Alert the Wimbledon favorites, because tennis’ most underrated stars are coming for them.
One of the best parts about Wimbledon is its unpredictability and its ability to give any entrant a chance at making a deep run. The later rounds in the tournament aren’t always going showcase the original top seeds.
In last year’s women’s quarterfinals, only half of the players were top-six seeds. No one expected No. 15 Sabine Lisicki, No. 17 Maria Kirilenko or Tamira Paszek to make it as far as they did. The men’s side of the tournament featured three quarterfinalists who had seeds of 26, 27 and 31.
You never know which player is going to get hot at the right time.
So, which underrated athletes will be in the headlines of every newspaper in the world in the coming weeks? Here’s a look at four players that you must keep an eye on, as they’re bound to knock off some of the Wimbledon favorites in the coming weeks.
Sloane Stephens is finally starting to get the attention she deserves. She’s one of the best young women tennis players in the world and is more than capable of upsetting some of the top seeds at Wimbledon. Stephens is already off to a great start to her Grand Slam season.
Stephens made her way throughout the women’s bracket at the Australian Open and even took out Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. Stephens would fall in her next match, facing Victoria Azarenka, but a semifinal appearance and a win over the top player in the world is really something to be proud of.
The American also had a nice run at the French Open. While she didn’t advance past the fourth round, she put together a nice couple of wins. Stephens just didn’t have enough in the tank to take out Maria Sharapova. She made it to the third round at Wimbledon a year ago and you should expect her to make it to the fourth at the very least in 2013.
Tommy Haas is one of the best tennis players to never win a Grand Slam. In fact, he’s never even made it to a major final. He’s advanced to the semifinals four times throughout his career, but has yet to win one of those matches. He also has only made it to the quarterfinals once in the last four years.
That quarterfinal appearance came a few weeks ago, when Haas played great at the French Open. Haas played well in his bracket, but going up against Novak Djokovic is never a walk in the park. Still, it was quite the run for the Germany native. If he can take that success and put it toward a run at Wimbledon, watch out for him.
Haas, however, hasn’t played too well at Wimbledon in the past. He has the fewest wins at that Grand Slam of any of the four major tournaments. He’s only made it past the fourth round once, and that occurred back in 2009 when Roger Federer ousted Haas in the semifinals. With a ton of momentum, Haas could turn his luck around this year.
While Agnieszka Radwanska may not be one of the top three names in the women’s bracket, she must be taken seriously. She is the fourth seed at Wimbledon and is sure to make a deep run. She moves very well on grass and is great at anticipating her opponent’s next move.
Radwanska has played her best tennis at Wimbledon in the past. It’s the one Grand Slam where she’s made it past the quarterfinals. Last year, Radwanska lost in the final match to Williams. Radwanska didn’t have much trouble making her way through the bracket and nearly upended Williams, falling in three sets.
The Poland native is coming off strong back-to-back Grand Slam finishes. Radwanska made it to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, losing to Li Na, and then she reached the quarterfinals at the French Open, where she fell to Sara Errani. Radwanska is on the verge of winning a Grand Slam and it could very well come at Wimbledon.
Jo-Wilfried is one of the main contenders to keep an eye on at Wimbledon this year. He’s been playing fantastic over the last few months and is bound to make his second career Grand Slam final any day now. Wimbledon seems like the tournament where that’s the most likely.
Wilfried has made it to the semifinals at Wimbledon the last two years. He fell in four sets to Djokovic in 2011 and then in four sets to Andy Murray a year ago. Wimbledon has been his best Grand Slam of the four in terms of winning percentage. He’s coming into Wimbledon with a ton of confidence too.
Tsonga recently made it to the semifinals at Roland Garros and turned some heads along the way. Wilfried dominated Federer in the quarterfinals in one of the best matches of his career. He couldn’t get by David Ferrer in the semifinals, though. His serve will be a huge asset on the grass surface and opponents will struggle returning it.