Wimbledon 2009 Preview

With the French Open completed just over a week ago, it’s once again time for one of the premier events in the tennis world. Wimbledon, the third Grand Slam of the year, commences on Monday 22 June. Let’s get ready for two weeks of exciting grass court tennis on the famous grounds of the All England Club.

Unibet will offer live betting on all Men and Women singles matches and stream on six courts simultaneously in many of its markets!

Gentlemen’s Singles

Roger Federer finally conquered “La Coupe des Mousquetaires” by winning the French Open on his fourth attempt in a final in Paris. The Swiss super star made history as he won his fourteenth Grand Slam event and now ties Pete Sampras in the record books. What made the win even more spectacular was that Federer now has a complete career Grand Slam, having triumphed in Melbourne (3 times), Paris, Wimbledon (5 times) and New York (5 times). Having won Wimbledon five straight times, Federer’s reign in SW19 came to an end last year when he lost an epic five set final to Rafael Nadal. With a game finely tuned to grass, Federer will hope to regain his dominance as the best grass court player in the world.

Rafael Nadal burst onto the tennis scene as a clay court player, but has made incredible progress on faster surfaces which culminated with a Wimbledon title in 2008. The mentally tough Spaniard has already won six Grand Slam titles, but comes into SW19 with a slight lack of confidence. After winning the French Open every year between 2005 and 2008, Nadal suffered a shocking defeat to the hands of Robin Söderling in the fourth round of this year’s event. Nadal then opted to skip the lead-up tournament in Queens in order to rehabilitate his injured knee. However, we can be sure that the World No. 1 and defending champion will be ready to battle once he steps on the grass courts at the All England Club.

For the first time in many years, British tennis fans will have a realistic chance to see a home player raise the trophy. Andy Murray, the World No. 3, won the even at the Queen’s Club and has made huge progress over the last year. Last year, the Scot won four matches at Wimbledon including a great comeback win against Richard Gasquet. The quarterfinal finish was the starting point of an incredible past twelve months including a Grand Slam final at the US Open.

Novak Djokovic is the clear World No. 4 and will be a threat to anyone at Wimbledon. After a disappointing third round loss at the French Open and a loss already in the second round of last year’s Wimbledon, the Serbian will be keen to prove that he is a contender for the title. Djokovic reached the final of last week’s tournament in Halle and has proved that he can play well on the grass in the past.

Andy Roddick’s power game is well suited to the grass courts. The American has reached two Wimbledon finals, losing to Federer on both occasions. Roddick will want to prove that last year’s second round loss was a fluke. During the past few years, the big server has been ranked just outside the top three or four guys and is working very hard to get back into that group.

Juan Martin Del Potro is the World No. 5 but a rather inexperienced grass court player. The young Argentinean has never been past the second round at SW19 and has chosen to rest during the lead-up events. With a very strong and improving baseline game, Del Potro should be able to do some damage this year.

Other contenders include Fernando Verdasco and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Verdasco uses his left-handed serve to great effect on the grass courts and has reached the fourth round twice. With a much improved overall game, the Spaniard should be able to get further in 09. Tsonga is all about power and reached the fourth round in his only start at Wimbledon. That was back in 2007, when the Frenchman was ranked outside the Top 100 and had received a Wild Card on the basis of a strong performance in Surbiton and at Queen’s.

Ladies’ Singles

The women’s event is led by the Williams sisters. Venus is looking for a three-peat, having been crowned champion both in 07 and 08. Wimbledon is by far the tournament where Venus has achieved most of her success. The tall American has won the event five times and reached another two finals and has been the queen of Wimbledon during the past decade. Serena has had the better career but hasn’t fared as well at Wimbledon. However, her record there is very impressive too. Serena won back-to-back Wimbledon’s in 2002 and 2003 and has reached two finals since. In fact, one of the Williams sisters has won seven out of the past nine Wimbledon’s!

Dinara Safina is ranked as the World No. 1 but has never won a Grand Slam event. The Russian has reached three GS finals since the French Open last year, but has stumbled when the pressure has been high. Most recently, Safina lost in straight sets to countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final in Paris. Safina has never been past the third round at Wimbledon but is still the fourth favorite in this year’s tournament on a basis of her consistent form this year.

Maria Sharapova started competing again in May after being out with injury for ten months. Sharapova has won ten matches in the three tournaments she has played but is still looking for her first final since the comeback. The Sharapova story all started in 2004, when she won the Wimbledon title as a 17-year old. Since then, Sharapova has become a household name and won another two Slam titles. The Russian also achieved the World No. 1 ranking at the age of 18.

Victoria Azarenka has broken into the Top 10 this year but has never been past the quarterfinal on the Grand Slam level. The 19-year old from Belarus is always fighting very hard and has continuously improved her game over the years. Azarenka’s biggest win to date was the title in Miami early April. Since then, she has performed very consistently and reached the quarterfinals at the French Open.

Svetlana Kuznetsova was among the favorites but still surprised quite a few people when she won the French Open. It was her second Grand Slam title after winning the US Open already in 2004. While Kuznetsova prefers the slower surfaces, she has still managed to reach three quarterfinals at Wimbledon.

The Serbian duo of Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic haven’t performed as well as expected in 2009. Ivanovic has never regained her form from last summer, when she won in Paris, and has slipped all the way down to No. 13 on the rankings. Jankovic has won a few minor events but is struggling in the major tournaments when she is up against the top players. Jankovic has never reached the quarterfinals at SW19, whereas Ivanovic has one semifinal to her credit.

Other players to look out for in the women’s draw are Elena Dementieva, Caroline Wozniacki, Samantha Stosur and Marion Bartoli.

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