July 1, 2013

The Rebel Slam

For a tournament with so many rules of conduct, no one seems to want to follow protocol this year at Wimbledon.

The one thing I -- maybe anyone -- thought was certain this year at the All England Club, was that Serena Williams would walk home with the title for a sixth time. She was, ultimately, riding a thirty-one match win streak coming to the event and had already claimed six titles on the year. She looked healthy, fit and in dominating form during her first three matches, and with so many of the most experienced players in the field falling by the wayside, it seemed inevitable she'd coast to another Major title.

But that would not be the case for the world #1 -- Sabine Lisicki, one of the most promising young talents out there, has struggled with injury most of the year and had fallen out of the top thirty for most of the year. But she came out swinging Monday -- down breaks a couple times in the third set of her fourth round, she held tough to close, saving break chances at 0-40 and again when trying to serve it out, and scored her fourth win over a reigning French Open champion at Wimbledon. While only one of the German's three titles has come on grass, she's now compiled a 17-4 record at this Major, versus just 17-15 at all the others, easily making this the most prolific part of her season year after year.

The win was certainly one of the biggest of Sabine's career, but it might have also cemented her place as the new favorite to win this title -- and it seems only appropriate that the one who ousts the Queen should be the one to assume the throne. It's not a sure thing by any means, though -- two players in the field have Slam titles to their names, and two more have made a final here. There may never be a better opportunity for any of them to claim Wimbledon glory.

But fact of the matter is that, in a draw that's been thrown so wide open, even the deepest of underdogs could make a break for it in the days that remain. And, while the favorites may disagree, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

After all, isn't it kind of nice to see the proper players at Wimbledon get their tennis whites nice and dirty?

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