What happens when one big tennis star is upset at a grand slam? Say, in the first round? Big news. Let’s say more go down. Bigger news. But what happens when more of tennis’ household names are losing than are advancing? Not in some ATP scrub event but the almighty championships at Wimbledon?
It’s disorder ON the court.
Serena Williams was ousted in the Round of 16 by the 23rd-seeded Sabine Lisicki ending an incredible match win streak that had pundits all but penciling her in to win in London.
Well, she’s done. And we’re just barely into the second week.
Williams’ upset might’ve been even bigger news in another scenario, but at Wimbledon 2013 she’s just the next in a line of tennis poster pin-ups to pack their bags early.
Nadal? Nixed. Federer? Fired. Tsonga? Sent home.
And then there’s the women’s side. Sharapova? Shunned. Wozniacki? Waived. And Victoria Azarenka pulled out via injury.
Of the eight Top 4 seeds in both the men’s and women’s brackets, only four remain. And with 32 tennis players in all still in it, that certainly says something.
In fact, there’s nearly as many unranked players as there are Top 4 seeds remaining. Even if the rest of the tournament goes “all chalk” and Novak Djokovic and Agnieszka Radwanska become the current Grand Slam title defenders, Wimbledon 2013 will go down as one of the wackiest ever.
But let’s be realistic: does anyone feel comfortable saying the second half of this tournament is going to be smooth sailing?
Andy Murray has a date with unranked Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals. At any of the grand slam, this would be all but a sure thing. But at Wimbledon 2013 and the weight of a demanding national tennis fan base on his shoulders? Something tells me Murray isn’t exactly relaxed.
Unlike in 2012, there’s no Olympics to provide a sort of ‘redo’ if Murray fails to win Wimbledon. The hometown Brits don’t care that Djokovic is still in the Men’s Draw and, by all accounts, should be considered the heavy favorite still to win. To them, Murray is the hometown guy who got to the finals last year and anything less this time around, especially with Nadal and Federer out of the way, would be considered an abject failure.
The presence of Murray and Djokovic at least gives off the illusion that order in the Men’s Draw is still somewhat intact. But on the women’s side? The two highest seeds remains, the 4th-seeded Radwanska and 6th-seeded Na Li, are pitted against one another in the quarterfinals. While one of them are assured of elimination, either the unranked Kaia Kanepi or 23rd-seeded Sabine Lisicki are guaranteed a ticket into the semis.
Usually it’s the second week — this week that has just begun — when Grand Slams like Wimbledon really start to get exciting. But if the second week of THIS year’s Wimbledon is anything like the first, it might just be enough to make even the most casual sports fan flip on the ‘telly’ and watch what’s going on.
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