From Williams to Mladenovic: Women to watch at Wimbledon

Sport360 staff 26/06/2016

Newly-crowned French Open champion Garbine Muguruza will be targeting her maiden Wimbledon title while Serena Williams is looking to win in south-west London for the seventh time.

Meanwhile, there are a number of players, who on their day, have the ability to make headlines of their own.

GARBINE MUGURUZA (ESP)

WTA Ranking: 2

Age: 22

Best Wimbledon result: Runner-up (2015)

Muguruza's Stats

  • 7 - match wins against three losses at Wimbledon.
  • 3 - career singles titles for Muguruza, including one slam, and five doubles titles.
  • 1 - One French Open crown.

Doing well at Wimbledon this fortnight will be a true test of character for Muguruza who will be looking to back up her French Open title victory from earlier this month as well as defend her runner-up points from last year at SW19. She crashed out of the Mallorca first round after Paris but should be well-rested and ready for Wimbledon.

SERENA WILLIAMS (USA)

Williams' Stats

  • 17 - This will be Serena’s 17th Wimbledon appearance.
  • 186 - aces struck in 2016 in 28 matches played. The second most by a player this season
  • 6 - Serena's number of Wimbledon titles.

WTA Ranking: 1

Age: 34

Best Wimbledon result: Winner (2002-03, 2009-10, 2012, 2015)

Comes to Wimbledon with just one title under her belt in 2016 and with two grand slam final losses to Angelique Kerber in Melbourne and Garbine Muguruza in Paris this season. Still remains the ultimate threat on any surface as she continues to target an Open Era record-equalling 22nd major trophy.

AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA (POL)

Radwanska's Stats

  • 8 - times Radwanska has made the second week at Wimbledon in 10 career appearances.
  • 18 - career titles won including one this year in Shenzhen.
  • 1 - lost to Serena in 2012 Wimbledon final.

WTA Ranking: 3

Age: 34

Best Wimbledon result: Runner-up (2012)

Wimbledon is by far her best slam having reached the final in 2012, along with two more semi-finals in 2013 and 2015. The Pole started the season very strong but her performances have tapered off a bit since April. Is typically solid in the opening week here on grass but has a difficult draw.

OUTSIDERS TO WATCH AT SW19

JELENA OSTAPENKO (LAT)

The former junior Wimbledon champion recently beat Petra Kvitova on grass in Birmingham and last year she upset world No9 Carla Suarez Navarro here in the first round. Is a little undercooked on the major stage, considering this is just her fifth slam appearance, but has a favorable opener against Bertens.

KRISTINA MLADENOVIC (FRA)

Gave Serena trouble in their French Open third round and plays well on grass. She could face Serena in the third round this week which would be a highly-anticipated encounter. Made the ‘s-Hertogenbosch final on grass this month and is a doubles runner-up at Wimbledon.

CAROLINE GARCIA (FRA)

Is riding high on confidence right now as she won the Strasbourg title on clay, then French Open doubles, then the Mallorca trophy on grass all in the past two months. Could prove a tough opponent for Radwanska in the third round should they meet.

Most popular

Milos Raonic edging closer to Grand Slam glory with major-winning team in his corner

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Raonic is working with tennis legend McEnroe.

A confident Milos Raonic believes he is inching closer and closer to achieving his dream of winning a grand slam and is stopping at nothing to reaching his goal.

Already working with two coaches, Carlos Moya and Riccardo Piatti, Raonic made a surprising move of adding American eight-time major champion John McEnroe to the mix these past two weeks, to try and find an extra gear of aggression and efficiency at the net, by working with one of the best serve-and-volleyers of all-time.

McEnroe was there when Raonic reached the Queens final a week ago and will be consulting with the Canadian and his team throughout Wimbledon alongside his commentating duties with the BBC.

“It’s been quite positive. It’s been more about finding the first opportunities really to move forward, keeping points shorter, and being a bit more efficient at the net,” Raonic says of his three weeks working with McEnroe.

And has it been easy listening to a new voice midseason?

“It has been. John has been very helpful…” said the 2014 Wimbledon semi-finalist.

“All the things, even what we spoke about before we started working together, it was all things I thought were the next steps that I needed to take to really make the difference in my game. We’ve been trying to put it all together as much as possible and it’s gone well so far.

