The Grass is Open

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Grass-courts are open for play

It’s arguably the best month on the tennis calendar. There may only be a small handful of tournaments played on the grass nowadays however the tennis rarely disappoints. After all, it’s the unpredictability of sport that keeps us as fans continually coming back for more. Surprising results and the occasional big upset are far from uncommon at this time of of the season. It’s what makes this month on the calendar one that shouldn’t be missed.

With Wimbledon upon us, I thought it would be a fitting time to submit my first entry to Centre Court. I would best describe myself as a big sports fan and particularly a tennis tragic. I still attempt to play the game at club level each weekend (seemingly with little success), but that lack of success never detracts from my love of the sport. I enjoy sharing my thoughts on tennis and Centre Court will provide a means for discussing my opinions, tips, predictions, reviews and current issues from the game. Like myself, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with what looks to be another classic grass-court season in the making.

It’s certainly a fascinating time for the sport. Novak Djokovic has captured that elusive victory at the French Open and finally completed the career grand slam. He is in a league of his own at the moment and could possibly go down as the greatest of all time. It appears that his only genuine challengers at the moment are still the legendary (but ageing) Roger Federer and perennial bridesmaid Andy Murray. I hope for Andy’s sake he can shake that tag, but sadly some athletes are just unfortunately born into the wrong era. Meanwhile 14-time major winner Rafael Nadal appears to have dropped off the pace and doesn’t seem to be the same ferocious competitor he once was. There is also some extremely exciting young talent coming through the ranks in the men’s game with the likes of Dominic Thiem, Milos Raonic, Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios. These guys will continue to challenge in the years to come, but for now it appears to be Novak’s time as he remains the man to beat.

If there were a time of year that Novak were typically vulnerable it would be on the grass. The early rounds when the courts are slippery and quick can create somewhat of a leveller. However Novak will once again take some serious stopping. He is the red-hot favourite to capture his third straight Wimbledon crown and looks set to remain the undisputed king of the men’s game for some time to come. It will take a huge effort for someone to get between him and another title at the All England Club this year.

The women’s game by contrast has had a bit of a shake-up over the last 12 months. Whilst Serena Williams is probably still the one to beat, it’s the race to dethrone her that is becoming increasingly fascinating. The indefinite suspension of Maria Sharapova and a breakthrough major for young Spanish star Garbiñe Muguruza has re-shuffled the pecking order and indicates that the pointy end of the women’s game is probably more open that that of their male counterparts.

All is in order for what will undoubtably be an exciting 5 weeks of tennis, especially with some big names returning from injury this week. The grass-court season kicks off tonight with tournaments in Stuttgart, s-Hertogenbosch and Nottingham.

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