The Championships at Wimbledon is without a doubt, the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. Players are required to dress in all white attire, not to mention the official timekeeper is Rolex. This grass court event brings the biggest names in the business on both the ATP and WTA tennis tours.
Roger Federer: On the men’s side, 22 year-old Swiss, Roger Federer is the number one seed and odds-on favorite to win his fourth consecutive title at the All England Club. Federer is arguably the best tennis player ever, and shines especially bright on grass. Roger hasn’t lost a match on the lawns of Wimbledon since 2002. With his effortless movement, pinpoint accuracy, and rock solid mental game, you can expect to see Mr. Federer in the winner’s circle again this year.
Rafael Nadal: At number 2 seed, many people think Rafael Nadal is over seeded because he is a clay court player, and doesn’t have the game for grass. I agree, Rafa, as his is known as, isn’t custom fit for grass due to his loopy ground strokes and mediocre serve, but he undeniably has game. Extremely quick around the court, with more strength and stamina than anyone else on tour, he may surprise some people if he can get past agassi.
Andre Agassi: Making his last ever Wimbledon apperance, Agassi is going to want to make the most of it. At 36, his is one of the oldest players on tour, and he is keeping up with the young guns. With the experience of winning the title here before, and the wisdom of being one of the oldest veterans on tour, it will be interesting to see how far Agassi can go in his final effort in England.
Andy Roddick: Being the runner up for the title two years in a row, proves that Andy can play on grass. He has come so close, only to lose to the ultra dominate Roger Federer back to back years. With his huge serve and agile movement, you can expect to see Roddick deep in the second week for the third year running.
Other Challengers (men): There are plenty of challengers who would love to steal the trophy away from Federer for the honor of being named 2006 champion of Winbledon. On of those challengers is 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt, super-solid ground strokes, and good movement are Hewitt’s one-two punch. Number 13 seed Tomas Berdych has the all court game which helped him make an apperance in the finals of a grass court warm up for Wimbledon, losing a tough three setter to Federer.
Amelie Mauresmo: For the women, France’s Amelie Mauresmo takes top honors, trying to win her first title in England. Mauresmo’s game is well suited for the grass, with a big serve and textbook volleys, she has what it takes to win. Unfortunately for Mauresmo, nerves have been what’s keeping her from many grand slam victories. In the past, she has broken-down, stringing together costly unforced errors, which may lead to losing a big match. If she can handle the pressure of being the number 1 seed, I see Amelie strolling into the semifinals to face Sharpova.
Venus Williams: One of the most famous women in tennis, the older Williams sister is the only seeded American player, without Lindsay Davenport playing. Venus has enjoyed her best results at Winbledon, winning three times and finishing runner up twice. Her well known serve (she holds the fastest recorded serve by a women 127.4 mph) has helped her wipe opponents off the court.
Justine Henin-Hardenne: Although she is only 5’6″ tall, Henin-hardenne has a huge game, with a strong serve, and a flawless one-handed backhand. Not much else to say about her except you can expect to see her make the semifinals without breaking a sweat.
Maria Sharapova: Ranked and seeded number 4, Sharapova proves she can do more than do advertisements and look pretty. Her hard-hitting groundstrokes, and hard-to-handle signature grunts often prove too much for her foes. This 6 foot 2 Russian beauty should blast her way to the semis with ease.
Other Challengers (women): Expect to see lots of competition in the women’s draw with many talented ladies fighting for the title. No. 15 seed Hantuchova has packed on some muscle to her formerly frail frame, and I think It should carry her into the second week without too much trouble. No. 2 seed Kim Clijsters has a game well suited for the turf, with her amazing defense and strong backhand, but will it be enough to take out her Belgian country mate Henin-Hardenne? I say no.