Maria Sharapova’s problem can be neatly summed up in two words: Serena Williams. Williams dominates Sharapova to about the same extent that Sharapova dominates most of the rest of the WTA (the lone exception is Victoria Azarenka). The conventional wisdom is that Williams has never forgiven Sharapova for surprising her in the 2004 Wimbledon final, and the record bears that out. Sharapova recorded her only other win over Williams that same year, and since then she’s lost to Williams 11 consecutive times, many of those blowouts. Sharapova has missed other opportunities to win at Wimbledon while Williams was not in contention, but she’s never been able to complete the mission. In her most recent brush with ultimate success, Sharapova was beaten in the final of 2011 by Petra Kvitova.
Why She’ll Win:
Sharapova’s game has taken a quantum leap in the past 18 months, and her most recent loss to Williams (in the French Open final) was closer than the 6-4, 6-4 score indicates.
Why She Won’t:
Sharapova has become an outstanding clay-court player because the dirt gives her more time to set up and hit her powerful shots. Being in that groove won’t help her on grass, where the bounce is low.
With that explosive return and flat, laser-like groundstrokes, Sharapova ought to have won more than one title. But with Williams looming so large again this year, her chances decline considerably.
Click on each player's photo to see our thoughts on their Wimbledon prospects.
|Victoria Azarenka||Novak Djokovic|
|Roger Federer||David Ferrer|
|Angelique Kerber||Petra Kvitova|
|Andy Murray||Rafael Nadal|
|Agnieszka Radwanska||Serena Williams|
|Maria Sharapova||Jo-Wilfried Tsonga|