Three Things to Watch For During Week 1 of Wimbledon

Every Wimbledon becomes a season unto itself — clothing controversies, epic early round matches, unexpected upsets, and assured repeat winners are all regular features of the fortnight. Here are a few stories we’ll be looking at during Week 1.

1. Can Nadal, Djokovic and Wawrinka avoid early exits?”

Three of the top 5 have made relatively early exits from Wimbledon in recent years. It’s true that Nadal is fresh off a French Open title, but, honestly, when isn’t he? It hasn’t necessarily meant much once he gets to the grass. As for Wawrinka, his game is least suited to grass out of the Slam surfaces, but his showing in Paris will be a big confidence boost. As for Djokovic, one could say that his loss to Sam Querrey was the beginning of the fall — he’s here with friend/coach/unpaid guru Andre Agassi as well as Mario Ancic in his corner, so it will be interesting to see if his tinkering with his team pays off.

2. Will Ostapenko have a letdown?

When you’re a young, little-heralded finalist, it’s easy to play with no fear. It’s harder to do so as the winner of the last Slam, with the world’s eyes on you. That said, Jelena Ostapenko has been building towards this level of success for some time, and seems to be taking her big win in stride. She certainly has the power game for the grass, but it remains to be seen whether she can come down off of cloud nine long enough to play.

3. Is it Venus’ turn?

With Serena out of the draw, there are many players who could capitalize on the opportunity to sneak out a title at Serena’s favorite romping ground. Certainly, Venus Williams has to come to the top of the list — a five time winner herself, she has always excelled on the green stuff. Add that to her strong showing in Melbourne, and it’s hard not to imagine her making a deep run. But, plenty of other players, including a returning Victoria Azarenka, potential world #1 Karolina Pliskova, Garbine Muguruza, and Simona Halep are all potential winners.