June 29, 2020
How great is the first day of Wimbledon 2021 going to be?
We only need to look back at the opening day of Wimbledon 2019 to get an idea.
Sure, we’re hurting a bit today because it should have been the first day of Wimbledon 2020.
We can’t be there this time around. But let’s be positive and use the past to look ahead.
When we look at the first day of Wimbledon 2019, we can start to view Wimbledon 2021 with even more excitement.
The biggest story of day one last year was the incredible Coco Gauff and her victory over Venus Williams.
This was the day Coco’s life changed forever. Do you remember it?
She was only 15 years and 122 days old when she beat the legendary Venus.
‘It’s the first time I have ever cried after winning a match,’ Coco said. She had also told Venus touchingly: ‘I wouldn’t be here without you.’
From that day, Coco Gauff became a global superstar.
But of course her Wimbledon didn’t end there. She enjoyed some titanic struggles on Centre Court. Perhaps we will revisit them later this fortnight.
Certainly British tennis fans and admirers worldwide took Coco to their hearts due to her tender age and sporting bravery.
Since then, she has continued to mature as a player and a person.
When Wimbledon 2021 begins this time next year, Coco will be 17. The same age Boris Becker was when he first won Wimbledon.
Coco still won’t be a fully-fledged adult. We won’t love her any less. But she will have played several more Grand Slams.
She will arrive at Wimbledon 2021 as a serious contender.
Another famous tennis superstar will also come back to London to do battle at the same time.
Unlike Coco, she won’t have happy memories of the Championships last year.
Poor Naomi Osaka was knocked out on the opening day by Yuri Putintseva on Centre Court. She will be keen to do better.
Equally huge names were casualties on the first day of the tournament last year. It was still a great tournament, of course. One of the best.
But how much better will Wimbledon 2021 be if Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev learn from their experience twelve months ago?
Zverev lost in four sets to Jiri Vasely after so much had been expected of the young German.
He was out on the first day. And so was Tsitsipas, who was so shattered that he reportedly took to his bed to work out what had happened.
After his shock defeat in five sets at the hands of Thomas Fabbiano, Tsitsipas said: ‘People expected things from me and I didn’t deliver.
‘When you get so much support, so much energy, so much positivity from everyone and ruin everything by yourself, it’s devastating.’
We believe Tsitsipas will do everything humanly possible to avoid that kind of hurt at Wimbledon 2021.
Tsitsipas will be desperate to please the big Greek crowds that will descend on the All England Club next time around.
Zverev will also be two years older than he was when he suffered his bruising exit twelve months ago. We don’t think he will let it happen again.
And that’s the point. We remember how awesome Wimbledon 2019 was.
But the fortnight was almost entirely without the two young “rock stars” of tennis.
And aside from the doubles, it was without the great home favourite, Andy Murray too.
So how awesome will Wimbledon 2021 be with Murray, Tsitsipas and Zverev firing on all cylinders?
How great will it be if Osaka finds her feet on grass at last?
How exciting will Wimbledon be if the much-loved Coco Gauff goes all the way to the semi-final or final?
These are all realistic developments. These are all elements that can make Wimbledon 2021 even better than the last championships.
Think how good it was last year. Then imagine with good reason how much better it could be next year.
That excitement might just help us get through the next fortnight without our beloved Wimbledon to go to.