This year’s Wimbledon winner could be anyone ...
The Wimbeldon men’s draw is chock a block with possibilities this year. The big four are back with Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer in the pound seats. Stan Wawrinka is the usurper among the elite quartet as Novak Djokovic struggles with the concept of War an
Dark horses or good timers: Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov, Juan Martin Del Potro, Feliciano Lopez
Milos Roanic is the sleeping giant among the dark horses as last year’s runner-up to Andy Murray. Like Murray, he hasn’t had the best season and fell out in round one at Queens, but consistent performances at Grand Slams sees him as the ever-present danger man. The big-serving Marin Cilic brings the Goran Ivanisevic factor to the grass and his thriller dual in the Queens final with eventual winner, veteran Feliciano Lopez, who negated the master blaster with a bit of serve and volley of his own, sees both as silent assassins for Wimbledon. Juan Martin Del Potro will bring on the tears and cheers, injury permitting. There’s nothing brittle about this Argentinian when he starts the dance of pasión. Win or lose, it will be a tear-jerker. Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov has learnt some stern lessons this year, the Oz Open semi-final loss to Roger Federer being one. More importantly, he revealed in that match that he’s got the cajones. It’s time for Baby Fed to grow up. You can add the French flairers Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to this bunch if you’re in it for a good time.
The specialists: Giles Muller, Karolovic, Micha Zverev
The dying breed? These romantics will make a case for the lost art of the serve and volley. Micha reached as far as the quarters in Melbourne early this year. And he went down stoically sticking to the serve-and-volley mantra. That’s his game. This time he’s on grass which brings the intrigue when it comes to the German. Gilles Muller has been around the block. He reached the semis at Queens and his form throughout the year will leave most hoping they don’t have to come across the man from Luxembourg in the draw. The same goes for Ivo Karlovic, at 211cm the tallest tennis player in history with many aces up his sleeve.
#NextGen: Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem
Not since Federer started sweeping up at Wimbledon has the title gone to anyone outside of the big four elite. But these young tyros have come to play, and they don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Alex Zverev, 20, has been on fire this season, joining Novak Djokovic as the youngest player to hold a Masters title when he beat the Serb in the Italian Open final. He has claimed three tour titles this year and reached the final in Halle, showing his knack for grass, losing to, yes, Federer. Thiem, 23, has the one-handed backhand to rival the best of ‘em – yes, Stan (Wawrinka), even you – and he fires baseline missiles from any hand all day long. He’s a claycourt specialist, the only player to beat Rafael Nadal this year, but his grasscourt warm up has been wobbly. It remain to be seen if he can adapt to the slick surface of SW19. Zverev in particular, is ready to announce himself.