The great­est lawn ten­nis tour­na­ment, Wim­ble­don, is back and top seeds are ex­pected to lift the sport’s most cov­eted tro­phy

Ser­ena and Novak

CityPress - - Sport - S’BU­SISO MSE­LEKU sm­se­leku@city­ see graphic).

Un­pre­dictabil­ity makes sport ex­cit­ing and for­ever at­trac­tive. That is why any kind of match-fix­ing is such a de­bil­i­tat­ing scourge and must be up­rooted. No one could have pre­dicted that for­mer world num­ber one, the Spa­niard Rafael Nadal, would be seeded a lowly 10th for the 129th edi­tion of the Wim­ble­don Cham­pi­onships (the 48th in the open era).

Nor could any­one have fore­seen the US’s Venus Wil­liams com­ing in at num­ber 14. This is the same seed­ing as South Africa’s Kevin An­der­son in the men’s draw.

But these are the va­garies of ten­nis and all sports.

The third grand slam tour­na­ment of the year – and the one most peo­ple con­sider the best of the four by far – starts to­mor­row and ends on July 12.

The usual favourites, Ser­ena Wil­liams – who is seek­ing her 21st grand slam – and Ser­bia’s Novak Djokovic, the de­fend­ing cham­pion, are once again top seeds.

Nadal’s draw puts him in the same sec­tion as other for­mer cham­pi­ons, Switzer­land’s seven-time win­ner Roger Fed­erer and Bri­tain’s Andy Mur­ray, who will be des­per­ate to re­claim his coun­try’s grand slam – which he fi­nally won for the first time two years ago.

These play­ers have com­pletely dom­i­nated men’s ten­nis over the past decade (

De­fend­ing cham­pion Djokovic has been drawn in the other stream and is not com­pletely safe. He is likely to come up against third-seeded and in-form Swiss player Stanis­las Wawrinka, who de­feated him in the French Open fi­nal ear­lier this month – that’s if he even gets past Ger­many’s Philipp Kohlschreiber – a for­mi­da­ble op­po­nent on grass – in the first round.

Wil­liams, who is on the verge of hold­ing all four ma­jors at the same time for the sec­ond time in her ca­reer, could meet big sis­ter Venus. The lat­ter, play­ing in her 18th cham­pi­onship, is a five-time cham­pion.

Ser­ena could also meet Rus­sia’s Maria Shara­pova, over whom she has a 17-2 record in the semi­fi­nals.

The ques­tion on ev­ery ten­nis fol­low­ers’ lips for these two weeks will be whether Wil­liams and Djokovic can lay their hands on the cov­eted tro­phies and the enor­mous prize of £1.88 mil­lion (R36 mil­lion) each.

What­ever hap­pens, one thing is guar­an­teed. We are in for some scin­til­lat­ing ten­nis.

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