__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

SLAM DANCE WILL SERENA TWIRL OR TUMBLE AT SW19?

CLIFF Q&A

FACING NADAL

RIVALS REVEAL THEIR VIEWS ON RAFA

DRAWS &

DARK HORSES REVISITING ROGER 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 1


CONTENTS

SERENA’S CALENDAR GRAND SLAM: IMPOSSIBLE OR INEVITABLE? 12 LAWN CARE

Feature

By Nick McCarvel

2

24

2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW

6 WIMBLEDON BY THE NUMBERS

8 CLIFF DRYSDALE

14 SENIOR CLASS Feature

By Erik Gudris

16

Interview

By Chris Oddo

By Richard Pagliaro

5 10 TOP WIMBLEDON

GRASS DARK HORSES Feature

18

STORYLINES Feature

WIMBLEDON GENTLEMEN’S PREVIEW Feature

By Erik Gudris

By Richard Pagliaro


30

8 28 20 WIMBLEDON LADIES PREVIEW Feature

6

By Richard Pagliaro

23 WIMBLEDON TV SCHEDULE 24 SLAM DANCE Feature

By Chris Oddo

28

FACING NADAL Feature By Scoop Malinowski

30

REVISITING ROGER Feature

FIND US ONLINE

TennisNow.com

By Richard Pagliaro

34

CLOSING SHOTS Photo Gallery By Christopher Levy

facebook.com/tennisnow twitter.com/Tennis_Now youtube.com/user/TennisNowTV pinterest.com/TennisNow/

Live Scores Gossip Draws TV Listings Instruction Results Rankings Player Interviews Editorials Statistics Match Analysis Daily Updates Daily Video News Forums Photo Gallery Blogs 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 3


ORDER TODAY, SHIPS TODAY!

FREE SHIPPING & FREE RETURNS Exclusions may apply.

713.435.4800 4

2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW

Shop TennisExpress.com


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Wimbledon is the most majestic Grand Slam. Winning Wimbledon is a major mind game. In his landmark book How to Play Better Tennis, Hall of Famer Bill Tilden, the first American to win Wimbledon, wrote: “The first great fundamental of tennis is to train yourself to concentrate so that you never stop concentrating while on court.”

Erik Gudris

Scoop Malinowski

Grass-court season grew by a week this year. Nick McCarvel visited the tune-up tournaments to learn how players transition from the gritty red clay to the slick lawns.

Nick McCarvel

Thirty-somethings Serena, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, David Ferrer, Martina Hingis and Lleyton Hewitt may make some major noise, writes Erik Gudris in Senior Class.

Eleven years ago, Roger Federer Sounds easy enough. Until you try it. wrapped up a historic season, winning all 11 finals he contested, Imagine you’re Serena Williams including Wimbledon, then traveled playing for a second Serena Slam to New York City to address the and continuing your quest for the United Nations. Before Federer fourth calendar Grand Slam in spoke to the UN in November, 2004, women’s history. Compartmentalizing he sat down with us for an extensive pressure from all that history hanging interview. Read what the 23-year-old over your head and focusing solely Federer felt about his game and life on the swirling yellow ball can be as in Revisiting Roger. daunting as blocking out Big Ben booming in your ear. Enjoy this Wimbledon preview and The Championships. Chris Oddo examines the challenges the 20-time Grand Slam champion confronts at The Championships. Steve Darcis pulled off one of the greatest Grand Slam upsets in history shocking Rafael Nadal in the 2013 first round. How did he do it? Author Scoop Malinowski, who interviewed Darcis, Novak Djokovic, Pete Sampras and more for his latest book, Facing Nadal, provides an answer in an exclusive excerpt.

WRITERS

Richard Pagliaro Editor Tennis Now Magazine

Chris Oddo

PHOTOGRAPHY Christopher Levy Corleve/Mark Peterson AELTC @British Tennis Gerry Weber Open Mercedes Cup Queen’s Club Wimbledon

DESIGN Kriss Zambrano

CONTACT US To advertirse with us: ads@tennisnow.com General comments or questions: media@tennisnow.com

Tennis Now

1 Barker Street, Suite 612 Mount Kisco, NY 10549 914.595.4211 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 5


491,084 10MILLION Peak audience that tuned into the BBC’s telecast of Novak Djokovic’s five-set win over Roger Federer in the 2014 final.

Total attendance for the 13 days of the 2014 Championships.

70--68 Final set score of John Isner’s 2010 victory over Nicolas Mahut in the longest match ever played.

350,000 Cups of tea and coffee that are served annually during The Championships.

129 MPH The speed of Venus Williams’s 2008 serve — the fastest serve ever struck by a woman at Wimbledon.

2,456,000

WIMBLEDON BY THE NUMBERS

Viewers that tuned in to ESPN’s telecast of the 2014 men’s final.

6

2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW


INNUMERABLE 10 Number of times John McEnroe’s famed “You cannot be serious!” rant has been replayed over the years.

Minutes maximum to close the retractable roof over Centre Court.

148 MPH $2.98 MILLION

(£1.88 MILLION) Check each singles champion will earn for capturing the 2015 title.

The speed of Taylor Dent’s 2010 serve — the fastest serve ever blasted by a man at Wimbledon.

123

Wimbledon titles won by Venus Williams (five singles and five doubles.)

7

Number of times The Championships were completed without rain delays (since 1922): 1931, 1976, 1977, 1993, 1995, 2009, 2010.

41

Number of balls used in John Isner’s epic 11 hour, 5-minute marathon win over Nicolas Mahut that spanned three days in 2010.

Grass courts are available for Wimbledon, including 19 Championships grass courts plus 22 grass practice courts in Aorangi Park and at Southlands College.

113

15,000 0

Aces Isner hit in his 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68 win over Mahut.

Bananas are consumed by players during the course of the fortnight.

Number of years Slazenger has been the official ball of The Championships.

Seats are available at Centre Court.

1

Percentage of fluorescent or “solid mass coloring” clothing players are permitted to wear on court at Wimbledon under the All England Club’s “almost entirely in white” clothing rule.

Hawk, named Rufus, that visits the All England Club and flies for about one hour most mornings starting at 9 a.m. to prevent pigeons from turning the lawn into a latrine. 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 7


Hall of Famer Cliff Drysdale has been a Wimbledon fixture for more than a half-century, including serving as ESPN’s voice of tennis for more than three decades. Drysdale’s most memorable moment at The Championships featured a walk down the aisle followed by a trip onto Centre Court. “I’ve been going to Wimbledon since 1962, and reached the semifinals twice and three more times in doubles, but in 1968 I had the most interesting day,” Drysdale recalled. “I got married in the morning in the Chelsea section of London and played on Centre Court in the afternoon. My bride, Jean, was the sister of my Davis Cup teammate Gordon Forbes. And my partner that day — on the court — was Torben Ulrich, father of musician [Metallica drummer] Lars Ulrich. We lost the match but it was a beautiful time.” We caught up with the iconic broadcaster for this interview. 8

2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW

THE TENNIS NOW INTERVIEW

CLIFF DRYSDALE By Richard Pagliaro

Tennis Now: Novak Djokovic hired Boris Becker to help him get over the finish line in Grand Slam finals. He is now 8-8 in major finals. How can a coach help a player prepare for those critical stages in major finals? Cliff Drysdale: You’re talking to somebody who believes coaches have got some relevance, obviously. But to me, with or without Boris Becker, it’s still a matter of winning a couple of points here and there. The idea that some

ex-champion is psychologically gonna carry you over the hump on his shoulders — it doesn’t make sense to me. I am not blaming Becker for the fact his record in major finals has been less than stellar compared to his overall record. TN: Conventional wisdom suggests if Roger Federer is going to win an 18th Grand Slam title, then Wimbledon is the likely place. Do you believe Wimbledon is his best shot for another major?


to say “I’m in this for myself, this is me versus the field and I’ve had enough.” Today, if you stop, then you let down the hundred people that rely on you and your expertise as a tennis player. That’s one explanation. Another is the fact players are so much more inclined to keep themselves in top physical condition that it’s not really a question of physicality anymore. Because they’re in spectacular shape and getting better. The age shift in the sport, that is true. TN: Over the last half-century you’ve either played or covered the greatest champions. Years ago, you told me Roger Federer was the greatest player you ever saw. Do you still regard Roger as the greatest?

Cliff Drysdale: I don’t think there is any special advantage Federer has at Wimbledon. His toughest Grand Slam is the French and after that I give him an equal shot of winning in Australia or at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon is certainly one of those where he’s got a legitimate shot of winning. So I understand about conventional wisdom, but we conventionalists have been writing him off as a potential Grand Slam winner now for years. And Federer always ends up in the last eight, most often in the last four and sometimes in the last two. So the Federer story has not yet been finished. That book is still open.

TN: When you see a 33-yearold Serena Williams dominating the sport, a 33-year-old Roger Federer playing dynamic tennis, a 30-year-old Stan Wawrinka winning Roland Garros, a 37-year-old Tommy Haas coming back, are we entering the senior age? Will over 30 Grand Slam champions become more frequent? Cliff Drysdale: The answer is unequivocally yes. I’ve been struggling with why. And I’m having a tough time answering that question. I think it has to do with the fact that the game is now a movement of corporate enterprises. It is less easy now

Cliff Drysdale: I think overall Roger Federer is the best I’ve ever seen. It is hard not to give Djokovic or Nadal, if he gets himself back on track, a huge nod. And I really think with Rafa’s record against Roger, it speaks volumes for where he would be in history. The question is if Novak had won the French Open and ends up winning the Grand Slam, then how can you not enter Novak into the conversation of the Greatest of All Time? It’s always a tough question. I think overall I would have to give the nod to Federer for his consistency and excellence over the years. And let’s not forget: He’s still won more Grand Slams than anybody else.

This is a condensed version of the interview originally published on Tennis Now.com. To read the complete Cliff Drysdale interview.

2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 9


TOP 5 WIMBLEDON STORYLINES By Erik Gudris

Champions confront compelling plots at The Championships

A SECOND SERENA SLAM? World No. 1 Serena Williams enters Wimbledon seeking to add to her already legendary status. Having won the Australian Open and Roland Garros, Williams is the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win the first two major titles in a season. If Williams can win Wimbledon for the first time in three years, she will be one title away (U.S. Open) from completing the rare calendar-year Grand Slam. And, if she wins Wimbledon, she’ll wrap up another Serena Slam — holding all four major titles simultaneously. Having suffered only one loss this season, the biggest question all fortnight will be if anyone can stop her from achieving more history. Perhaps defending champion Petra Kvitova, who handed Serena her lone loss of the year in Madrid, or former semifinalist Victoria Azarenka have the best chance of denying her. But as we saw in Paris, beating Williams is easier said than done. 10 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW

CAN DJOKOVIC REBOUND AFTER PARIS PAIN? Though he smiled during the trophy presentation in Paris, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic was clearly disappointed when Stan Wawrinka denied him the career Grand Slam by winning Roland Garros. Though his French Open final loss still must sting, the reigning Wimbledon champion still enters SW19 as the man to beat. After all, Djokovic has had a nearly perfect season at 41-3 including winning the Australian Open and every Masters event he’s contested. Djokovic might be keeping a low profile right now, but expect him to roar back to life once he steps onto Centre Court.


MURRAY MANIA OR MURRAY MUDDLE? RAFA’S RESURRECTION Unlike at Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal will not be the center of attention in London. Having just lost his French Open crown and conceding his confidence is lagging, the Spanish star steps onto the lawns as something of an unknown quantity. Despite being a two-time former champion, Nadal is a bit under the radar. The King of Clay won his first grass-court title in five years at Stuttgart, but lost early at Queen’s Club. Discounting Nadal is a mistake. Seeded No.10, he could well face a top four seed early. But if Nadal can find his “A” game, he can certainly beat anyone and use a big upset to fuel his confidence and advance deep into the draw.

Andy Murray may prove to be the player to watch throughout the fortnight. Though he will be the object of obsession for UK fans, Murray enters as the second favorite to win it all behind Djokovic. The 2013 Wimbledon champion enjoyed a solid clay-court season and just won the Queen’s Club title for a fourth time. While certainly brimming with confidence, Murray must avoid getting bogged down in any potential close earlyround matches if he wants to be sharp to defeat perhaps both Djokovic and Federer to win the title. A tough task for anybody, but with a whole nation behind him, and knowing he’s won it all before, Murray might just write the perfect ending for himself on the final Sunday.

WILL FEDERER WIN HIS 18TH GRAND SLAM CROWN? Wimbledon, and especially Centre Court, is viewed as Roger Federer’s house. After all, he’s won seven Wimbledon titles and is still considered the best-grass court player of his generation. Yet, Federer suffered a five-set loss to Djokovic in the 2014 final and at age 33 some wonder if Federer can reach the final one more time. His record eighth trophy in Halle is a good sign for the second-seeded Swiss, who will want to prove that he still owns the keys to the sport’s most famous court.

2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 11


LAWN CARE

How players find their footing navigating the grasscourt bridge between Paris and London By Nick McCarvel

12 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW

“I’m like a little kid at a candy store whenever I step on grass for the first time (each year). It’s never been an issue for me.”

“It takes a couple of days to get used to the footing and the movement,” American Steve Johnson said in Halle.

You’d expect those words to come from Roger Federer or Venus Williams, with an astounding 12 Wimbledon singles titles between them. But, instead, they were uttered in Eastbourne by Caroline Wozniacki, a player who has never made it past the fourth round at the All England Club in her career.

“It’s a little faster and it’s a lot lower of a bounce,” said Ivo Karlovic of the transition to grass from spring clay season, which culminates at the French Open in Paris the week before players hit the lawns. The big-serving Karlovic knocked 45 aces — an ATP record for most aces in a bestof-three-sets match — upsetting Tomas Berdych in Halle. But even the man who can end points with a single swing concedes adjusting to low balls on grass can be challenging.

This is the most intriguing part of the tennis calendar: Adored by many, excelled in by few. The grass-court season grew by 50 percent this year, a week added to the Wimbledon lead-up with a third set of preview events pinned “For me, it’s always difficult in the to the calendar. beginning because of my knees and having to bend really low,” With that additional week, so said the 6-foot-11 Karlovic. “With extends the adoration, but it also my height, that is not easy. I lends well for player preparation need some extra days to adjust.” for Wimbledon itself. There’s more time to get low on those It’s not just Karlovic. groundstrokes, hone in on their even more important service World No. 8 Ekaterina Makarova motions and find footing on the said grass-court tennis produces sometime slick and unsettling a “rhythm” that the game grass surface. doesn’t possess elsewhere. The Russian was a first-time singles quarterfinalist at Wimbledon a year ago after three trips to the doubles quarterfinals.


“(The serve) is really important on this surface,” Makarova explained. “I like this surface, and I was growing on the synthetic grass when I was a kid, so maybe that’s why (I’m) a little bit used to it.” Much like Wimbledon itself, the grass-court tournaments offer a sort of romance with their tennis. In Halle, it is the feel of a grand grass event in the middle of the sweeping German countryside, while Queen’s Club is a tightly constructed, cozy and charming club inside the urban confines London itself. Other events like Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne offer a salt-of-the-earth feel – along with the top-tier tennis. “I like that it’s very kind of low key for us. We can just walk to the matches,” said Wozniacki, the 2009 Eastbourne champion, of returning to the tournament. “The crowd is really nice. We always have big crowds. The courts are nice. They always take good care of us. It’s just kind of a nice calm before the storm of next week (at Wimbledon).” The courts can differ significantly from one grass event to the

next. Johnson talked of different feel playing on the Halle grass compared to that of Wimbledon. “It’s definitely not exactly like Wimbledon,” he said. “It’s lowerbouncing and quicker, but they are great grass courts.” Halle and Queen’s Club were each elevated from ATP 250 tournaments to 500-level status, while Stuttgart moved from clay to grass. The WTA took sole possession of the event in Eastbourne, as the men moved to Nottingham – two weeks after the new women’s event there. It’s a grass schedule now crowded with opportunity in what has always been a short bridge between Paris and London. “We now have this prominent middle week for Halle and Queen’s,” said ATP Player Council president Eric Butorac. “It gives us a chance to shine with two of our premier tournaments.” And it also gives the players a chance to shine – even more. More grass-court tennis means higher-quality ball. A sweet reward for Wozniacki and the rest of the players who crave their tennis on grass.

“MORE GRASSCOURT TENNIS MEANS HIGHERQUALITY BALL.” Nick McCarvel is a freelance tennis writer and frequent Tennis Now contributor who plays his best tennis on grass. Follow Nick on Twitter: @nickmccarvel

2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 13


SENIOR CLASS

VENUS WILLIAMS

14 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW

Wimbledon 2015 features a highprofile group of veteran stars who could create the biggest stories on the fabled lawns By Erik Gudris

Many still think the five-time champion could win one more Wimbledon. Though she just celebrated her 35th birthday, the elder Williams is back in the Top 20 again and won her 46th career title in Auckland earlier this year. If Williams gets the right draw and plays her best on the surface that best suits her powerful game, then she just might add one more impressive chapter to her storied career. LLEYTON HEWITT A former world No. 1 and the 2002 champion, the 34-yearold Australian is taking a final bow at this year’s Wimbledon. Hewitt was granted a maindraw wild card so he could play SW19 one last time as a part of his year-long farewell tour. Despite numerous injuries, Hewitt remains a formidable foe and a tough early-round opponent: He owns Wimbledon wins over Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori in recent years. The fiery “Rusty” would love to go out pulling a few more upsets on the lawn he once ruled. MARTINA HINGIS While she shares a first name with one of the greatest of grass-court champions, the former world No. 1 isn’t done trying to add another Wimbledon title to her resume. Now age 34, Hingis returned to SW19 last year in women’s doubles. This year with her new partner, doubles world No. 1 Sania Mirza, Hingis is part of one of the few teams that has a real chance to win the title—19 years after the Swiss won her first Wimbledon doubles crown at the age of 15.


