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British interest at Wimbledon likely to extend no further than Murray

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June 25, 2015


Let's weigh it up. There's Andy Murray and, um, well, that would appear to be the sum of the options for home support when it comes to Wimbledon from a British perspective. Of course, Muzza isn't the only British player in the Wimbledon field, but he is the only one in with an actual genuine chance of winning a title there. That's not an uncommon thing, Australian fans don't have much to cheer about in Melbourne at the start of the year and even the French Open is devoid of a wealth of French title winners. Of course, you have had Serena Williams dominating the US Open, but other than that, homebred winners at Slams aren't that common right now.

Britain's hopes of seeing Andy Murray win his second Wimbledon title will be hanging in the balance until the draw is made. Murray goes in as the third seed behind Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, which means that he would potentially meet either one of those in the semi-finals. Of course, we know which one he would rather go up against at the moment. Murray should have the beating of Federer near the end of a grueling fortnight of matches, but at any point he has to go up against Djokovic, that's probably where the home support's hopes of him triumphing again will crumble.

Britain does have Aljaz Bedene going at Wimbledon for the first time as a home nation player. The Slovenian born Bedene recently gained British Citizenship (after a seven-year wait) and the 25-year-old is the new British number two, ranked at 74th in the world. A complete unknown he will be for most British fans, but he's in the draw and won his first match as a British player in the first round at Eastbourne recently.

But what about over on the women's side of the draw, where British tennis fans haven't had too much to shout about? It's still hard not to think about the British women's front and not think of the sadly departed Elena Baltacha, but carrying the torch forward are Heather Watson, Laura Robson, and Johanna Konta. Former British number one Robson is on the backburner as she is only just back into the game after a long layoff through injury and illness and is unlikely to make too many strides in what will be her first main draw appearance in over 17 months.

Robson has been handed a wildcard into Wimbledon and Heather Watson will be unseeded after failing to get past the second round of the French Open. You never quite know what to get from Watson, who has the right attitude for the game, battling through as a little tigress, never giving up, but consistency over longer matches is a problem. Watson also looks to be carrying a bit of an elbow problem, but she is someone who can pull off big wins, such as her victory over Agnieszka Radwanska this season.

The highs don't quite balance out the lows that Watson produces, but after playing doubles with Simona Halep at Birmingham recently, the young Brit earned huge praise, with Halep saying that Watson could easily crack the top twenty in the world. That's decent praise because there are strong similarities between the two players, from stature to temperament, to a position in the game at the age of 23. Watson, with the home crowd behind her, should at least make the third round at Wimbledon a genuine target.

But while Watson is the flag-bearer for British women's hopes, Johanna Konta has made a bit of an impact this week at Eastbourne on the grass. Like Laura Robson, Konta is Australian-born but she became a British citizen in 2012. Konta, a year older than Watson, reached her first WTA quarter-final and claimed big scalps of Ekaterina Makarova and Garbine Muguruza on the way to the final eight at Eastbourne this week. Konta's win over Makarova gave the Brit her first ever top ten win as well.

Konta goes as a wildcard at Wimbledon and the fact that she is ranked down at 146th in the world and really has made little impression in the game so far, she is really going to have to carry forward the Eastbourne momentum to get anywhere at Wimbledon. Once again sadly for British fans at the All England Club, British tennis fans will really only have faint optimism that one of Konta, Robson or Watson gets past the first round.

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