Former Davis Cup captain John Lloyd casts his eye over Serena Williams’ chances.
Serena Williams was humiliated at the French Open a couple of weeks ago. That is why I once again make the American my hot favourite to win the Wimbledon title for a sixth time!
My reasoning is simple. Serena is a great champion and great champions bounce back from bad results. I saw as much at close hand during my years married to Chris Evert. Defeats really hurt Chris almost like physical injury.
What motivated Chrissie even more than the desire to win titles was the hatred of losing matches. Boy, did she hate losing!
I believe all multiple champions have this mind-set. When they suffer defeat, they want to go out and prove it was a one-off, to show they are still the best.
I can’t explain Williams’ loss to the almost unknown Spanish girl Garbine Muguruza in the Second Round in Paris. Something was going on out there. She didn’t seem to have much focus at all.
If the result was completely unexpected, the score 6-2, 6-2 was shattering. It doesn’t make any sense at all. So I think there must have been an underlying reason that has not come out.
If Serena is completely fit, and mentally focused, then I think she will come to Wimbledon to show that she is still the boss of the Women’s Tour.
She is the complete player on grass. She has perhaps the greatest woman’s serve of all time, a fabulous two-handed backhand, is a wonderful athlete and a terrific competitor.
Put it all together, and Serena does not have a weakness for her rivals to target. Her opponents cannot take a game plan on court. They have to do their own thing and hope Serena has a bad day.
Surprisingly, there have been quite a few bad days in the last year. Her loss to Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon a year ago; her defeat by Ana Ivanovic at the Australian Open in January; and that shocker in Paris.
That does somewhat diminish the Fear Factor that used to give Serena a head start in every match.
Those losses also highlight the growing depth in the women’s game. Going back to the era of Chris and Martina Navratilova who each won 18 Grand Slams, one more than Serena they barely lost a game in the opening three rounds of the Grand Slams.
At the French Open this year, the top three seeds in the Women’s Singles all lost early on. The depth of talent has improved greatly in recent years, and the top players are under a growing threat in the early rounds.
Right behind the top two comes 20-year-old Canadian Eugenie Bouchard. I believe it’s only a question of time before she wins a Grand Slam.
Could it be Wimbledon this year? I wouldn’t rule it out. Bouchard is a fearless striker of the ball, and pushed Sharapova all the way in the French semi-final.
I don’t recall seeing Simona Halep play on grass courts, but the way the Romanian girl has played this year, she must come into the reckoning. Halep has had a very impressive and consistent year, and is another challenger to the top two.
There are several more women who will quietly fancy their chances, like Petra Kvitova, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Li Na and Agnieska Radwanska.
An outsider might be the American Sloane Stevens. I like her attitude. She has fun on and off court. She’s a great striker of the ball, and could make her Grand Slam breakthrough this Wimbledon.