Unpredictable weather? Sue Barker? Strawberries and cream? It can only mean one thing ɠWimbledon 2013 is upon us again!
At the start of last year, I was of the opinion that if Andy Murray didn’t win a Grand Slam during 2012 he would probably never win one.ʠInjuries have never been a major issue for him, unlike his counterpart Rafael Nadal.ʠHowever, one-sided Grand Slam final losses to his rivals raised questions about the Scotֳ ability to remain focused when it mattered most.ʠYet 2012 proved to be one of Murrayֳ finest years and he was practically injury-free to boot which aided his cause.
I was fortunate enough to attend a number of matches during Wimbledon 2012 and saw the assorted performances of many British players, including Murray.ʠHe reached his maiden Wimbledon final only to fall short in four sets against the evergreen Roger Federer.ʠBut that wasnִ the end of it.ʠHe came back to SW19 during that very summer due to the London Olympics and won gold in the menֳ singles and silver with Laura Robson in the mixed doubles.ʠNot only that, his winning momentum continued into the US Open where he claimed his first ever menֳ singles Grand Slam title in thrilling fashion and thus ending Britainֳ 76 year wait for one.
2013 has been a mixed bag for Murray so far.ʠHe reached another Australian Open final, only to lose again, albeit with a bit more gusto, against the unstoppable Novak Djokovic.ʠThis was followed by an unconvincing victory in Miami to claim his 9th Masters title.ʠMore worryingly he missed the French Open due to a back injury.ʠIt was the first time in 6 years Andy Murray had missed a Grand Slam event.ʠPreviously, a young Murray nursing a wrist problem was unable to compete at Wimbledon 2007.ʠHis decision to miss this yearֳ French Open was based on the premise of recuperation, in-order to be fully fit for Wimbledon.ʠThis seems to have paid off with satisfactory performances, which led to his 3rd title at the Queenֳ Club.ʠDespite an awkward slip in the final, there was no evidence of reoccurring back pain.
The below-par performance of other Britons at the French Open demonstrates how much the British public depend on Murray to maintain his elite-level status.ʠHis brotherֳ mixed doubles victory at Wimbledon 2007 and Jonathan Marrayֳ menֳ double win in 2012 are merely minor British successes at best in the grand scheme of things.ʠOf course Laura Robson and Heather Watson have improved of late and the British tennis team without Murray did well against Russia in the Davis Cup recently.ʠYet at present, an injury-free Murray is the sole-difference in Great Britain having presence in the final stages of all of the Grand Slam tournaments.
Murray should be fully fit and up to form come 24th June; the start date of this yearֳ Wimbledon Championships.ʠBut in tennis terms, aged 26, his best years are almost beyond him.ʠIf he doesnִ win Wimbledon this year, he will probably struggle in the years to come to match Fred Perryֳ accolade.ʠProvided Heather Watson isnִ suffering from any ill-effects post-glandular fever and Laura Robson is on form, we could expect a British woman or two to appear in the second week of Wimbledon for the first time in a long time.ʠAs for the men, Murray is the only hope.ʠDan Evans’ unfortunately lost in the Wimbledon qualifiers, in spite of his recent heroics in the Davis Cup and at the Queenֳ Club.ʠJames Ward seems to the only other British player who could make a mild impact of sorts.ʠLetֳ just hope that there is no early exit for Murray and that he can re-write history once again as we buckle up for another tennis roller coaster ride.
With special thanks to our guest writer Ash