ROGER FEDERER The 33-year-old Grand Slam king continues to make Wimbledon and especially Centre Court his home. The seven-time Wimbledon champion continues his quest for an eighth gentlemen’s title and 18th career Grand Slam crown a year after he was runner-up to Novak Djokovic. While Federer’s increased use of serve and volley is a perfect match for the grass, the Swiss superstar’s vast experience over the years at SW19 just might be his most valuable asset. SERENA WILLIAMS She turned pro in 1995, won her first major title in 1999 and continues to dominate the sport at age 33. The five-time Wimbledon champion is known for her power and for owning the best serve in women’s tennis history. In recent years, the world No. 1 has been revitalized showing more patience, variety and even better fitness than she did in her twenties. With her second “Serena Slam” and the calendar Grand Slam in sight, a focused Williams will be hungry for her first Wimbledon singles crown since 2012. DAVID FERRER The indefatigable counter-strike master continues proving his resiliency 15 years into his pro career. The Spanish star has been a mainstay of the Top 10 for many years as his game translates well to any surface. A Wimbledon quarterfinalist in 2012 and 2013, Ferrer certainly could reach the elite eight again this year.

admire and root for the Gallic flair of the explosive Tsonga. The newly-turned 30-yearold reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 2011 and 2012. Tsonga’s recent run to the French Open semifinals, his damaging serve and all-court skills make him a final four threat at SW19. FELICIANO LOPEZ Spain has produced many of the best clay-courters in the game, but Lopez stands out on grass. The 33-year-old Lopez is known for his throwback serve-and-volley style that includes a potent left-handed serve. Lopez is playing some of his best tennis in recent years that includes reaching a career No. 12 ranking. A three-time quarterfinalist in 2005, 2008, and 2011, Lopez has the game and experience to reach the last eight once again. STAN WAWRINKA Call him a late bloomer, but at age 30 Stan the Man has earned his place among the ATP elite. Fresh off his second Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, Wawrinka enters this year’s Wimbledon as the man to watch. He achieved his best result at Wimbledon last year by making the quarterfinals. With his tour-best one-handed backhand and newfound belief that he can beat the very best, Wawrinka can go much deeper in this year’s draw. Stan has reached the quarterfinals or better in six of his last seven Grand Slam tournaments.

JO-WILFRIED TSONGA While UK fans are certainly known for being reserved, plenty 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 15


GRASS DARK HORSES By Chris Oddo

Ranked outside the Top 10, these players can make deep runs at SW19

NO.14

NO.18

Throw the ranking out the window because the 2013 Wimbledon finalist possesses something more important than a ranking when she comes to The Championships: Magic! She’s 23-6 lifetime and has reached at least the quarterfinals in her last five appearances. This year, Lisicki started her grass-court season by breaking the WTA’s record for aces in a match at Birmingham, a clear indication that Boom Boom hasn’t lost her mojo on the surface.

NO.29

NO.14

Kevin Anderson

The hard-serving South African is a bit of a late bloomer, but the 29-year-old occupies a careerhigh ranking of 14 after his ride to the Queen’s Club final, where he proved that he can be an absolute nightmare on grass. The 6-foot-8 Anderson has the ability to serve anybody off the court, and his extra-wide wingspan helps him knock off volleys and smashes at net. Having reached the Wimbledon round of 16 last year before bowing out to Andy Murray, Anderson has a good shot to take it one step further this year. 16 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW

Sabine Lisicki

Nick Kyrgios

The 20-year-old Aussie has had an an underwhelming grass season, playing uninspired tennis at Queen’s Club, splitting with coach Todd Larkham and admitting he felt like hiding out in his apartment and playing video games for a week. Not a great sign for a youngster long on talent, but short on maturity. So why pick Kyrgios as a dark horse? Because he raises his game at the Slams, he beat No. 1 Rafael Nadal en route to the 2014 Wimbledon quarterfinals and his brash, quick-strike style is perfectly suited for lawn success.

NO.37

BOOM BOOM HASN’T LOST HER MOJO ON GRASS. NO.18


NO.37

NO.16

NO.47

Jerzy Janowicz

A 2013 semifinalist who possesses a wicked serve and flat, pulsating groundstrokes, Janowicz showed very good form in Halle, pushing Kei Nishikori to the limit in the quarterfinals. The unseeded Pole-verizer is a player nobody wants to face at Wimbledon. The 6-foot-8 Janowicz thrives on the faster surfaces and should be both dangerous and confident—a lethal combination on grass.

NO.11 NO.16

Venus Williams

Does the five-time Wimbledon champion have another magical run at SW19 in her? Of course she does! Venus may have had a shaky clay season, going 2-3 and falling in the first round at Roland Garros, but the 35-yearold is a different player on grass. Last year it took everything eventual-champion Petra Kvitova had to knock Williams out in the third round at Wimbledon, and if Venus brings that type of game to a kinder draw, she’s definitely capable of surging into week two.

Karolina Pliskova

The tall, cool Czech entered 2015 with only two grass-court wins, but as she powered to the Birmingham final, it became painfully obvious to opponents that that statistic was a meaningless one. The WTA’s ace leader can make it rain with her serve, and she’s also quite lethal from the baseline, striking hard, flat groundies. The intangibles also favor Pliskova heading into Wimbledon. There are good reasons why she’s won 34 matches this season: She’s mentally tough, doesn’t shrink from big moments and possesses the ability to deliver in the clutch.

