3rd July 2017
My favourite event in the sporting calendar starts today!
Growing up as a tennis player, Wimbledon was always the absolute dream. My mum has been playing since she was a kid, so she passed her love of the game on to me. I’ll never forget the first time she took me to SW19 – it was like Disneyland for a tennis fan. The smell of the grass, the all white dress code on court, the strawberries, the buzz of the crowd, the best tennis players in the world, and my first experience on Henman Hill. Since then, I’ve been obsessed. I played at a pretty decent competitive level myself, but changed paths when I was 16 and decided to pursue other things. I have friends that I trained with that did make the Wimbledon dream though and have gone on to be very successful players on the ATP tour.
I was invited to the WTA pre-Wimbledon launch party last Thursday and it was an absolute honour to be there amongst many of the talented females in the game. Azarenka, Kvitova, Muguruza, Jankovic, and Laura Robson were just a few of the big names that got glammed up for the party and they all looked fabulous! There were cocktails a plenty, but I managed to have a lovely chat with British number 2, Naomi Broady and her friends who were all lovely!
Partying aside, the serious business begins today. It’s going to be a bit more of an open year in the women’s draw without the injured Maria Sharapova, and the dominant Serena Williams as she prepares to give birth. Mark my words – I think this could be the year we see a new women’s champion.
Karolina Pliskova goes into the tournament with confidence after winning the Eastbourne singles last week. Personally, I would love Johana Konta to be this year’s winner. Our British number 1 would be the first Brit since 1977 to win the coveted slam, and she’s now ranked an impressive 7th seed. She has had injury scares though, but I’m keeping everything crossed and hoping this is her year. However, I wouldn’t rule out two time Wimbledon champ Kvitova, who is a phenomenal woman, making a comeback from her personal tragedy and still being such a dominant force in the game.
As for the men’s draw, I’m so excited about it I could actually scream. It’s been an interesting year in the tennis calendar for the big boys on the tour. Novak Djokovic has had a turbulent time with his coaching team. He went into Wimbledon last year holding four grand slams, this year, he holds none and has dropped to 4th seed. But, he’s just won at Eastbourne and he’s still unbelievable so I’m not ruling him out.
Rafa Nadal is an absolute machine. His achievements at the French open I can barely put into words. He’s a talent like no other and I think this year on grass he might impress us all.
And then there’s the king. Roger Federer. He’s as smooth as a chocolate Rolo yoghurt mousse (very smooth). His aura is magical, he’s a one off talent with class, and style, I just love him. Can you tell? He chases a record eighth Wimbledon title after winning the Aussie open in January which was his 18th grand slam win. EIGHTEEN. For me, he’s the man to beat.
But can Murray be the man to beat him? I’m worried about his latest injury and his early loss at Queens. He’s short of his form of last year, but he does come to defend his title and the world number 1 in my eyes cannot be looked past to do it again. I get all emotional when I see the crowd get behind Andy at Wimbledon. That sense of national pride is such a lovely feeling of togetherness and just like in football with the 12th man, we’re like his driving force that gives him that extra bit of fight when the going gets tough in those dreaded 5 setters.
So it all begins today. Two weeks of talent and non-stop entertainment. You’ll find me drinking a Pimm’s down at the All England Club, or literally being glued to my TV. I cannot wait.