but that was on his favoured surface of clay, not grass. Unlike his compatriot Nadal, Ferrer seems to have that age-old Spanish problem of an inability to play on grass. He’s only ever reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, by far his worst performance at the Slams and Andy Roddick is a potential third round opponent.
Lleyton Hewitt – Poor old Lleyton. The popular Aussie is a former winner here and would surely have fancied one final hurrah at this year’s Championships. He’s the sort of player the crowd love to watch as well, but the draw has been cruel, throwing him up against fellow diving enthusiast Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. With the way Tsonga plays on grass, you can’t see anything else but a first round defeat for Hewitt.
Philipp Kohlschreiber – The German seems to be one of those players who is seeded at every single competition, yet fails to make any headway or impression. His best Wimbledon finish is the third round and he meets fellow countryman Tommy Haas in the opening game, a clash that could prove tricky to overcome.