Kristina Mladenovic

The Frenchwoman reached the ‘s-Hertogenbosch quarterfinals then broke out in Birmingham where she upset Genie Bouchard and Simona Halep before losing to Karolina Pliskova in the semifinals. The 22-year-old is blessed with a big, booming serve and a powerful baseline game. Mladenovic appears very comfortable on the grass this season. She entered the season with only two main-draw, grasscourt wins to her name, but after two events she’s already tripled that total in 2015.

NO.24

Viktor Troicki

A year removed from his drug ban, the Serbian is playing some of the finest, free-flowing tennis of his career. Troicki upset Marin Cilic en route to the Stuttgart final before losing to Rafael Nadal. At Queen’s Club, he defeated Cilic and John Isner before bowing to Andy Murray in the semifinals. Troicki can deliver big serves, but he’s not a one-trick pony. He moves well for his size, has touch at net and could certainly advance to Wimbledon’s second week.

NO.24 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 17


WIMBLEDON GENTLEMEN’S PREVIEW By Richard Pagliaro

Novak Djokovic faces a firstround stress test followed by an inviting first week at Wimbledon. Seven-time champion Roger Federer, 2013 champion Andy Murray and two-time champion Rafael Nadal — who have all won grass-court titles this season — reside in the bottom half of the draw, opposite the top seed. The world No. 1, who has not played a match since losing to Stan Wawrinka in the Roland Garros final, could face the fourth-seeded Swiss in the Wimbledon semifinals. Ballistic-serving Milos Raonic, temperamental Nick Kyrgios and 2014 Queen’s Club champion Grigor Dimitrov, whom Djokovic defeated in the 2014 Wimbledon semifinals, are also potential semifinal opponents for the Serbian, who has surged into the semifinals in 19 of his last 20 Grand Slam appearances. 18 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW

FIRST QUARTERFINAL PREDICTION

(1) Novak Djokovic (9) Marin Cilic Two-time Wimbledon champion Djokovic opens against Philipp Kohlschreiber, who serves bigger than his 5-foot-10 size suggests, possesses a versatile one-handed backhand, reached the 2010 Wimbledon quarterfinals and nearly knocked Roger Federer out of Halle earlier this month. The winner of the match will play either 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt or veteran lefty Jarkko Nieminen for a spot in round three. Two of the biggest servers in the tournament — Wimbledon marathon man John Isner and Queen’s Club finalist Kevin Anderson — loom in the top quarter along with former quarterfinalist Bernard Tomic and U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori, who retired from his Halle semifinal with a calf injury.

“ROGER FEDERER SHOULD SEE OPPORTUNITY.”


SECOND QUARTERFINAL PREDICTION

THIRD QUARTERFINAL PREDICTION

Arguably the most volatile quarter in the draw, predicting the winner of this section is as challenging as forecasting the next Loch Ness Monster sighting. Stan solidified his status as The Man with a superb Roland Garros. The two-time Grand Slam champion concedes grass is his least favorite surface: Wawrinka has failed to survive the second round in four of the last five years.

Murray buried 77 years of ghosts to restore British rule to The Championships two years ago. If he sustains the all-court assertiveness and serving he showed winning Queen’s Club, he could haunt the field this fortnight. Murray may well have to confront a titanic-server — No. 13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 23 Ivo Karlovic or left-hander Gilles Muller, whom the Scot beat in the Queen’s Club quarterfinals.

(4) Stan Wawrinka (26) Nick Kyrgios

Three former semifinalists in this section — No. 7 Raonic, No. 11 Dimitrov and 21st-seeded Richard Gasquet — are all capable grass-court players, but all enter amid questions. Raonic is coming off foot surgery that forced him out of Paris, a slumping Dimitrov has been experimenting with new racquets and fluctuating game plans and Gasquet is capable of soaring or sputtering. Kyrgios bombed out in Queen’s Club then split with coach Todd Larkham. So why pick the unpredictable Aussie? Because Kyrgios can light up the Grand Slam stage, has the weapons to do damage on serve and return and seems to thrive amid chaotic conditions.

(3) Andy Murray (10) Rafael Nadal

Players believe Nadal is more vulnerable these days. “His legs don’t look as strong to me. He doesn’t seem to have that firststep quickness,” John McEnroe said of Nadal. No. 22 seed Viktor Troicki, who lost to Nadal in the Stuttgart final and fell to Murray in the Queen’s Club semifinal, could face the Spaniard in round three followed by a Nadal-David Ferrer fourth-rounder. Though Rafa’s confidence is sagging and shots are sometimes landing short, he beat quality opposition winning his first grass-court crown in five years in Stuttgart and should be both rested and highly-motivated to surpass the fourth round for the first time in four years.

FOURTH QUARTERFINAL PREDICTION

(2) Roger Federer (6) Tomas Berdych Players often claim they don’t preview their draws, but if Roger Federer permits himself a sneak peek he should see opportunity in his sights. Fresh of his Open Era recordextending 15th grass-court title in Halle, Federer could face successive matches against bigserving Americans: Sam Querry in the second round and Wimbledon doubles champion Jack Sock in round three. Federer is moving fluidly, playing with ambition and is fourth on the ATP in service games won (91 percent) this season. A Wimbledon finalist five years ago, Tomas Berdych has burst into the semifinals or better in seven of his first eight tournaments this season. Berdych’s flat strokes should play well on the lawns and he’s been opportunistic this year: Berdych is converting 47 percent of his break-point chances, which is second on the ATP Tour.

2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 19


Serena Williams’ quest to reclaim Wimbledon, complete the Serena Slam and move closer to the calendar-year Grand Slam is cluttered with champions who can cause complications. A pair of former top-ranked players Williams knows well—older sister Venus and rival Victoria Azarenka—could present a double dose of danger the world No. 1 must overcome to turn SW19 into SW21 by winning her 21st career Grand Slam crown.

