Column: Serena Williams’ bid for tennis Grand Slam is top Wimbledon story line
— The Wimbledon story lines came into clearer focus here Saturday, as many of the leading players met with the media.
Will Serena Williams win a third straight major title and put herself in position to win a rare calendar-year Grand Slam at the U.S. Open?
Andy Murray cautioned that she needed to be careful to “not get ahead of herself.”
Will Scotland’s Murray drive this place wild with another title to go with his celebrated 2013 championship and bring on another grand British moment?
“I enjoy playing in high-pressure situations,” Murray said, in classic, dry, noncommittal Murray fashion.
Will the suddenly fading Rafael Nadal, the king of clay who is trying to win a third title on his least favorite surface (grass), play above his No. 10 seeding?
“On grass, the feeling is you have to be focused on all games, on every point,” Nadal said.
Will Novak Djokovic, the defending champion and No. 1 men’s player, be affected by his decision to play no lead-in grass-court tournaments while the other members of the Big Four, Roger Federer, Murray and Nadal, not only played in them, but won titles.
“I needed the time off with my family,” Djokovic said, after a Friday exhibition hit-and-giggle here.
Will Stan Wawrinka, who upset Djokovic in the French Open final, stop praising the established top four and start feeling like he is no longer on the outside of that group, looking in? He is ranked No. 4, after all. Nadal is 10th.
“I think what they have achieved in the last 10 years is amazing,” Wawrinka said, clinging to the more comfortable outside image, even though he, not Nadal, is seeded fourth here.
Can Federer, the father of four and just six weeks shy of his 34th birthday, win an eighth title here?
“Wimbledon comes around quickly,” he said. “You come in with many more doubts.”
Williams, 33, will remain the top story, until she either loses or wins her sixth Wimbledon title and that third straight major.
She is seeded No. 1, of course, and her main stumbling blocks should come from the next three seeded players. They are, in order, second-seeded Petra Kvitova, last year’s winner; No. 3 Simon Halep, and No. 4 Maria Sharapova.
But, interestingly, her toughest challenge could very well come from her 35-year-old sister Venus, also a five-time champion here. Each is three wins away from a fourth-round matchup. Venus Williams is seeded 16th.
Play begins Monday and runs through July 12.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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