Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews the second week of the 2017 Wimbledon.
We’re halfway through another edition of Wimbledon in the sport’s foremost cathedral and, well, for the most part everyone that was supposed to reach the second Sunday did.
Especially the #PeoplesChamp Gilles Muller. He might have been a little overseeded at No. 16 on the men’s side, but he’s given a reason to bookies to back him by making the fourth round. He’ll get clobbered by Rafael Nadal in their next match but instead we should remember his three matches won, not his lone defeat.
Unless he beats Nadal? No offense to Muller but #lolz.
Here, let’s take a look at the week ahead; we have 32 men and women still competing in the two singles draws but we can be more specific than that. Here are the Week 2 Wimbledon power rankings.
1. Wimbledon traditions
Much like Father Time, the Wimbledon traditions are undefeated. Thou shalt not try anything but your hardest on the Wimbledon grass, the Tennis Gods said. And during week 1 of Wimbledon, they made damn sure that a little prick like Bernard Tomic would be punished for making a mockery of these hollowed grounds.
Or something? We don’t actually believe that. Tomic can try or not try as he damn pleases, much like we try or not try daily at our workplace, and he’s certainly not a prick for the way he played (or didn’t). Just because he’s playing at Wimbledon doesn’t make playing tennis any less of a job for the Australian (or anyone else competing). Regardless of what others, and his sponsors, may think.
2. Roger Federer
Yeah, let’s roll with the beloved and perfect and most gentlemanly of all champions, who has never met a controversial opinion he couldn’t deflect. The 35-year-old is closing on 36, but he’s never let mere age stop him and he won’t start to now. He could face a stiff test in the semifinals, if only he were susceptible to such stiff tests.
5. Random member of UK royalty attending
What a jump for Random member of UK royalty attending, from No. 128 a week ago to now No. 5. But you see, the headlines don’t lie. Pippa Middleton, Vanity Fair will tells us, stole the show at Wimbledon. Okay then.
6. Simona Halep
This is just Simona Halep’s luck, right? She’s the second seed at the year’s biggest tournament, rolling into the fourth round and…now she’ll have to battle a tough and tricky, if rusty, Victoria Azarenka. One of these days, Halep will win a first Grand Slam and we’ll remember none of how she couldn’t. Probably.
7. Novak Djokovic
8. Dominic Thiem
Could either of the two make things difficult in a potential semifinal match against Federer? Certainly, but good luck picking which one to make it there.
11. Andy Murray
Andy Murray has been rather bad this season but to his credit he’s been pretty good here, at Wimbledon where he’s the hope of a nation as well as the defending champion. Dropping only a single set while facing two mad scientists in Dustin Brown and Fabio Fognini is a minor miracle in itself.
17. Venus Williams
It turns out that Venus Williams was not in the wrong in that case that has nothing to do with tennis. “Oops, our bad,” said the police overseeing the case. We’re not experts here, but you shouldn’t have to roll back a statement saying person X is at fault; just don’t make the statement in the first place. To Williams’s credit, she’s managed to focus on the tennis.
20. Johanna Konta
Maybe if it’s not Murray who wins it all for the United Kingdom, it can be Johanna Konta? Time will tell.
24. Grigor Dimitrov
Grigor Dimitrov has lived up to the Baby Fed monicker with a game that’s been built with the sport’s greatest ever in mind, but so far the 26-year-old’s career results have mostly lived up to the BABY part of his nickname. (HA!) With a fourth round match against Adult Fed looming, Baby Fed’s breakthrough will probably have to wait another day.
32. Petra Martic
No one who makes it to the second weekend, and the fourth round, of a Grand Slam tournament is ever really last. But in this space, someone has to be at the bottom and who better than a 26-year-old qualifier who is ranked No. 135, was at No. 266 at the end of last year and achieved a high of No. 42 way back in 2012?
Still, we’ll root for Martic, whose fairytale run could continue further; she could have had a much harder fourth round match than one against Magdalena Rybarikova.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG