words_Brandon Richard

The oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, the Wimbledon Championships, returns this week at the All England Club in London. From now until July 4th, the world’s best tennis players of both genders will compete for the sport’s two grandest prizes. The men will vie for the silver gilt cup and cover that has been awarded to the winner since 1877. On the other side, women will attempt to capture the Venus Rosewater Dish. These trophies are a lot more elusive to some players than others.

The main storyline heading into the men’s draw is simple. Will we see another installment of Federer vs. Nadal? The draws are stacked for both men, with a plethora of great players standing in the way of a potential showdown. On top of that, Federer had to fight tooth and nail to get out of his opening round match against Alejandro Falla this morning. That may come as a sign that he’s still struggling after a sub-par clay court season. On the other hand, Rafael Nadal is surging coming into the tournament. After decisively taking the French in straight sets earlier this month, Rafa has his eyes set on a 4th Wimbledon Final and 2nd championship. He opens up play against Japan’s Kei Nishikori. Other notable players to watch out for include Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Robin Soderling, and former champion Lleyton Hewitt.

As usual, all eyes are on the Williams sisters on the women’s side of things. After a woeful clay court season, Serena Williams returns to grass, where she hopes to reassert her dominance. Big sister Venus has made 8 finals appearance at the All England Club, bringing home 5 Rosewater Dishes. The only player she’s ever lost a Wimbledon final to? Little sister Serena. So, needless to say, Venus is always a threat when she plays this tournament. Experts also believe she has a favorable draw. Other big names to watch out for are Justin Henin, who is attempting to add Wimbledon Champion to her already impressive resume, and a focused Maria Sharapova who is looking to recapture her championship form.

These will be just some of the storylines to keep an eye out for as play starts today. With the final taking place on Independence Day, we’re a little under two weeks away from crowning champions. Stay tuned to the Eastbay Blog for more updates!

images via Yahoo