2012 Wimbledon Preview: Serena Williams
Those of you who don’t believe in the Sports Illustrated cover jinx should consider the case of Serena Williams. After winning Wimbledon two years ago and declared “the best ever” by SI’s Jon Wertheim, Serena missed the next three majors with injuries, suffered a one-sided loss in the 2011 US Open final, and most recently—and shockingly—disintegrated in a first-round defeat at last month’s French Open. We often build Serena up to be an invincible figure in women’s tennis, but she’s largely disappointed over the past two years, a result of ailments, age, and improved competition. The days of her swooping in for a Slam are over; Serena hasn’t gone this long without winning one since early 2007. Wimbledon is the most likely venue for the skid to stop. It’s a tournament she should probably win on paper. But we’ve said that before.
Why She’ll Win:
Serena’s motivation shouldn’t be lacking at SW19. She’s played patches of exceptional tennis during the past year, and it’s a matter of time before it takes place over the course of a fortnight.
Why She Won’t:
Serena’s nemesis is the Grand Slam format: She needs to win seven consecutive matches, and she has experienced off-days with much greater frequency in recent years.
Serena needs to expend less energy in her early-round matches. Her serve can still devastate on grass, so making a high percentage of first strikes is paramount.