Hey guys, me again… So, a lot has happened since a week ago at Wimbledon. And it’s all because of grass. Perfectly groomed grass? Yes. But also apparently the most dangerous grass of all time. Either that, or the new rule Wimbledon implemented this year limiting the footwear options of players led to the injuries, and it wasn’t just some fluke thing that caused the obscene number of injuries. Both are totally likely. Neither were sarcastic in any way at all.
If you had told me a week ago that Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Jo Wilfred Tsonga wouldn’t be in the quarterfinals, I would have laughed at you. I would have probably laughed if you even said TWO of those guys wouldn’t be in the quarters. But, here we are, only 8 players remaining, and 3 of them are from outside the top 8. If you extend the “big 4” to include David Ferrer and Tsonga, the last time 3 of those players didn’t make the quarterfinals was 2009 Wimbledon, when Nadal was injured, and Ferrer and Tsonga lost in the third round. The last time Federer and Nadal both missed the quarterfinals in the same year was the 2003 US Open, Nadal’s second ever Grand Slam and waaaaay back when Federer had just won his first Wimbledon title. So we are in uncharted territory here.
Don’t worry though, I’m here to guide you through it. There are still some gems left in the tournament because we are lucky enough to live in an era of tennis that has no shortage of talent. Let’s go through each quarterfinal matchup first:
Novak Djokovic(1) vs Tomas Berdych(7): 8:00 AM
Three years ago, Novak Djokovic was one match away from reaching the Wimbledon finals for the first time, and Tomas Berdych stopped him right in his tracks, winning in straight sets over Djokovic. Now, Djokovic does have a commanding 13-2 lead in their head to head meetings, but that was their only meeting on grass and Berdych also won their last meeting this year in the Rome quarters. This, along with Berdych’s rocket serve and one of the hardest forehands in the game, makes him a daunting opponent for Djokovic. That being said, I do still think Djokovic will come out on top in this one, but 4 sets is nearly a guarantee and a 5 set thriller is a possibility. This one is worth waking up for
Djokovic wins in 4
David Ferrer (4) vs Juan Martin del Potro (8): 8:00 AM
The Djokovic- Berdych match is going to be a fun one to watch, but this is where my attention will be focused tomorrow morning. David Ferrer is the best player not to win a Grand Slam final in our era today; that is a fact. He covers the court well, has a surprisingly effective serve despite being one of the shorter players on the tour, and is extremely mentally tough. He faces off against Juan Martin del Potro, whose game looks like it would be great for grass, with one of the fastest serves and hardest forehands in the game, but this is the farthest del Potro has made it at Wimbledon in his career. Ferrer ended his run in straight sets last year in the fourth round, but I don’t think he’ll have as easy of a time advancing this year. In the end,I do think that Ferrer will continue his incredible success against anyone not named Djokovic/Murray/Nadal/Federer in the past year (38-0 in best of five set matches!) and move on to the semis to face Djokovic
Ferrer wins in 4
Andy Murray (2) vs Fernando Verdasco: ~11:00 AM
The pride of a country rests on the shoulders of Andy Murray. In a game where the mental toughness of a player matters just as much as their physical prowess, that sentence is a terrifying one. Murray, who already became the first British man to win a Grand Slam title in the Open Era, is attempting to become the first British man to win at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. For those of you trying to do maths right now, just know that its been a really, REALLY long time since the home crowd fans at the All England Club have had a champion to celebrate. So no pressure, Andy. Oh, and he’s going to take care of Fernando Verdasco in this one. This is not the Spanish lefty that he would have been otherwise concerned about facing.
Murray wins in 3
Roger Federer(3) vs Rafael Nadal(5) Jerzy Janowicz(24) vs Lukasz Kubot: ~11:00 AM
In a draw where the best case scenario was a Rafa/Roger clash in the quarterfinals, with everyone anxiously awaiting their first rematch at Wimbledon since what many consider to be the greatest match ever played- the 2008 finals- what we have instead might as well be me playing one of the line judges. While this isn’t the match I was hoping to see either (Steve Darcis is now my sworn enemy), I am thrilled that Jerzy Janowicz is getting some time in the limelight. Yes, I’ve written about him before. And yes, I may have a slight man crush on him. But Jerzy (we’re on first name basis) is an endlessly talented player just waiting to break out. He’s going to make it past his fellow countryman Kubot in this one and become the first Polish player in a Grand Slam semifinal since, well, ever! And fans of Andy Murray, look out: Janowicz’s rise to the top 25 began after defeating Murray at the ATP Finals in Paris last year, when Murray was the hottest player in tennis.
Jerzy wins in 4
Now, on to the semifinals! Are you guys having fun? I’m having fun. Let’s keep moving
Novak Djokovic(1) vs David Ferrer(4)
You know how I said Ferrer is undefeated in best of 5 set matches against pretty much everyone except for the top players in the past year? Well, Djokovic is one of those top players. Ferrer hasn’t beaten Djokovic since 2011, and is 1-8 in his last 9 matches against him. Djokovic made short work of Ferrer in the Aussie Open semis this year too, and while I think Djokovic moves on to the finals here, I really hope he doesn’t. I’ll be rooting for Ferrer to win his first ever Grand Slam, even though I know its going to be a nearly impossible feat for him to accomplish.
Djokovic wins in 4
Andy Murray(2) vs Jerzy Janowicz(24)
Guys, this one hurts for me to type. Jerzy isn’t going to win… He’s really good, and I do think he will play his way into the top 15 soon enough, but he’s not ready for this. Not yet. Andy Murray is one of, if not the best defender in tennis right now, and he can turn any point around with a single shot. The entire crowd will be behind Murray too, and if there is any one glaring weakness in Jerzy’s game it is his mental toughness. We got a glimpse of that when he had a minor (major?) freak out at a line call this past year, and that weakness is not well suited for a semifinal matchup against a player like Murray. Murray will cover the court so well that he is going to get in Jerzy’s head. At times, he’s going to think, “what do I have to do to win a point against this guy?” and then he will hear the crowd roaring for Murray’s successes and his downfalls. It’s just too much to expect a 22 year old to handle in his first Wimbledon semifinal.
Murray wins in 4
And now… the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The last section of this article! Man, I sure can write a lot about tennis…
Novak Djokovic(1) vs Andy Murray(2)
Before I start this, I want it to be clear that I am rooting for Andy Murray to win. Not because I dislike Djokovic, but because I don’t like him as the dominant player in the sport. He’s a terrific tennis player. He covers the court well, he pulls absurd winners out of nowhere, and he has a sort of reckless abandon about his playing style that is great to watch. But he is a bit… arrogant. The swagger he carries around with him in an era of humble champions like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is not very easy to digest. On top of that, Murray is a terrific story and has become much more likable over the past year. He went from a hot headed, arrogant young player to what we witnessed on the podium at last year’s final: a guy just trying so desperately to reach the expectations of an entire country and make them happy. A guy I could easily root for just so that he doesn’t feel so burdened every time June rolls around on the calendar. Now, back to the tennis.
This match will be full of long rallies that could have ended 3 or 4 times if it wasn’t for the court coverage of these two players. It will be complete with exhausted looks on both players faces, yells of excitement and of rage, and most importantly, grass stains on those dress code complying white outfits. These two are going to put on a show, not quite like the magnificence we witnessed in 2008, but a great show nonetheless.
Final prediction: Murray wins in 5
And if you thought that was all I could possibly type about Wimbledon, don’t be ridiculous! I can do it in 140 character increments too! I’ll be live tweeting my thoughts on the semifinals and finals, so if you want more on what I have to say give me a follow @PF_Flyers14.