WIMBLEDON LADIES PREVIEW 20 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW

Williams, who is playing to complete her second Serena Slam and achieve the rare feat of holding all four Grand Slam championships simultaneously, will juggle the burden of playing for history with the pressures of powerful opponents.

By Richard Pagliaro


FIRST QUARTERFINAL PREDICTION

(1) Serena Williams (23) Victoria Azarenka Short-term memory loss is a prerequisite for Slam success, but neither Serena nor Vika will forget their recent controversial Roland Garros match where Williams rallied for a three-set victory. They could meet again in the quarterfinals. But Serena could first face 32nd-seeded Caroline Garcia followed by a fourth-round reunion with Venus. The five-time Wimbledon champion beat her little sister in their most recent meeting in Montreal last summer. Serena leads their head-to-head series 14-11, including a 3-2 edge in their Wimbledon meetings. Intriguing first-round matches in this quarter include an all-Slovak showdown between Daniela Hantuchova and 2014 Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova and 30th-seeded Swiss Belinda Bencic versus 2010 semifinalist Tsvetana Pironkova.

SECOND QUARTERFINAL PREDICTION

(4) Maria Sharapova (11) Karolina Pliskova Eleven years after she stunned reigning champion Serena with an audacious baseline assault to claim her first Grand Slam title, Maria Sharapova returns to SW19 more accomplished on dirt than grass. Sharapova, who will be in the spotlight facing British wild card Johanna Konta in round one, plays bold first-strike tennis that should carry her past the fourth round for the first time in four years — if she can tame an unruly serve. Lucie Safarova reached her first major semifinal at SW19 last year and arrives this year empowered by her run to the French Open final—and a shot at the doubles Grand Slam with partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands. The left-handed Czech’s slice serve and curling forehand are both major weapons on the lawn. Given Pliskova has never surpassed the third round of a Grand Slam in her career, it’s a risk picking her. However, she can dictate on serve, owns an expansive reach and pushed Angelique Kerber to a third-set tie break in the Birmingham final. 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 21


FOURTH QUARTERFINAL PREDICTION

(2) Petra Kvitova (21) Madison Keys

THIRD QUARTERFINAL PREDICTION

(10) Angelique Kerber (3) Simona Halep Simona Halep could face twotime Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round followed by a possible fourth-round against 2013 finalist Sabine Lisicki. Halep dissected Lisicki, 6-4, 6-0, in the 2014 Wimbledon quarterfinals. Though Kerber lacks any single imposing weapon, the sturdy German does just about everything well — except serve. Her lefty slice stays low on the lawns, but her second serve is very suspect. Camila Giorgi is a dangerous grass-court player, who won her first WTA title on the lawn of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and has been to the Wimbledon fourth round before. Giorgi’s gofor-broke serve— she leads the WTA in double faults— has held her back in the past. But she’s beaten Top 10 players on faster surfaces before, including No. 5 seed Caroline Wozniacki. They could meet in the third round. 22 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW

One of the purest ball-strikers in the sport, two-time champion Kvitova has the game to extend her reign. The left-hander can open the court with her stinging serve and punctuate points with flat strikes off both wings. Kvitova is one of the best volleyers in the Top 10, skilled on drive, angled and touch volleys. Injury, ennui and mental lapses have hurt the Czech. It’s been a disappointing year for Agnieszka Radwanska, but she thrives on grass, reached the Eastbourne final and won her last match with Kvitova at the 2014 WTA Finals. Left-hander Ekaterina Makarova plays hard and flat and can close at net — all qualities that helped her reach her first Wimbledon quarterfinal last year. Makarova has been to the final four in two of her last three majors and is a threat again here. Madison Keys’ commanding serve is one of the biggest shots in the game. If the powerful American can wield it wisely and avoid wild shot selection lapses, the Australian Open semifinalist is a real threat to reach the last eight at SW19.


WIMBLEDON TV SCHEDULE Event

Time (ET)

All TV Courts (up to 15), all day; Live@Wimbledon

6:30 a.m.

June 29 --- July 12

No Play Early Round Action

Ladies’ Quarterfinals, Centre Court Ladies’ Quarterfinals, Court One

8:00 a.m. --- 1:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. --- 4:00 p.m.

July 07

Network

Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals, Centre Court Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals, Court One

8:00 a.m. --- 3:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. --- 4:00 p.m.

July 08

7:00 a.m. --- 4:30 p.m.

June 29 --- July 13

Breakfast at Wimbledon

7:00 a.m. --- 8:00 a.m.

Ladies’ Semifinals

8:00 a.m. --- 1:00 p.m.

Breakfast at Wimbledon

7:00 a.m. --- 8:00 a.m.

July 09

Early Round Action

8:00 a.m. --- 4:00 p.m.

Breakfast at Wimbledon

7:00 a.m. --- 8:00 a.m.

Gentlemen’s Semifinals

8:00 a.m. --- 2:00 p.m.

July 04

Highlights of Week One

3:00 p.m. --- 6:00 p.m.

July 05

Round of 16, No.1 Court & Others Round of 16, Centre Court

7:00 a.m. --- 5:00 p.m. 8:00 a.m. --- 3:00 p.m.

July 10

Breakfast at Wimbledon

7:00 a.m. --- 8:00 a.m.

Ladies’ Championship

9:00 a.m. --- 3:00 p.m.

Ladies’ Championship

3:00 p.m. --- 6:00 p.m.

July 11

July 06

Breakfast at Wimbledon

8:00 a.m. --- 9:00 a.m.

Gentlemen’s Championship

9:00 a.m. --- 3:00 p.m.

Gentlemen’s Championship

3:00 p.m. --- 6:00 p.m.

July 12

2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 23


SLAM DANCE

Serena’s Calendar Grand Slam: Impossible or Inevitable? By Chris Oddo

As tennis fans and aficionados bear witness to the legendary career of Serena Williams we are perpetually struck by the revelation that there is very little that this woman cannot do.

And yet, mid-way through the 2015 season, we are struck by the realization that there is something that Serena Williams can’t do. Or, at least, hasn’t yet.

