Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon returns to preview the 2017 Wimbledon Championships.
Here we are, Wimbledon week.
Year after year, the biggest and greatest congregation of the tennis faithful convene in the sport’s cathedral, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, for the sport’s biggest two-week mass. Tennis is a sport of tradition and that is prone to self-congratulation, and every year the sport finds plenty of both at Wimbledon.
Much like we did for the French Open, let’s look at both main draws and see who, among the 256 men and women competing in singles, is hot, who isn’t and who is just happy to be here. Welcome to the 2017 Wimbledon power rankings.
1. Wimbledon traditions
Like, we don’t mean to harp too much on Wimbledon traditions and how some may or may not be a little silly in how seriously they’re taken, but what are supposed to say to this? A video titled “the perfect strawberry” on the official Wimbledon YouTube channel?
The strawberry and cream. The all-white uniforms. The lack of visible sponsorships on the court. The umpire and line judges uniforms. The gentlemen and ladies, not men and women.(The rain delays). The grass. The Wimbledon traditions abound, are everywhere you look and rule supreme over any- and everyone.
2. Roger Federer
The King stays the King, right? Roger Federer’s dominance at Wimbledon has never been as otherworldly as Rafael Nadal’s own at the French Open, but we’re splitting hairs here. The Swiss Guy is still the King of this grass thing.
3. Petra Kvitova
Once again for reasons that are entirely unrelated to tennis, we’re slotting Petra Kvitova at or just about near the top of these rankings. She deserves it.
5. Simona Halep
The first Grand Slam title of Simona Halep’s career was right there in the French Open final, up a set and a break but she couldn’t close the deal. As a result, she still hasn’t managed to shed the “Hasn’t won a major” disclaimer that’s followed and somehow (unjustly) diminished her career accomplishments.
10. Rafael Nadal
Now that the Spaniard has captured La Decima at the French Open, we would forgive him for a tiny dip in form and results. But something tells us that Rafael Nadal will be right in the thick of things at Wimbledon. Even if, you know, the event hasn’t especially been kind to him in recent years.
13. Alexander Zverev
14. Milos Raonic
One of these two youngsters could emerge from their section of the draw to face Federer in the quarterfinals. But good luck predicting which one.
19. Jelena Ostapenko
Can Jelena Ostapenko recapture her French Open magic? Maybe, maybe not. But we’ll be thrilled to watch her try.
34. Tomas Berdych
We’ve harped over the years on how frustratingly irregular Tomas Berdych has been at times but maybe we’ve been too hard on the mercurial one: with over $27 million in career prize money, 13 titles and more than 600 match wins, Berdych has been entirely fine, thank you so much for worrying about him. He’s unlikely to repeat his 2010 Wimbledon final this year but life is still good you know?
50. Gilles Muller
Somehow some way, the Wimbledon organizers see the ageless Gilles Muller as the 16th-most likely champion on the men’s side. We’re not entirely sure how likely that is but squint really hard, and there’s at least a possibility: a wild card in the first round, then a potential qualifier in the second, followed by a match where maybe Ivo Karlovic isn’t in top form, and boom suddenly you’re in the fourth round. And you’re getting annihilated by Nadal, sure, but you’ve already succeeded anyway.
88. Madison Keys
We’re slotting Madison Keys here because though she’s seeded No. 17 and has a theoretically manageable draw in the third section, this 2017 season has been anything but routine for the 22-year-old. And now she’s playing in Wimbledon after just undergoing surgery.
102. Eugenie Bouchard
Believe it or not, it’s only been three years since Eugenie Bouchard reached the Wimbledon final (and was pummelled there by Petra Kvitova). Now in 2017, she’s ranked No. 59 and faces the No. 25 seed in the first round. Life comes at you fast.
128. Random member of UK royalty attending
There’s always someone. The whole two weeks, yes, but the names and the prestige that come with them tends to grow as the tournament progresses. Random royal member is always someone entirely inconsequential to the happenings of the match they’re watching. But they’re Royals so, you know, we’re gawking.
200. Alexandr Dolgopolov
The Dog is facing Federer in the first round. He’s toast.
256. Venus Williams
The 37-year-old is seeded No. 10 at Wimbledon, but we’ll slot her right near the very end of these power rankings. You see, she’s dealing with stuff that’s entirely more important and critical than tennis these days. And she might be in the wrong, so she’s gone on the PR offensive.
257. Maria Sharapova
At least this time, Maria Sharapova had a little bit of agency in determining her fate. She’s still not participating but, unlike at Roland-Garros where she was told to talk to the hand cause the face don’t care, here she’s the one pulling the strings. And pulling out due to injury.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG