10 Grass court winners!

We all know Roger Federer has won Wimbledon for a record-breaking eighth time, but let’s have a look at a few others who have proved a point or two! The countdown from ten to one!

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(10) Francoise Abanda –  The lovely Franckie Abanda! Like at the French, she went through three rounds of qualies and then a round of the main draw (beating Nara), before giving Jelena Ostapenko more than just a bit of a fright in the second round. Abanda hit one of the fastest serves of the championships at 120mph. She possesses a big forehand and moves very well, a player who looks to get on top with a big blow in the point! Junior semi-finalist at both the French (beat Ostapenko) and Wimbledon, she seems to like the grass and her games suits. Francoise can play on any surface in all honesty.  The current ranking of 121 is on a one-way trip as Frankie is on the march!

 

(9) Jay Clarke/Marcus Willis – A double entry here. Both players were one match away from making the main draw singles,  they proved they should have been given wild cards to the main draw in qualies at Roehampton though. Clarke lost to Sebastian Ofner in qualies in five, the Austrian making the third round losing to Sascha Zverev. Willis picked up an injury in a straight sets defeat to Marchenko. They were handed a doubles wild card at Wimbledon and made it through to the last 32 having beaten the second seeds Herbert/Mahut in a five set thriller, that left the crowd begging for me.  Two geezers that come across just as that, Willis always plays in a very relaxed fashion and a style the crowd takes to. Clarke has a big future ahead of him as he works his way up through the rankings at ITF level for now, he’s playing a futures event in Gubbio, Italy this week. At 329 in the world and nearly 19 years of age, he is another player like Abanda whose ranking should only be heading one way! Both players won the crowds hearts at SW19 and I’m made up for them.

 

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(8) Angie Kerber – A surprise addition you may think? The top seed getting knocked out in the fourth round…hmmm! This was however much better from Kerber, her best performance actually being in her loss to Muguruza. A match of very high standard . She was lucky to get past Shelby Rogers who served for it against her, but if she finds the form in the coming months that she did in the match against the champion, then she will be somewhere near again! This was a huge improvement from what we have witnessed of late.

 

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(7) Sam Querrey – Sam Played it again this year, I for one don’t give Querrey enough credit. After beating Djokovic last year he backed it up this year with victories over Tsonga, Anderson and Murray.  You can’t really knock the form of the big serving American who finally ran out of the steam in the semi-finals against Cilic. He will go into the US Swing full of confidence.

 

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(6) Gilles Muller – At 34, the 6ft 4 lad from Leudelange muscled his way through to the quarter-finals, having won s-Hertogenbosch and also running Cilic close at Queens in the semi. At Wimbledon, he won two five setters, 9/7 in the decider in the second round against Lukas Rosol and more impressively 15/13 in the decider against Rafa in the last 16! Gilles plays to his strengths with his big lefty serve and heavy strokes, he’s not frightened to step up the court. He won his first title earlier in the year in Sydney and after claiming his second on the grass in Holland he comes away from SW19 smelling of roses. It took Cilic in another five setter to finally take him out!

 

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(5) Magdalena Rybarikova – What a grass court campaign for Maggie.  After winning both Surbiton and Ilkley it meant she only lost on the green stuff to Jo Konta and Garbine Muguruza.  She kept in this elite company by beating Karolina Pliskova in the second round and Coco Vandeweghe in the quarters. A player that has absolutely ridiculous variation, its class! Maggie can mix it, make no mistake about it! A pleasure to watch and after suffering from injuries in the past the 28-year-old may have her best times ahead!

 

(4) Jo Konta – Jo showed enough to suggest she can handle the pressure.  A runner-up spot in Notts and decent showings in Edgbaston and Eastbourne (up to the injury scare).  The way she served, particularly in the Vekic match (after losing to her in final of Notts) and the Garcia match showed that she could handle it. Venus was superb in the semi-final but Konta has proved that she will be able to mount more challenges in the future, she can only learn from these experiences. She certainly has gained a few of them over the fortnight! Was also a pleasure to see her go so well, let the good times roll!

 

(3) Marin Cilic – The Croat was very unlucky to not to win queens, where an inspired performance from Feli Lopez denied him. He came into Wimbledon full of confidence, serving and hitting his way past Kohlschreiber, Florian Mayer, Steve Johnson and Bautista Agut without dropping a set. He held strong mentally against both Muller and Querrey when his body, unfortunately, let him down in the final in what was always going to be a struggle against Federer. A good French Open (reached the quarter’s) and grass court campaign to follow sets him up for the next few months, where he was champion at Flushing Meadows in 2014. At 28 the Croat should be right in his prime now!

 

(2) Venus Williams – Venus came into this event with the court case hanging over her, the deepness of it all very clear to see after her first round press conference. Despite this, she showed the younger gen how to play and dished out a couple of lessons on the way. The levels in particular against Ostapenko and Konta were very high. It is two runners-up spots for Venus this year so far, I’m desperate for her to go one better. With the serve and forehand yielding winners, left, right and centre there will always be a chance!

 

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(1)Garbine Muguruza – The Spaniard went against my better judgment by winning the event and proved she wasn’t a one hit wonder after winning in Paris last year.  Her great mental strength combined with plenty of big hitting/controlled aggression was evident!  She played some fantastic stuff in the last few rounds but was pretty flawless from round one. Grinding it out against Kerber and then beating Kuznetsova, Rybarikova and Venus in straights to land the title made her as deserved winner!

Just missing out on the top ten were Svetlana Kuznetsova, who proved that she can play on grass and Heather Watson who made the last 32, taking Vika Azarenka close. It was a good grass court campaign for Watson.  Jelena Ostapenko also showed she could handle the media attention by making the quarters, losing to Venus. Aljaz Bedene can be pleased with his efforts and Tomas Berdych proved he’s a very difficult nut to crack on grass still!

Andy Del Potro

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