Grand Slam singles titles roll in with uncanny regularity: 20 of them and counting. Undeterred by her competition, only injuries or ennui can temporarily derail her onslaught of history. Her greatest rivals have been reduced to mere pawns in Williams’ power play. She brushes them aside with ease, the queen knocking the pawn off the chessboard—no matter the surface, no matter the situation or her age, which will soon hit 34, a number well beyond what many considered would be the peak of her powers.

That something, of course, is the calendar-year Grand Slam, a feat that has been achieved only three times in women’s tennis history, and just twice in the Open Era, by by Margaret Court in 1970 and by Steffi Graf, who won the Golden Slam in 1988. The American has achieved the “Serena Slam” before, when she won four consecutive majors starting at the 2002 French Open and taking her through the 2003 Australian Open.

The reigning U.S. Open, Australian Open and Roland Like waves on the mighty ocean, Garros champion can reclaim the Serena Slam by winning salvos from Serena’s racquet keep hitting the proverbial tennis Wimbledon, which would be amazing given she won her first beach with devastating, earthmajor at the 1999 U.S. Open. shaking force. 24 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW


2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 25


26 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW


But the calendar Slam is a different animal entirely. There’s no off-season to recharge the batteries and come back to continue the streak. You either run the table from Melbourne to New York or you don’t earn bragging rights.

the world No. 1 if she gets tight. She was able to survive on her legendary will to win Roland Garros despite shoddy moments and the flu, but if she gets behind at Wimbledon against a dangerous foe, she won’t have much recovery time.

This season marks the first time that Williams has won the first two majors of a calendar year. Several Grand Slam champions say only one person can deny Williams the Grand Slam: Serena herself.

“The only part that would worry me is she had many lapses where she got through just on her ability and will at the end,” Evert says. “But on grass… if you get yourself in a hole, some of the women could get away and win more points on the serve than they would on a clay court or a hard court.”

“We’ve all read that quote: These matches are all on her racquet. It’s kind of true at this point,” says 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert. Williams is a five-time Wimbledon champion who can take the racquet out of her opponent’s hands with the greatest serve in women’s tennis history. History is beckoning and Williams wants to answer the bell. “I think Serena’s got a great shot,” Evert says of her chances to win Wimbledon. “To me her game is better suited to the grass courts than it is to the clay. She struggled through the French, remarkably winning it. But her game, just because of her serve… Her power, her mobility on the court. It should be one of the easier Grand Slams for her.” Everything’s easy for Williams when she’s at her best. But things could get tricky for

Williams doesn’t deny that she covets the Slam, but concedes she’s struggled at SW19 recently. “Obviously I would love to win a Grand Slam,” Serena said after winning the French Open. “I haven’t done great at Wimbledon the past two years, so I’m going to take it a day at a time there. That’s the one I have been struggling at, so hopefully I will be able to play a little better there.” Serena Williams has spent a career proving that there is virtually nothing she can’t accomplish. And yet here she is with a carrot that would solidify her legacy for time immemorial dangling just out of her reach. It’s proving time for Serena Williams, on the grandest of Grand Slam scales. We know she can do it. But can she?

2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 27


Beating Rafael Nadal in a Grand Slam has been called the toughest task in tennis, but what does it actually feel like facing the two-time Wimbledon champion on court?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: NADAL MADE ME BETTER

“When you’re playing Rafa, you always expect one ball back Author and Tennis Now more than any other player can contributing writer Scoop give,” Djokovic said. “I think Malinowski set out to find out. challenges, big challenges that I had in my career changed me Malinowski interviewed more in a positive way as a player. than 50 players for his new Because of Rafa and because book, Facing Nadal: Symposium of Roger I am what I am today, of a Champion. you know, in a way, because when I reached the No. 3 in World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the world and won the first Roger Federer, Pat Cash, Pete Grand Slam title in 2008, the Sampras, Radek Stepanek, years after that I struggled a James Blake and Marat lot mentally to overcome the Safin are among the players doubts that I had. And all the who share their personal big matches I lost to these guys experiences with Nadal. was consistent but not winning the big matches, and then they An excerpt from the 220-page made me understand what I book is here. need to do on the court.” 28 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW

PETE SAMPRAS ON NADAL’S PLACE IN HISTORY Pete Sampras never faced Nadal in an ATP match, but believes the King of Clay has already secured his spot in tennis history. “Quite honestly I don’t think he really needs to [break the Grand Slam record,]” Sampras said. “He’s won all the majors, he’s won the Olympics and he’s dominated his main rival in Roger, and I don’t think his goal is 16, 17 or 18 [Grand Slam titles]. I think his goal is to improve as a tennis player and if it happens, great. He could do it. You look at what’s ahead — it’s a lot of work. He’s got to work so hard for every match that he plays. But he’s a beast. The kid is relentless.”


Veteran Steve Darcis, nicknamed “Shark” by friends, played assertive all-court tennis in an astonishing 7-6 (4), 7-6 (8), 6-4 upset of Nadal. The 135thranked Belgian was empowered by a simple approach that is the core of Nadal’s game: Fight for every point. “It was tough for Nadal because I saw in the middle of the third that he was complaining with the knee [injury],” Darcis said of his upset. “So I knew that it was my chance but before that I think it was okay, still a good performance because that was the first time he lost first round in a Slam. I think it was pretty big.”

If you lose one set, physically it’s very difficult because he’s giving you so many balls back, so much energy during every point, like we play three sets and we play three hours and a half. So it was very tough physically, mentally, because you have to come to the net all the time. You have to keep your game in mind. I could do it that day but it’s tough.”

RADEK STEPANEK ON NADAL AS THE GAME’S GREATEST FIGHTER

“It’s always a standout moment to play Nadal. Always challenging, very much so,” Facing Rafa requires opponents Stepanek said. “He’s the to take major risk repeatedly — biggest fighter on the Tour I have ever seen. “For me, Nadal is a great fighter on the court. Biggest fighter ever. Great person also, off the court. He’s very respectful to other guys, to all the players. He’s a really true champion.”

CLICK

HERE

FACING NADAL: SYMPOSIUM OF A CHAMPION

STEVE DARCIS ON SHOCKING NADAL IN THE 2013 WIMBLEDON FIRST ROUND

and stand up to the relentless physical and mental pressure the Spaniard exerts.

Fifteen days after Nadal made history by capturing his eighth career Roland Garros title, he suffered the first Grand Slam opening-round defeat of his career in a stunning Shark attack at Wimbledon.

“If you stay on the backhand and you try to play with him you have no chance,” Darcis said. “So you have to come to the net. You have to take risks. You have to attack all the time. It’s tough to keep that level during one match.

By Scoop Malinowski ATP tennis players discuss in detail what it’s like to compete against the great champion Rafael Nadal.

2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 29


REVISITING ROGER By Richard Pagliaro

At the end of his historic 2004 season, a 23-year-old Roger Federer addressed the United Nations—and sat down with us for this interview. Roger Federer had spent much of the 2004 season dazzling the tennis world when he arrived in New York City to address the United Nations.

Ogi, the UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, who patiently answered my questions and revealed he too was a Federer fan.

Shortly before Federer stepped on stage alongside UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to address the United Nations in November, 2004, he sat down with us in a conference room for an interview. Federer discussed his role as spokesman for the International Year of Sport and Physical Education and a superb season in which he won all 11 finals he contested becoming the first man since Mats Wilander in 1988 to capture three Grand Slam titles in one season.

Clad completely in black — black silk shirt, black jacket, black slacks and black shoes polished to such a sparkling sheen he could have shaved in their reflection — a relaxed Federer smiled frequently throughout the interview.There was no entourage. Federer did not even have a coach at that time and had not yet adopted the “RF” branding to his on-court apparel. Still sporting a ponytail, Federer was engaging and expressive throughout.

It was the only time I ever recall interviewing Federer where he wasn’t the most important global player in the room. That distinction belonged to the third man in the room, former Swiss President Adolf 30 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW

Here’s an excerpt from our 2004 interview at the United Nations.


TN: Roger what have you learned about the power of sports to inspire, educate and unite people? Roger Federer: I’ve been traveling basically since I was 12 years old, almost. I’ve really met a lot of people, different cultures and sports has taught me very much, almost everything, if you like. Because I’ve always been on the road you have to speak to different people, learn different cultures, you have to adapt and speak different languages. I really agree with this project and what we’re doing here. It’s just fantastic because this is how I look at sports. TN: In the [2004] Wimbledon final, some speculated the rain delay would help Andy Roddick because he could talk to his coach whereas you don’t have a coach. Are you an analytical player or do you play more on feel? Roger Federer: I play very much from feel, from the way I see it, and from what has worked for my opponent and what has worked for me. And then, work around it and see how I can make the difference. It was very hard for me going into the rain delay being down. TN: Particularly since you hadn’t been down the entire tournament. Roger Federer: Exactly. I said to myself: I think I have to take a chance here. Because if I keep on playing like this, I will probably lose, so I might as well change up things a little bit. It worked out for me. Of course, I decided to serve and volley more, but to break him, you cannot serve and volley (laughs), so I first actually had to get back into the set before I could play my game.

2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 31


32 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW


“I PLAY VERY MUCH FROM FEEL, FROM THE WAY I SEE IT.” TN: Who inspires you?

person. The way my parents raised me and brought me up and also the coaches I’ve had have been very important because they guide you through the career. And always important to me was respect, to respect people. I just stick to these principles and they seem like they’ve been working well so far so I hope they will continue to do so.

Roger Federer: I was always looking up as a tennis player to Boris Becker, who was so big in Germany and Switzerland. Off court, I’m only getting into these other things now because when you’re young, when you’re 17, you sometimes only see the sports world. I have had the opportunity to meet many, many great people and this will TN: Who do you like to watch? be much more important to me. Roger Federer: I just like to TN: For a young guy who watch tennis. If I’m flipping left school early, you seem to through the channels and see have an understanding of the a match I will watch it, really world beyond tennis. Do you no matter who is playing. I just read a lot? like the game very much. One player I would really like to Roger Federer: (laughs) watch is Bjorn Borg because No, I don’t read too much. I I never had the chance to see think again we come back to him when he was at his best traveling the world, meeting and from what I have seen and people, seeing the cultures heard he is a very special player I’ve seen. and obviously a great champion. And by handling the pressure moments I’ve had, I think it’s made me a more stable 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW 33


By Christopher Levy


Ana Ivanovic, a 2007 Wimbledon semifinalist, enters SW19 fresh off the French Open final four.


“She is a player that has to step in and belt the ball,� says Chris Evert of 2014 Wimbledon finalist Genie Bouchard.


Monica Puig remains riveted on the ball even after contact.


Dustin Brown shows an expansive reach in practice.


Fernando Verdasco held a two-set lead over Andy Murray in the 2013 quarterfinals, but lost the match and hasn’t made a major quarterfinal since.


Sabine Lisicki slammed 27 aces beating Belinda Bencic in Birmingham—the most aces ever struck in a WTA maindraw match.


World No. 3 Simona Halep surged to the Wimbledon final four last year.


Camila Giorgi won her first career title on the grass of ‘s-Hertogenbosch earlier this month.


Petra Cetkovska celebrates her win over Donna Vekic in qualifying.


Mandy Minella shows her spirit in qualifying


46 2015 WIMBLEDON PREVIEW

Profile for Tennis Now

2015 Wimbledon Preview  

Serena Williams' Grand Slam quest, players reveal how it feels to face Rafael Nadal, revisiting the young Roger Federer, highlighting dark h...

2015 Wimbledon Preview  

Serena Williams' Grand Slam quest, players reveal how it feels to face Rafael Nadal, revisiting the young Roger Federer, highlighting dark h...

Profile for tennisnow