The Increasing Unpredictability of Grand Slam Tournaments: Who will be the Wimble-Don?


Now that Rafael Nadal has been knocked out of Wimbledon, it is clear that predicting the men’s champion of Wimbledon is becoming an increasingly difficult task. Here is an analysis of the favourites left in the tournament to give you a taste of this uncertainty – starting with the current world number 1, Novak Djokovic.

Reasons Djokovic can win Wimbledon:

  • His route to the final.
  • His recent upset at Roland Garros may be further motivation.
  • His 2015 record (he has been in both of this year’s Grand Slam finals).
  • He won Wimbledon last year.

Why Novak might slip up:

  • A potential semi-final clash with Stan Wawrinka, the man who knows how to beat him.
  • Novak was also the favourite to win Roland Garros yet could not deliver in the final.

Novak’s record in 2015 is very impressive, with 42 wins and just 3 losses, he is the clear favourite to win Wimbledon this year. Not only has he appeared in both Grand Slam finals in 2015 (winning the Australian Open), but he has twice the amount of ATP World Ranking Points as Andy Murray who is ranked third. It would therefore be foolish to bet against Novak winning the tournament, right? Maybe not.

Novak was the favourite to win Roland Garros and beat the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, in straight sets and then made light work of Andy Murray to reach the final, however; he fell at the last hurdle. The failure to win Roland Garros did not affect Novak’s Wimbledon performance last year but the fact he outplayed strong opponents and was the overwhelming favourite to win the tournament means Novak will need to show a great deal of mental strength if he is to go all the way in this year’s tournament. Then again, look up ‘fortitude’ in the dictionary- it says ‘see Novak Djokovic’.

The loss at Roland Garros may have even greater significance than originally thought – there is a man who knows how to beat Novak, step forward Stan Wawrinka. Stan upset Djokovic at last year’s Australian Open (which he then went on to win) and they are due a meeting in this year’s semi-final. The draw certainly favours Djokovic and his first real test before the potential meeting with Stan will be against Kevin Anderson in the fourth round. If he can overcome Anderson’s power, Novak is certainly good value for an almost guaranteed semi- final. Novak would have the advantage of having conserved a lot of energy to reach the semis but should he meet Stan it would mean an enormous step up in the quality of opposition.

So, Stan Wawrinka has a great shot, right?

Yes and no. Following Roland Garros, Stan decided to make the job of predicting a winner of Wimbledon even harder by losing in straight sets to Kevin Anderson at Queen’s. Anderson may just have a habit of bringing Wawrinka back down to earth, he was also the first man to beat Stan after the Swiss won his first Grand Slam title in Australia last year.

It seems Stan knows how to beat Novak but struggles against Anderson- but he is in luck. Novak meets Anderson tomorrow and it would be no surprise if Stan wants Djokovic to win, and it would be no huge surprise if he does.

What about Stan’s compatriot? Roger Federer.

Why Roger can win:

  • Federer’s Wimbledon record speaks for itself.
  • Good route to the final (where he may face either Wawrinka or Djokovic).
  • Recently won his seventh Halle Open.

Factors against Federer:

  • Fellow Swiss, Wawrinka, demolished him at Roland Garros.
  • His age has naturally led to a decrease in his fitness and this would be a problem if he were to face superhuman, Novak Djokovic, in the final.

After winning his seventh Halle Open, Federer described the tournament as the ‘best preparation I’ve ever had for Wimbledon’. This is worrying if his previous performances at the tournament are anything to go by – Roger currently equals the most amount of Wimbledon titles won in the men’s singles game with seven. The draw has also been kind to Roger with his sternest test before a potential semi-final meeting with Murray being a quarter-final showdown with Tomas Berdych.

Federer does not make the process of prediction any easier as he was beaten by fellow countryman Wawrinka in straight sets at Roland Garros but Stan has only beaten Roger three times, with Federer winning their only meeting on grass. Wawrinka’s most recent head to head victory may tip the form scale in his favour but if these two meet in the final two things are certain: there will be a Swiss winner and it will be an intriguing contest.

Did you know?

Federer is attempting to become the second man in history to win eight titles at the same Grand Slam event. This was first achieved by Rafael Nadal after he won his eighth (of nine) Roland Garros title in 2013.

Finally, the Brit? The Scotsman? The man who if he were a superhero would be Marmite Man, Andy Murray.

Why Murray can win Wimbledon:

  • Recently married and he has been in excellent form, in fact only Novak has a better record in 2015.
  • Home favourite, only Federer has a comparable level of support at Wimbledon.
  • Murray’s grass court form having recently won Queen’s.

Difficulties facing Murray:

  • The draw has not been kind.
  • Potential fallout with his wife/mother like last year.

Murray has been given one of the toughest draws as he attempts to win Wimbledon for a second time. A potential meeting with Federer in the semis is likely, with Novak or Wawrinka in the final. Times have changed since Andy’s exit at the quarter-final stage last year – he’s now a married man. It was clear an argument amongst his camp was one of the reasons for his straight set loss to Grigor Dimitrov, with Murray heard muttering “shut the f*** up” and “five minutes before the f****** match” during the opening stages of the contest.

Hopefully the argument concerned Murray’s reluctance to marry. Of course entering the tournament after winning Queen’s shows Murray is certainly in form on grass and providing Mrs Murray (both!) do not disrupt him (he has married you now Kim, what more do you want?) he has every chance of adding to his two Grand Slams.

It is worth noting that Djokovic has beaten Murray in their last 8 meetings but they have only met once at Wimbledon, in the 2013 final, remember that one?

Tip to win Wimbledon: Stan Wawrinka

Reserve: Andy Murray



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