April 3, 2020
Looking forward to Wimbledon 2021 already? The players are!
And you sense they’re determined to make up for lost time and put on a sporting show like nothing the world has ever seen.
So many moments of sheer theatre could leave us spellbound. Moving farewells might also have us fighting back the tears.
The great news is that Roger Federer and Sir Andy Murray have already indicated they will be there.
Federer is confident ‘we will arise’ from this difficult time ‘strengthened,’ and is clearly focusing on his preparations for next summer’s Wimbledon.
He has talked about how he will attend his usual grass-court warm-up tournament in Germany.
‘Already today I am glad and excited about my return to Halle next year,’ he confirmed.
And that can only mean one thing. Federer is even more excited about returning to Wimbledon straight after!
That resolve to overcome adversity and then savour all the joys tennis can bring. It’s what will make Wimbledon so emotional and so special next year.
It will surely be Federer’s last Wimbledon. And also probably the last great Grand Slam he can enter and truly believe he can win.
Can you imagine the reception Federer is going to get when he walks out on Centre Court? Who wouldn’t want to be there for that piece of tennis history?
We won’t just be keen to welcome Roger back. We will all want to salute the magnificence of Federer’s entire career.
There is little doubt that Roger will rise to the occasion. And it will be no different for the great Serena Williams, we suspect.
Time may be against her, as she seeks to end any lingering argument that she is the greatest singles star of them all.
But Serena will surely want to bid farewell to Wimbledon in style.
Andy Murray will feel he has something left in the tank too. In fact Murray might even have more chance of winning next year.
By Wimbledon 2021, his hip should be problem-free – whether he needs another operation in the mean time to remove any unwanted bone growth or not.
Andy will be 34 when The Championships begin next summer. But time is now suddenly on Murray’s side as he aims to fire on all cylinders at Wimbledon once more.
He knows it, too. ‘Looking forward to getting back out on the grass next year already,’ Murray said the other day.
There’s another much-loved player who will have more chance of winning Wimbledon next year than this year – Coco Gauff.
Remember all the strength she displayed as a fifteen-year-old last summer? So just imagine what Coco will be able to achieve as a 17-year-old at Wimbledon 2021!
She will return as a realistic contender. Strengthened by another year of thoughtful observations from the brilliant Patrick Mouratoglou.
He has already identified key areas where she can improve her game. And Patrick reckons Coco can become a Grand Slam champion sooner rather than later.
Can you imagine the reaction of the Centre Court crowd if that happens?
We wait. We dream. Much of what will make Wimbledon 2021 so special is that extra year of anticipation.
Reigning champion Simona Halep described it well when she said: ‘…Wimbledon will be back next year. And it means I have even longer to look forward to defending my title there.’
You know that incomparable feeling you get when you walk through those gates at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club for the first day of this legendary tournament?
Entering Wimbledon 2021 is sure to evoke an even bigger thrill. The buzz and the history will charge London’s summer air with a uniquely rich electricity.
A new magic will embrace the lawns. Passion will abound. Only intensified by a year of being denied what excites us most.
As AELTC chief executive Richard Lewis put it: ‘It is your passion for The Championships that has shaped our event over the years, and will continue to do so, and we look forward to preparing a fantastic championships for 2021.’
That passion we all feel for Wimbledon. It is already building slowly. It will be felt like never before next year. You only have to listen to a couple of past Wimbledon champions to know it’s true.
Petra Kvitova reflected on recent events only briefly. ‘I will miss playing on the beautiful grass and wearing my whites. But of course we know it will be back better than ever next year. And maybe we will all appreciate it even more!’
Angelique Kerber echoed: ‘Once this has passed, it may even help us appreciate our everyday routines and the beauty of our sport even more than before.’