Wimbledon 2012 kicks off today, as the crowds gather onto the stands and greens of SW19 and see some of the biggest names in the sport attempt to win one of the game’s most prestigious trophies.
Getting the action underway will be 2011 men’s champion Novak Djokovic, who heads into the tournament with the pain of his French Open final defeat to Rafael Nadal still ringing in his ears.
Pity the man known as Juan Carlos Ferrero then, who will be the first to see if Djokovic still has the fire which drove him to success on Centre Court 12 months ago.
The Serb definitely sounds pumped for the competition, stating: “I’m playing with more self-belief on this surface.
“I realised my dreams last year. I played a perfect tournament. I like the conditions here. I’ve been in several locations in semi-finals, so I’m confident before the start of 2012.”
Paddy Power is offering 1/33 that Djokovic will sweep aside Ferrero as he bids to become a back-to-back Wimbledon champion, though 19/2 is an eye-catching price for those believing the Spaniard can turn the tournament on its head on Day 1.
Today also looks to be the end of an era, at least where the women’s competition is concerned.
This is after Belgian starlet Kim Clijsters came out and said that she is getting ready to hang up her tennis racket soon after her latest Wimbledon journey draws to a close.
Over the years, Clijsters has raced to three US Open victories and a solitary Australian Open success, but has never managed to go further than the semi-final stage at SW19.
“It’s been an incredible adventure these last three, four years. I feel like I’ve been able to kind of finish that chapter of my tennis year on a good note. I’m going to give 200 per cent these last few tournaments that I have left,” the Belgian roared.
Clijsters’ latest Wimbledon campaign gets underway with a very tasty clash against Serbian ace Jelena Jankovic, in a clash which could have easily made a must-see Grand Slam final not too long ago.
The Belgian is 4/11 with Paddy Power to book her place in the second-round of Wimbledon, with Jankovic 15/8 to bring Clijsters’ journey to a shuddering halt before it truly has a chance to get going.
The Swiss powerhouse will be hoping to avoid a monumental upset when he plays Spain’s Albert Ramos, with Russian starlet Sharapova also looking to avoid heartbreak when playing against Anastasia Rodionova.