“It’s not just about what I can do on the court but also how and where I can place myself and how I can use my game to make my opponents feel worse and worse throughout match situations.

“I think John has to be, probably the former player – especially to his extent of success – that enjoys tennis the most. He maybe hasn’t coached for a while but he’s been there pretty much around tennis all the time, even when he’s not commentating and traveling, he’s watching tennis all the time, so there hasn’t been much that really I’ve gotten to tell him that he didn’t know too much about guys.

“But he’s been able to tell me a lot of things, especially about players who were generations before me and things that they did well that could sort of help my game that I maybe wasn’t aware of.”

Raonic’s last outing at a major was a surprise straight-sets defeat to Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the French Open fourth round four weeks ago but the 25-year-old said it was a loss he did not dwell upon, with Wimbledon being such a big target for him shortly after.

Does the No6 seed feel he’s getting closer to that grand slam title victory he’s been working so hard for?

“Yes I believe so, I feel that I’m putting myself in that position and now it’s about making it count,” he says confidently.

Raonic could face world No1 Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals. Djokovic has won the last four consecutive majors – a feat that had not been achieved since Rod Laver in 1969. It seems these days that to win a slam, you must do it by beating Djokovic, is Raonic getting to a point where he is focused particularly on the Serbian phenom?

“No, you don’t really focus on Novak until you’ve got to hopefully play the guy,” insists Raonic, who is 0-7 against Djokovic head-to-head.

Great hit today with John McEnroe @mraonic and @rooney372 🌱🎾☀️

A photo posted by Liam Broady (@liambroady) on

“It’s incredible what he’s done and what he continues to do and obviously I haven’t seen it, I haven’t even come close to seeing it.

“Maybe he was close last year, obviously being in the final of the French, but it’s different being close and actually doing it.

“It’s a great time and it’s great to see it happening to him, and obviously he’s always trying to push that discussion of giving himself something that the other two guys that are considered in that conversation of greatest of all-time, can’t say they did, at least not until this point.”

Raonic will kick-off his assault on Wimbledon on Monday against Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta.

Most popular

Reem's Wimbledon Diary: Kerber's night out, footy fan Garbi

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Our tennis expert Reem Abulleil has been behind the scenes at SW19.

It’s always a blast spending the last few days before Wimbledon roaming the grounds and catching players’ practices and Saturday was no exception.

We get a full practice schedule for all the players so we can head to specific courts for specific sessions.

I went to Court 12 Saturday to catch Roger Federer hit with Kei Nishikori but the Swiss was a no-show. Instead, preparing Nishikori for his tough opener against the huge-serving Sam Groth was the Japanese’s coach, Michael Chang.

Want to know how 175cm Chang tried to simulate the serve of the 193cm Groth for Nishikori’s return practice? Chang stood mid-court serving non-stop at Nishikori, showing no signs of the wear and tear a 44-year-old retired tennis player would be feeling in the same situation.

I also caught part of Serena and Venus Williams’ practice. Serena was working on her serve while Venus slammed back some epic returns and those few minutes I watched reminded me of how Serena got to be so good – she spent her entire life having Venus as a practice partner.

Ernests Gulbis was practicing with Novak Djokovic before rain interrupted their session while Dominic Thiem was hitting with Gilles Simon.

Garbine Muguruza was on the next court with Julia Goerges, while Carla Suarez Navarro was playing a practice set with Angelique Kerber.

Kerber, the Australian Open champion, told us later during her press conference that she always goes to a musical each year during Wimbledon and she plans on doing the same one day this fortnight. But she insisted that would not be the case on Sunday, as she will be otherwise busy watching Germany take on Slovakia in the Euro 2016 last-16 stage.

“I think they have a tough draw right now,” said Kerber of Die Mannschaft.

“I said from the beginning that I believe in this team because they know each other. This team is a really good team. They have great players. I think that they can go really far. I hope that they can win the Euro.”

Muguruza is also keeping tabs on Spain and she showed up to her press conference wearing the national team’s football jersey in a show of support.

I asked her who her favourite Spanish football players are and she named Sergio Ramos, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez as her top-three.

Most popular

Related Sections