On Monday, June 24, the fortnight of tennis begins—Wimbledon. For the next two weeks, the greatest tennis players in the world will compete on the famed grass courts, where some of the best tennis matches in history have taken place—the epic Nadal/Federer final in 2008, the John Isner/Nicolas Mahut match (the longest in tennis history), and Federer’s record breaking 15th Grand Slam win, to name a few. In anticipation of this thrilling sporting event, here is an outline of the players to watch for the men’s singles tournament for Wimbledon 2013.
Roger Federer: One of the most dominant tennis players ever, the Swiss Roger Federer has a record 17 Grand Slam titles and has held the No. 1 ranking for 302 weeks. Known for his excellent form, particularly his base strokes, Federer has been to the Wimbledon final eight times, winning seven of those matches. The last Grand Slam final he won was Wimbledon in 2012, and with grass as one of his favorite surfaces, you can count on Federer to demonstrate some excellent tennis, despite being 31 years old (over the hill as far as tennis goes). Federer is currently ranked No. 3 in the world.
Rafael Nadal: Coached by his uncle, Nadal lives with his family in his hometown on Mallorca, Spain. Considered Federer’s great rival (likened to the McEnroe/Borg rivalry), this Spaniard plays with a raw intensity unparalleled by any of the other top tennis players. Nadal is coming off of a French Open win, his first major showing after struggling with knee injuries. Nadal has won 12 Grand Slam titles and held the No. 1 ranking himself, though he goes into Wimbledon ranked No. 5. Despite his recent injuries, Nadal has a winning record against Federer, Djokovic, and Murray, and he is always a contender.
Andy Murray: Despite the fact that Murray is actually Scottish, the English have adopted this 26-year-old tennis player as their own. This year, Murray did not compete in the French Open in order to rest an injury before Wimbledon. With 1 Grand Slam title, from the 2012 U.S. Open, Murray is looking to become the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title in 77 years (since Fred Perry in 1936). Murray came close to accomplishing this in 2012 against Roger Federer, and after winning the Olympic Gold Medal at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open title, and resting during the French Open, you can bet Murray is out to win this title.
Novak Djokovic: Djokovic had the unfortunate timing to come of age in tennis right in the middle of the Federer/Nadal era. For quite some time, Djokovic hovered at No. 3 or 4, right underneath Federer and Nadal, and he was unable to break into that top circle. However, after winning the Australian Open in 2008, and more importantly winning Grand Slam titles in 2011 and 2012, Djokovic proved himself to be more than a contender, but a champion. Currently ranked No. 1, Djokovic will definitely come into Wimbledon looking to win.
Other Contenders: While the previously mentioned tennis players are the most familiar faces around Grand Slam tournaments, there will be some other players to watch as Wimbledon gets underway. Spaniard David Ferrer, at age 31, reached his first ever Grand Slam final at the recent French Open. Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has proved to be an aggressive match for some of the top-seeded players. Thomas Berdych of Germany has been hovering under the top 4 tennis players for some time, and Juan Del Potro of Argentina has won a Grand Slam title before.
All this said, Wimbledon is always home to a few upsets and some exciting tennis. Tune into ESPN and the Tennis channel from June 24th to July 7th to catch some of the action.