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The last American Wimbledon Champion was Pete Sampris in 2000 against Aussie, Patrick Rafner. The last American to reach a final is Andy Roddick…of course losing to all time great Roger Federer.
It is said that American champions come in cycles and a great champion will surface… but that is not likely to happen, considering the trends of popularity in the sport which is sturdily decreasing in America and increasing dramatically in Europe. Let’s not forget tennis has always been a niche sport that will not necessarily improve in fan fare.
The chances of an American outside of the Williams sisters winning this Wimbledon is miniscule given the state of tennis on both sides of the ball; but miracles do happen. As much as I may want to see that happen, there are stories outside of the winless Americans.
Do we want another final with Nadal and Federer? Sure why not…we know the star factor and entertainment factor will be present…or maybe a final with Novak Djokovic, ranked number 2 and also has played very well this year. At one point this season, Djokovic had a 41 match winning streak, which came to an end on June 3rd at the hands of Federer.
So far at Wimbledon, we are witnessing the return of the William sisters after their battles with injury and age; the downfall of all tennis players. The first upset thus far has been former number one ranked player, Jankovic losing to Martinez in 3 sets. The number one ranked female in the world is a 20 year old from Denmark named Caroline Wozniacki, her path to the final will not be easy in a wide open field, but let’s be honest it all depends on the health of the William sisters and their ability to recover quickly. As of day 2, all of these women have been playing well…even the old (by tennis standards) Venus Williams.
Wozniacki looked the most impressive dismissing her opponent Parra Santonja (if you can call her that) in 2 sets without hardly breaking a sweat.
I don’t know about you guys, but I had been waiting for Isner versus Mahut …two warriors who gave us a great match last year which didn’t seem to want to end. It was obvious the pain and fatigue both men faced but they endured none the less, making history.
And now here we go again…the most unlikely matchup happened again and to be honest with you, it didn’t really live up to the expectations…although, it may have been too much to ask from these two men to deliver the same kind of match they did last time. After taking a 2 set lead, Isner the lengthy American finished a tough 3rd set and ended a match which people expected a lot more from; Mahut was no match for the bigger Isner on this day and he will move on to tougher competition at the same time trying to keep America alive at Wimbledon.
Let us fast forward to the quarter finals where the action has picked up a bit and the few faces of past winners have begun to drop like flies.
We started the week of the final 16 with major upsets of the William sisters…even through all their struggles, I kind of expected one of the two to win; mainly Serena. She has the sort of will and talent that I figured would carry here trough… given the fact that she may not be 100% after the year she has had- but it is over now, after losing in straight sets.
At this point, I wonder if Venus will win; consistently challenging and competing as she has done in the past…I know or at least I think Serena will be back in better shape than she played in Wimbledon 2011.
On the Men’s side of things, Federer surprisingly lost to Tsonga in 5 sets, only after winning the first 2 sets which has never happened in his illustrious career; Tsonga on the other hand, the 12th ranked tennis player in the world has beaten Federer twice after losing the first set.
Once again, the four best players have failed to reach the semifinals of any tournament since 1985…No Federer/Nadal final; maybe we will have the next best thing with Nadal versus Djokovic. Nadal on the other hand defeated the highest ranked American player left in the tournament, beating 10th ranked Mardy Fish in relatively uneventful fashion.
Sharapova is playing great tennis at this point, now she becomes the favorite to win on the women’s side after the undeserving number one ranked player laid an egg. But all the air has been taken out by the lack of big names and a true number one in the rankings. Nadal remains the guy in the men’s side but I can’t help think about the future and the role of an aging Federer in it.
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